The model that started it all. Initially launched with an underpowered six-cylinder engine, the first-gen Corvette eventually swapped in the model’s signature element: a small-block V8 and a manual transmission. It was then that its journey as an icon of the American automotive industry took off. Over its nine-year run, the C1 Corvette became a legitimate sports car.
The C2 Corvette evolved out of the C1 with the same bobbed back end and long front end, but it introduced the characteristic folding lights that would remain with the Corvette until the C6 generation. The C2 also introduced the Z06 racing package and saw the production of the rare Grand Sport.
The third-generation C3 Corvette derived much of its design from the Mako Shark II concept and was developed by Zora Arkus-Duntov and Billy Mitchell. Its iconic styling, long fifteen-year tenure and its survival through hard economic times proved this American legend’s durability.
Released in 1984, the Chevrolet Corvette C4 embraced a sleeker, more futuristic style than previous generations. From 1985 to the end of production in 1996, the C4 saw a steady increase in horsepower with each engine upgrade. Offshoots such as the ZR1 broke speed records and became collectibles.
The Chevrolet Corvette C5 was the most advanced Corvette to-date and introduced to the world the legendary LS1 V8 engine. The C5 improved on previous generations in nearly every way and was regarded as the first Corvette that was truly usable on a daily basis.
The Chevrolet Corvette C6 was faster, lighter, and more refined than the outgoing model and is still regarded as a solid performance bargain. It also marked the return of the convertible option alongside the coupe; this generation also harkened the return of the Z06 and launch of the ZR1 high-performance variants.
The C7 Corvette added aggressive body styling that departed from previous generations significantly in a bid to lure in younger buyers and freshen the ‘Vette’s image. It continued the use of exposed headlights and became the first to use the name Stingray since the C3. The C7 is widely expected to be the last front-engine Corvette as a mid-engine C8 is on the way.
The next-generation Corvette C8 will mark a significant departure from the car’s previous design and performance setups. A mid-engine layout and possible all-wheel drive will put the car into direct competition with big-name European rivals.