The Chevrolet Corvette is easily a favorite American sports car and likely the first one most people think of. The Corvette has been in production for 65 years, starting its journey on June 30, 1953, when the first Corvette was manufactured in Flint, Michigan. So far, at least 1.5 million Corvettes have been made in the U.S. and sold around the world.
Creating the Corvette and First Generation
Chevrolet produced 300 Corvettes in 1953, each with a red interior and white exterior. These first Corvettes had fiberglass bodywork to make them lightweight. However, the engine was not what most people envision when thinking of a race-inspired auto. The 6-cylinder produced just 150 horsepower and came with an automatic transmission.
The second generation lasted from 1963 to 1967, with production increasing to about 27,000 cars annually, instead of the previous approximately 10,000 annually. The Sting Ray was the most important part of this generation and there was a lengthy list of engine options plus multiple special performance editions.
The C3 Corvettes lasted from 1968 to 1982 and this accounts for the largest generation in terms of production numbers, with 540,000 units produced during the third generation. Even with those high figures, the Corvette took a hit in terms of collector values and horsepower thanks to emissions standards.
The fourth generation of the Corvette arrived in 1984, lasting until 1996. Chevy had designed an all-new model earlier in the decade. However, prototypes in 1983 had some quality issues, so the official launch of the generation waited until 1984. Once released, the C4 enhanced horsepower and quality, a trend that continued. Today, those who want an affordable Corvette as a daily driver and motorsports enthusiasts both prefer this generation.
An all-new Corvette arrived for the fifth generation in 1997 using the best technology Chevrolet could find. This generation marked the return of the Corvette’s reputation as a performance leader. This is also when GM once again took up world-class professional racing.
From 2005 to 2010, the sixth generation of the Corvette became a supercar with advanced technology. Chevrolet created these Corvettes to compete in sports car events of the highest level. Throughout this generation, you can spot an increase in horsepower output of the sports cars while still remaining street legal. While speeds could get higher than 200 mph, there was a high price to go with those high-performance Corvettes.
The seventh generation took the stage in 2014, using an all-aluminum architecture for strength and a light weight. With this new structure, the Chevrolet Corvette achieved a 50/50 weight balance from front to rear. The base engine for the C7 is a 6.2-liter V8 that makes this among the most powerful of any Corvette ever. Yet upgrading can get you even more power. This latest generation also includes a new 7-speed manual transmission and the ability to reach 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds in third-party testing.