Seven Generations of Corvette

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Seven Generations of Corvette Seven Generations of Corvette Seven Generations of Corvette

Your strictly unofficial guide to seven generations of Corvette success

 

CORVETTE HISTORY

More words have been written about the Chevrolet Corvette than any other sports car. Only the Ford Mustang and Porsche 911 get anywhere close to the reams of history, documentation and reviews of America’s most storied sports coupe. Yet despite this avalanche of information out there, there’s a correspondingly huge amount of half-truths, urban myths and flat-out baloney spoken of the Vette.

So, rather than just rehash the usual tired facts and figures about the Corvette that you can look up for yourself, we’ve looked for a different angle, mining for those nuggets of information that you might not have known covering more than half a century of production. Everyone has their favourite generation – and it’s usually the C2 – but hopefully this timeline will cast some light on some Corvette models that also deserve their moment in the sun.

 

CORVETTE C1
1953 - 1963

Corvette -c 1-1 

History has been a bit harsh on the original Corvette. Much of the credit for getting the Corvette to ride and handle competently goes to a little-known Englishman, Maurice Olley.

In 1955, the Corvette finally got the engine it deserved, the small-block V8, with the option of a three-speed manual. In ’57 this engine grew to 283ci and could be ordered with fuel injection and a four-speed manual transmission. Capacity increased to 327ci in 1962. As power stepped, the limitations of the solid axle became more and more apparent. It was time for a rethink.

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CORVETTE C2
1963-1967

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With hindsight, it seems perverse that the C2, probably the most revered Corvette shape of the lot, was only built for four years.

The coupe bodywork of the Sting Ray was the work of Larry Shinoda, under the auspices of Bill Mitchell, and despite its rather dismal high-speed stability, was the first Corvette design to be tested in a wind tunnel, in this case Cal Tech’s facility. 

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CORVETTE C3
1968-1982

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If you had to nominate the most successful of the Corvette litter, many would point the finger at the C3. The sexy C2 was always going to be a tough act to follow and the C3 utilised a number of carry-over parts and utilised them for a very long time. In terms of units sold, however, the C3 is the undisputed uber-Vette. 

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CORVETTE C4
1984-1996

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We jump from 1982 to 1984? What happened to the 1983 Corvettes? Well that’s a bit of a sore point and one that Porsche bores will point to as an unacceptable gap in the Production record. Put bluntly, there were no production 1983 Corvettes. 

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CORVETTE C5
1997-2004

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If the Corvette C2 is the most-loved generation to date, the C5 could well come to be regarded as the most respected, if only because it took the biggest steps forward. In the early 90s, the Corvette C4 was progressively getting worked over by Japanese rivals that worked smarter and harder.

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CORVETTE C6
2005-2013

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The C5 only stuck around for seven years, and its successor refined the theme. Gone were the bulky pop-up lights, the C6 returning to the C1’s fixed lamps. In most other regards, the C6 was a fiercely forward-looking car and refined the C5 formula ruthlessly.

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CORVETTE C7
2014 -

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If the C6 was the Corvette that eased GM into the upper echelon of performance cars, the C7 Stingray hammered home the point in case anybody had missed it. Despite this,
it wasn’t the car some had hoped for. 

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