The Evolution of the Chevy Corvette

By: Michael Fossbakk | November 11, 2013

Surely, there are people out there who possess a greater knowledge of cars than me. However, something deep down in my male physiology draws me to them–especially the attractive, fast or powerful cars. The Chevy Corvette is one of those cars that I’ve dreamed about having since before I even had a driver’s license. Seriously, if you haven’t seen the 2014 Stingray model I suggest you take a gander.The Chevrolet Corvette is getting close to its 61st birthday this January. The car was first introduced at the GM Motorama in 1953 in front of 300,000 people in New York. This got me to thinking—what has changed since this car was first introduced? What features were offered all those decades ago?

Get ready to take some notes, as this quick history lesson is about to commence.

The Corvette was designed by Harley Earl, the head of the General Motors “Styling Section” team from 1927 (referred to as the Art and Colour Section from 1927-1937) until 1959. The design idea was influenced by English and European sports cars competing against each other on racing circuits post World War II. 

The model was a two-door convertible concept. The car was named after a small, maneuverable warship. Only 300 Corvettes were produced in its first year at a temporary production facility in Flint. 

Features of the 1953 Corvette included an innovative fiberglass model that made the car much lighter. The transmission was a 2-speed Powerglide (automatic). The engine boasted 150 horsepower and went from 0 to 60 in approximately 11 seconds. 

In 1963, we saw the next generation of Corvettes take off, as the “Sting Ray” (C2) was introduced. The C2 could go from 0-60 in 6.1 seconds, which is already an impressive feat, but considering that was 50 years ago, it is rather mind-blowing. It also offered three different transmissions choices: 3-speed manual (standard), 4-speed manual (optional) or 2-speed Powerglide (optional). 

The third generation of Corvettes (C3) was introduced in 1968 and stuck around until 1982. The “Sting Ray” now became the “Stingray.” Due to its longer body type it also earned the unofficial nickname of “The Shark.” This ride didn’t handle as well as the previous models, but it provided greater horsepower.

The C4, or the fourth generation of Corvettes, came into play around the mid-1980s. Corvette took a short hiatus as no models were offered for sale in 1983. It was the first redesigned model in 15 years, and had a more sophisticated feel to it. While the C4 wasn’t quite as powerful as its predecessors, the body proved to be sleeker, and much more aerodynamic. 

In 1997, Corvette offered the C5, which allowed for better braking, handling and comfort. On top of that, it was one of the fastest cars in the world going from 0 to 60 in an astonishing 4.8 seconds.  This was the car to have in the late 90s. 

Rolling off of the production lines in 2005 was the C6. The design of the C6 resembled that of the beloved Sting Ray models from 1963-1967. It was smaller and more nimble, hitting that 0 to 60 mark in 4.3 seconds. The C6 took big steps towards further refinement and overall performance.

Now we get to the present day. The C7 2014 Corvette Stingray is the latest model. An all new 6.2 liter LT1 V-8 engine boasts 460 horsepower, as well as 465 lb-ft of torque. A great feature is the third generation Magnetic Selective Ride Control, which stiffens the suspension and softens vertical and lateral movement. It offers lightweight materials, such as a removable roof panel. The interior includes real carbon fiber, aluminum and hand-wrapped leather materials. This baby is fast, Its ability to go from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds makes it the quickest Corvette ever made. It is also the most powerful. Oh man, this car is beautiful.

Well, there you have it. I hope you’ve learned as much as I did on the Corvette. I can certainly say that I want one of these, really bad.