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The Evolution of the Chevrolet Corvette

The History of the Chevrolet Corvette

There's no denying that the Chevrolet Corvette is backed by a rich history of innovative design, and powerful performance. Having first been introduced way back when in 1953, the Corvette has come quite a long way since it first debuted. To learn more about the Chevrolet Corvette, and how it's transformed over the years, we encourage you to read on below...

C1: 1953-1962

Chevrolet reveals the C1 on January 17, 1953, at New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel, as part of the kickoff to that year's GM Motorama. On June 30 of the very same year, the first production Corvette rolls off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan. By 1955, the small block Chevy V8 makes its first appearance, and a three-speed manual is offered as an option. In 1956, factory-installed removable hardtops are listed as an available feature. Meanwhile, the exterior of the C1 gets exposed headlamps, sculpted side coves, and roll-up windows. In 1962, the C1's engine grows to 5.4-liters, while features such as the solid rear axle and exposed headlamps are discontinued.

C2: 1963-1967

Inspired by Bill Mitchell's 1959 race car and re-engineered to be the first Corvette that Duntov wouldn't be ashamed to drive on the streets of Europe, the Sting Ray arrives for 1963 model year. By 1965, the Corvette's big block V8 arrives in the form of Chevrolet's 396-cubic-inch "L78" engine. In 1966, the big block grows to 427 cubes, and is rated at a full 450-horsepower. In 1967, aluminum cylinder heads became an option, and a dual-master-cylinder braking system becomes standard on all models.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray

C3: 1968-1982

Taking styling cues from the Mako Shark II show car of 1965 and available with a 435-horsepower 7.0-liter engine, the third-generation Corvette signals a 14-year run on a carry-over chassis. By 1969, the 250,000th Corvette, a gold 1969 convertible, rolls off the factory line. In 1975, the convertible Corvette is discontinued. Then, in 1978, the 25th year of Corvette production is marked by a new fastback body style. In 1982, to commemorate the last year of C3 production, Chevrolet built the 6759 Collector's Edition Corvettes.


C4: 1984-1996

Introduced in March 1983, the new C4 boasted a full 205-horsepower, 290 pound-feet of torque, a one-piece removable roof panel, and digital instruments. In 1985, the second-year C4 debuts tuned port injection on its 5.7-liter V8, boosting horsepower to 230. In 1986, the Corvette convertible remerges after a decade long absence. By 1990, the Corvette ZR-1 debuts, driven by a 5.7-liter V8 capable of 375-horsepower. In 1996, the C4's final year includes Collector's Edition and Grand Sport special models.

1996 Chevrolet Corvette

C5: 1997 - 2004

In 1997, Dave Hill makes his mark as the new chief engineer by committing himself to delivering a more refined sports car. By 1999, the Corvette hardtop joins the lineup as the lowest-costing model, completing Chevrolet's three-model strategy for the C5. In 2001, the Z06 is introduced, churning out a full 385-horsepower, and reaching a top speed of 170 mph. By 2004, the final year of the C5 receives a carbon-fiber hood, the first use of a painted carbon-fiber panel for a production vehicle in North America.

2000 Chevrolet Corvette

C6: 2005 - 2013

In 2013, the C6 is the first Corvette with headlights since 1962. The 2013 model also adds nicer seats, and features a variety of updated interior materials. In 2008, the new LS3 6.2-liter V8 engine appears as the Corvette's base engine, increasing overall output from 400-horsepower to 430-horsepower. By 2011, the Corvette lineup and option availability is recognized as the greatest in Corvette history. In 2013, Chevrolet reveals that the C7 is just around the corner.


2012 Chevrolet Corvette

C7: 2014 - Present Day

In 2014, the C7 Corvette Stingray debuts at the Detroit auto show. Wearing a hood and a roof made from carbon fiber, it's followed by the introduction of the Stingray convertible at the Geneva auto show. Driven by a naturally aspirated 455-horsepower, 6.2-liter pushrod V8 engine that comes mated to either a seven-speed Tremec manual or a six-speed automatic, the C7 offers no shortage of power under the hood. In addition to its powerful engine, the C7 generation brought on a thorough redesign of the vehicle's interior.

 2017 Chevrolet Corvette

Stop by Premier Autoplex to Learn More about the Chevrolet Corvette

Interested in learning more about the history of the Chevrolet Corvette? Chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel of this year's model? Then we invite you to stop by our showroom to speak with a member of our sales team. Conveniently located in Livingston, TX, we look forward to welcoming you in to our showroom soon.