To say that the Chevy Corvette has quite a rich history is an understatement. After all, no other car has achieved more than 60 years of continuous production, and not one single car came close to the Vette’s romantic two-seater aura. These reasons are enough to put the Corvette’s name up on the pedestal as an iconic car, but it’s always good to look back at its milestones through the years.
The very first Corvette rolled out on June 1953 in its Flint, Michigan factory. The most recent one meanwhile was crafted in the company’s newer factory in Bowling Green, Kentucky. In between those two generations, there have been approximately 1.5 million Corvettes sold globally.
Invented by GM designer Harley Earl in 1951, the Chevy Corvette was the materialization of Earl’s keenness with European sports cars at that time. He wanted to build something that America can call its own, something that could win at the race track. Thus, the Corvette.
The Corvette by the Generations
The iconic car’s journey has at times been quite uncertain, but now in its seventh generation, it’s safe to say that the hits have definitely outnumbered the misses.
C1: The Original Corvette (1953-1962)
In 1953, only 300 Corvettes were made and each of them had a red interior to match its white roadster exterior. To make the car lighter, its bodywork was made with fiberglass, but this first generation of Vettes wasn’t exactly for racing, as it had quite a weak 150 horsepower 6-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. Back in the day, the Corvette seemed like one of those cars you used for cruising.
C2: The Sting Ray (1963-1967)
During this era, the iconic “Stingray” term was actually spelled in two words — the “sting” separated from the “ray.” This was the time when the Corvette made a name of its own, and from 10,000 cars each year, its production rose to 27,000 yearly. The company also started to create different engine options, which saw the release of the Corvette Grand Sport, the brand’s racing-oriented car.
C3: The Stingray Era (1968-1982)
This generation is actually the largest of the bunch. Of the 1.5 million Vettes produced between the 1950s to the year 2010, more than 500,000 C3s were made, which is quite ironic, considering this was the era when the GM malaise happened in the US. The production of C3 Corvettes really started well, but collector values and the cars’ horsepower weren’t exactly that good because of the so-called Automotive Dark Ages.
C4: Entry-Level Corvettes (1984 to 1996)
The C4 is probably the most well-known Corvettes. Chevrolet produced quite the number of C4s from 1984 through 1996 and sold them for a price one could call “cheap” for a Vette. For this reason, the C4s were called a starter, or entry-level sports cars.
In the early 1980s, the company designed an all-new Vette, but the 40 prototypes created for the 1983 model year saw some flaws, delaying the production of the fourth-gen Corvettes for another year. But it didn’t stop Chevrolet from impressing the GM industry, and in fact, produced over 50,000 cars in that era. It’s the second-largest production next to the C3s, all of which were manufactured in Bowling Green, KY.
C5: The Modern Corvettes (1997-2004)
Chevrolet started from scratch in this era and created a brand new Corvette using the best technology available, marking the company’s “return to glory” phase. The C5s signaled the brand’s more powerful and modernized entry to the world of professional racing. The C5 Corvettes were then entered at Le Mans in the American Le Mans Series.
C6: A More Polished Corvette (2005-2010)
This era saw technologically advanced Corvettes designed to excel in the category of supercars. Along with other automakers, Chevrolet improved the Vette’s trace track horsepower, making it capable of speeds over 200 mph. C6s were sold at a whopping $100,000 or more depending on the build.
C7: The Future of the Corvette (2010-present)
The C7s had been in development since 2007 and was originally set to be introduced for the 2011 model year. However, its introduction had been pushed back for another 3 years. Finally, the seventh generation Vettes were released in 2014, which featured a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive platform in order to keep production costs to a minimum.
This new generation of Corvettes resurrected the “Stingray” name, which was last used in 1976. This period also saw the introduction of the GS model, available in 10 exterior colors, and a Grand Sport Collector Edition. Only 1000 GS Collector Edition cars were produced, with 850 of them sold in the US.
C8: Mid-Engine Corvettes (2019)
Now for the exciting part — the C8 Mid-engine Corvette was reportedly spotted in Nurburgring, which made all Chevy Corvette enthusiasts giddy with excitement. According to reports. The Cs will have a 5.5L DOHC flat crank V8 with two turbos capable of producing at least 600HP and 800HP. There will also be a 1000HP-producing hybrid AWD options.
It wasn’t until August of this year when spy photos of the eight generation Corvette were released, which depicted the upcoming model testing on Road America revealing its rear diffusers, racing tires, and rear wing in its camouflage wrap glory.
Are you excited for the all-new Corvette? The C8 Corvette will be formally introduced to the world at the North American International Auto Show in 2019. Watch out for the dates!