A Pictorial of Chevrolet Corvettes Through the Years
The Chevrolet Corvette, referred to conversationally as the Vette, or Chevy Corvette, is a sports car produced by Chevrolet. The vehicle has now been manufactured through seven generations. The first model, a convertible, was introduced in 1953 at the GM Motorama as a concept show vehicle. Myron Scott is credited for naming the vehicle after a type small, flexible warship called a corvette. Originally manufactured Flint, Michigan and also in St. Louis, Missouri, the Corvette is right now built in Bowling Green, Kentucky and has become the official sports car of of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
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C1 First generation (1953–1962)
1953 C1 Corvette
1954 C1 Corvette
1955 C1 Corvette
1956 C1 Corvette
1957 C1 Corvette
1958 C1 Corvette
1959 C1 Corvette
1960 C1 Corvette
1961 C1 Corvette
1962 C1 Corvette
original of Corvette was presented late in the 1953 model year. Initially created as a show car for the 1953
Motorama show at the New York Auto Show, it created enough enthusiasm to induce GM to make a production model to offer to the general public. The first car came off the line in June 30, 1953.
This generation was regularly labeled the "solid axel" models (there was no independent rear suspension until the second generation). 300 hand-built polo white Corvette convertibles were created for the 1953 model year.
The 1954 model year vehicles could be obtained in Polo White, Pennant Blue, Sportsman Red, or Black. 3,640 were produced, and sales were slow.
A 265 cu in (4.34 L) V8 engine became available in 1955. With an extensive inventory of unsold 1954 models, GM restricted production to 700. With the V8, 0-60 mph time was up to to 8.5 seconds.
1956 Chevrolet Corvette transistorized "hybridf" (vacuum tubes and transistors) auto radio option
A new body style was announced for the 1956 model offering a new "face" and side inlets; the taillamp fins had also disappeared. During the 1957 model year, an optional fuel injection system became available. It became one of the first mass-produced engines to achieve 1 bhp per cubic inch and the publicizing organization for Chevrolet utilized a "one hp for every cubic inch" slogan for promoting the 283 bhp 283 cu in Small-Block engine. Other 1956 options included power windows, hydraulic power convertible top, heavy duty brakes and suspension, and four speed manual transmission (late 1957). Delco Radio transistorized signal seeking "hybrid" auto radio, which utilized both vacuum tubes and transistors in its radio's hardware.
The 1958 Corvette received body and inside updates which featured a longer front end and quad headlamps, bumper exhaust tips, a new stering wheel, and a dashboard with all gages mounted in front of the driver. Hood louvers and twin trunk spears were exclusive to the 1958 model . The 1959–60 model years had few changes except for less body chrome and more powerful engines.
The back of the auto was totally redesigned in 1961 with a added "duck tail" and four round lights. The light treatment continued for all model years until 2014.In The Chevrolet 283 cu in Small-Block was enlarged in 1962 to 327 cu in. In standard configuration, it delivered 250 bhp. For an additional 12% above list, the fuel-injected version created 360 bhp, making it the fastest of the C1 era. 1962 was the final year the solid rear axle, convertible-only body style and wrap around windshield were produced. The trunk lid and exposed headlamps did not return for some decades.
C2 Second generation (1963–1967)
1963 C2 Corvette
1963 C2 Corvette Stingray
1964 C2 Corvette Convertible
1965 C2 Corvette Stingray
1967 C2 Corvette Stingray
The second generation (C2) Corvette, which introduced Sting Ray to the model, continued with fiberglass body panels, and overall, was smaller than the first generation. The C2 was later referred to as mid-years. The car was designed by Larry Shinoda with major inspiration from a previous concept design called the "Q Corvette," which was created by Peter Brock and Chuck Pohlmann under the styling direction of Bill Mitchell. Earlier, Mitchell had sponsored a car known as the "Mitchell Sting Ray" in 1959 because Chevrolet no longer participated in factory racing. This vehicle had the largest impact on the styling of this generation, although it had no top and did not give away what the final version of the C2 would look like. The third inspiration was a Mako Shark Mitchell had caught while deep-sea fishing.
C3 Third generation (1968–1982)
1968 C3 Corvette Stingray
1969 C3 Corvette Convertible
1970 C3 Corvette Stingray
1971 C3 Corvette Stingray
1972 C3 Corvette Stingray
1973 C3 Corvette Stingray
1974 C3 Corvette Stingray
1975 C3 Corvette Stingray
1976 C3 Corvette Stingray
1977 C3 Corvette Stingray
1978 C3 Corvette Stingray
1979 C3 Corvette Stingray
1980 C3 Corvette Stingray
1981 C3 Corvette Stingray
1982 C3 Corvette Stingray
The third generation Corvette, patterned after the Mako Shark II concept car, was introduced for the 1968 model year and was in production until 1982. C3 coupes featured the first use of T-top removable roof panels. It introduced monikers that were later revived, such as LT-1, ZR-1, Z07 and Collector Edition. In 1978, the Corvette's 25th anniversary was celebrated with a two-tone Silver Anniversary Edition and an Indy Pace Car replica edition of the C3. This was also the first time that a Corvette was used as a Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500.
C4 Fourth generation (1984–1996)
1984 C4 Corvette Z51
1985 C4 Corvette Stingray
1986 C4 Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car
1987 C4 Corvette Convertible
1988 C4 Corvette Stingray
1989 C4 Corvette Stingray
1990 C4 Corvette Stingray
1993 C4 Corvette Stingray
1995 C4 Corvette Pace Car Edition
1996 C4 Corvette
The fourth generation Corvette was the first complete redesign of the Corvette since 1963. Production was to begin for the 1983 model year but quality issues and part delays resulted in only 43 prototypes for the 1983 model year being produced that were never sold. All of the 1983 prototypes were destroyed or serialized to 1984 except one with a white exterior, medium blue interior, L83 350 ci, 205 bhp V8, and 4-speed automatic transmission. After extensive testing and modifications were completed, it was initially retired as a display sitting in an external wall over the Bowling Green Assembly Plant's employee entrance. Later this only surviving 1983 prototype was removed, restored and is now on public display at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It is still owned by GM. On February 12, 2014, it was nearly lost to a sinkhole which opened up under the museum. Eight other Corvettes were severely damaged.
C5 Fifth generation (1997–2004)
789 C5 Corvette
1953-03 C5 Corvette
1997 C5 Corvette
1998 C5 Corvette Convertible
1999 C5 Corvette Stingray
2000 C5 Corvette
2001 C5 Corvette Convertible
2002 C5 Corvette
2003 C5 Corvette Convertible
2004 C5 Corvette
The C5 was the most completely redesigned Corvette since the Corvette's inception in 1953. Production of the C5 Corvette actually began in 1996 but quality/manufacturing issues saw its release to the public in mass delayed until 1997, and continuing through the 2004 model year. The C5 was a completely new design that featured many new concepts and manufacturing breakthroughs that would be carried forward to the C6 & C7. It had a top speed of 176 mph (283 km/h) and was judged by the automotive press as a breakthrough with vastly improved dynamics in nearly every area over the previous C4 design. The list of all new innovations include:
C6 Sixth generation (2005–2013)
2005 C6 Corvette
2006 C6 Corvette
2007 C6 Corvette
2008 C6 Corvette
2009 C6 Corvette Z06
2010 C6 Corvette
2011 C6 Corvette ZR1
2012 C6 Corvette Grand Sport
2013 C6 Corvette Grand Sport
For the C6 Corvette GM wanted to focus more upon refining the C5 than trying to redesign it. (Corvette: Sports Car Superstar, Editors of
Consumer Guide, 2005) However, this did not prevent GM from trying to sell the C6 as being "all new" even though it was not. The press immediately saw through the marketing ploy and GM's use of "simply changing the part numbers" to further the claim even though a large number of the parts were actually interchangeable between the C5 & C6. Car & Driver, along with Motor Trend quickly noticed the inaccuracy, noting that the C6 was more an "evolution of the C5, instead of a complete redo". This even led C&D to term the C6 as the "C5 and 11/16ths". GM did give the C6 a nice face lift; reducing the exterior body overhangs for a noticeably overall reduction in outward dimension.
C7 Seventh generation (2014–present)
2014 C7 Corvette
2015 C7 Corvette Grand Sport
2016 C7 Corvette Stingray Convertible w/2LT
2017 C7 Corvette Grand Sport
2018 C7 Corvette Grand Sport Carbon 65 Edition
2019 C7 Corvette ZR1
The next-generation (C7) Corvette had been in development since 2007. Originally set to be introduced for the 2011 model year, its introduction was delayed for 3 years. It was finally released for the 2014 model year. Mid-engine and rear-engine layouts had been considered, but the front-engine, rear-wheel drive (RWD) platform was chosen to keep production costs lower
C8 Mid Engine Corvette ??
2020 Mid Engine C8 Corvette
The good news for Corvette fans is the new mid-engine car is expected to surface in the spring and race in 2020
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Chevrolet Corvettes Through the Years
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