The 2018 model year marks 65 years of Corvette history, a full seven generations of America’s favorite sports car. During this time, quite a bit has changed in the automotive world so we thought it would be interesting to look back at 7 of the best Corvettes ever built.
1953 Corvette In-line 6
The Chevrolet Corvette debuted in 1953 as a hand-built convertible. With styling that turned heads, the ‘Vette was a trifle underpowered with a 235 CI inline 6-cylinder under the hood. Only 300 were built, making this the rarest year in Corvette history.
1955 Corvette V8
The original Corvette from 1953 started off the breed but the Corvette really came into its own with a V-8 under the hood. Offered at last in 1955, a V8 Corvette equipped with the three-speed manual transmission posted a 0-60 time of 8.5 secs. This upgrade in performance likely saved the Corvette from being axed from the Chevy stable.
1963 Corvette Stingray Split Window Coupe
Offered for only one year in 1963, the split rear window Corvette coupe is considered one of the best looking cars of all time. According to Bob Fischer Chevrolet of Reading, PA, the split window design was dropped after only one year because of visibility issues. Powered by a 327-cubic-inch V8, the 1963 Corvette Stingray offered 360-horsepower when coupled with optional fuel injection. It also handled better too, thanks to an all-new independent rear suspension.
1970 Corvette Stingray LT-1
Based on the famous Mako Shark concept, the third generation of Corvettes fell victim to the oil crisis of 1972, which forced automakers into downsizing engines for the sake of fuel economy. One shining beacon, however, was the 1970 LT-1. Powered by a 350-cubic-inch small block V-8, the LT-1 ran the quarter mile in 14.36 seconds. This vehicle offered the best combination of power and weight of any Corvette to date.
1990 Corvette ZR-1
The Fourth Generation Corvettes, with their 80s angles and digital dashboard, are largely credited for saving the Corvette brand after a dismal stretch in the 70s and 80s. The ZR-1 was the pinnacle of this generation. Featuring a Lotus-designed and Mercury-Marine-built aluminum 5.7-liter V8 making 375-horsepower, the ZR-1 remains one of the greatest performance sports cars of its time.
2002 Corvette Z06
With a more powerful engine, lightweight components upgraded suspension, the Fifth Generation Z06 was the most race-capable Corvette ever. With an all-new 5.7-liter LS6 V8 churning out 385-horsepower, the 2002 ZO6 was good for a 0-60 time of 3.9-seconds. With stiffer suspension, custom sticky Goodyear tires, and lightweight technology, the 2002 ZO6 was a formidable racer.
2009 Corvette ZR-1
After a 14-year absence, the ZR-1 returned for 2009. With a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 making 638-horsepower, the LS9 V-8 was the first factory supercharged Corvette engine in history. With performance numbers such as 0-60 in 3.5-seconds, quarter mile in 11.5-seconds, the ZR-1 was considered one of the best supercars of the last decade.
2017 Corvette Grand Sport
The Grand Sport takes all of the go-fast goodies of the Z06, adds C4 generation tribute trim, and adds it to the Seventh Generation Stingray. With 460 HP and upgraded suspension, brakes, and Michelin tires, the Grand Sport can hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Who needs a supercharger?