The Chevrolet Corvette

C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6

Basic History

        The Chevrolet Corvette is a sports car manufactured by General Motors since 1953.Today,the Corvette is built in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but has also been manufactured in Flint,Michigan, and St. Louis, Missouri. Also in Bowling Green is the National Corvette Museum and the annual National Corvette Homecoming. There have been six generations of the Corvette so far. They are sometimes referred to as C1 through C6.

Generation One
  • 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, & 1962
Generation Two
  • 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, & 1967
Generation Three
  • 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, & 1982
Generation Four
  • 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 & 1996
Generation Five
  • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, & 2004
Generation Six
  • 2005+

Early History

        In 1927, GM hired designer Harley Earl. It was with this that automotive styling and design became important to American automobile manufacturers. Harley Earl designed most of GM's flamboyant "dream car" designs of the 1950's. GIs returning after serving overseas in the years following World WarII were bringing home cars like Jaguars, and Alfa Romeos, and in 1951, Nash motors began selling the Nash-Healey. Harley convinced GM that they too needed to build a two-seat sports car. He and his special Projects crew began working on the car later that year. The result was the 1953 Corvette. It was unveiled to the public at the 1953 Motorama car show.
        The Corvette takes it's name from a small, maneuverable fighting frigate. The first Corvettes were mostly hand built in Chevrolet's Customer Delivery Center in Flint, Michigan. The outer body was made from fiberglass, revolutionary for the time. Underneath the new body were standard Chevy parts including the "Blue Flame" inline six-cylinder truck engine, two-speed Power glide automatic transmission, and drum brakes. A triple-carburetor intake exclusive to the Corvette increased the engine's output, however the performance was decidedly lackluster. The Corvette was underpowered, required a lot of effort and space to stop, and lacked a manual transmission compared to British and Italian sports cars of the time. A Paxton supercharger was available in 1954 as a dealer installed option. It greatly improved the Corvette's straight-line performance, but sales continued to decline.
        GM was considering shelving the project, and would have done so if not for two important events. The first was the introduction in 1955 of Chevy's first V8 engine since 1919. The second was the influence of Zora Arkus-Duntov, who took the V8 and backed it with a three-speed manual transmission. That modification turned the Corvette into a performer.


        The Corvette was Motor Trend's car of the year in 1984 and 1998. It's been on Car and Driver's annual Ten Best fourteen times:1985-1989, 1998, 1999, 2002-2004, and 2005-2008. The C6 was also nominated for the North American Car of the Year for 2005. The C6 Z06 was named "Most Coveted Vehicle" in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year contest. The Sting Ray was called the "coolest car in history by Automobile Magazine, and placed at number 5 on Sports Car International's list of the Top Sports Cars of the 1960s.         The 1999 Corvette Convertible was named "Best Engineered Car of the 20th century" by the Society of Automotive Engineers publication Automotive Engineering International. The Corvette has also been selected the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 ten times: 1978, 1986, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Oldest Suviving Unit

        The oldest surviving production Corvette is the third 1953 Corvette to come off the Flint assembly line. It was sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction in January 21, 2006 in Scottsdale, AZ, for $1,000,000.
        The oldest Corvette in existance is believed to be the EX-122, a pre-production prototype that was hand built and fist shown to the public at the 1953 GM Motorama at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on January 17, 1953. It is now in the Atlantic City Showroom and Museum of Kerbeck Corvette.