60 years of the Corvette

60 years of the Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette was the first sports car produced by a US manufacturer and around 1.5m Corvettes have rolled off the production line since 1953. Presented to public as a concept vehicle at the 1953 GM Motorama Show in New York the car was christened ‘Corvette’ by Myron Scott, meaning a small, manoeuvrable warship. In 1953 just 300 Corvettes were produced, making it the smallest production year for the Corvette. All 300 were assembled by hand in Flint, Michigan and were only available in white polo with red interiors for the princely sum of $3,498. The C1 Corvette has been featured in movies and video games: The Rum Diary, Gone in 60 Seconds and Gran Turismo.
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The C2 Corvette was the first to bear the ‘Sting Ray’ name and to include a coupe. The prototype designed by Larry Shinoda – who also created Ford Mustang Boss 302, was inspired by the Mako Shark. The C2 had an entirely new design with more emphasis on ‘sports-car’ features from an engineering perspective. The base price was $4,084 for the convertible and $4,295 for the coupe. It also included a 1963 Grand Sport which is now valued at $6-8m, with only five built. In 2004 Sports Car International named the Sting Ray number five in a list of top sports cars of the ’60s. C2 Corvettes achieved fame in Star Trek, Viva Las Vegas and Con Air, and Gran Turismo and Need for Speed video games.

The C3 Corvette was the longest-running generation of Corvettes and the 2nd generation of Stingrays (1969-1976). This generation cars of are mostly referred to as ‘shark’ by enthusiasts for the aggressive styling. The ‘Sting Ray’ name was not used on the 1968 model, but returned in 1969 and was spelled as one word – ‘Stingray’. The 1976 model year was the last year for ‘Stingray’ name until 2014. The special editions of C3 include ‘Silver Anniversary Corvette’ and Indy 500 pace car replica, which are the most collectable cars of that generation. You might have seen C3 Corvettes in Apollo 13, Rush Hour, Boogie Nights and raced with it in Gran Turismo & Need for Speed.

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In 1983 44 Corvettes were manufactured but none were released as official production cars. All but one were destroyed with that one now stored in National Corvette Museum. The C4 had increased engine power and improved design elements, such as cutting edge computer activated manual transmission. From 1990-1995 C4 Corvettes featured the ZR-1 engine which could reach 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. In March 1990, at Fort Stockton, Texas, the ZR-1 set the world record for a 24 hour run – averaging 175mph. the car claimed a number of other records at the same time. The C4 also included special editions for 35th and 40th anniversary and Grand Sport and Indy pace cars.

The C5 was an entirely new Corvette based on new automotive technology with ‘hi-tech’ options such as head-up display and an active handling system. It was also the first Corvette convertible to offer a trunk since 1962. In 1998 a C5 was chosen to pace the Indianapolis 500 and to celebrate this Chevrolet made a pace car replica available to the public and in 2003 a 50th anniversary special edition RPO Z25 was released. The 1995 C5 also received the prestigious accolade Best Engineered Car of the 20th Century, along with the Mercedes-Benz S500, from the Society of Automotive Engineers. It also made appearances in Mr Deeds, XXX with Vin Diesel and in Gran Turismo & Need for Speed.

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The C6 represents the new generation of Corvettes with all new bodywork, an improved engine and increased horsepower. It’s 13cm (5″) shorter than its predecessor and is the first ‘vette with exposed headlamps since 1962. In 2006, the high-performance version was reintroduced, the Z06 model capable of producing 647hp (2013 model) and the lightest of all Corvette models. The C6 also included ZHZ, GT1 Championship Edition and ZO6 Carbon limited editions as well as the ZR1 Corvette, nicknamed The Blue Devil (these special editions were not available in Europe). C6 Corvettes featured in action movie The Last Stand and video games Gran Turismo and Need for Speed.

Chevrolet introduced an all new Corvette: the C7. The C7 Corvette Stingray is the first Corvette to bear ‘Stingray’ name since 1976, and it was assembled in Bowling Green, Kentucky where all the Corvettes have been created since 1981. The standard engine can produce up to 466hp. The C7 Corvette has been named the car of the year by ‘AUTOMOBILE’ magazine, ‘Performance Car of The Year 2013‘ by Road & Track, and has received plaudits across the board. It achieved fame as well as success, featuring in action movies ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ and ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’, and the prototype was created for ‘Gran Turismo 5’.



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