The Corvette originaly started its legacy in 1953 as a lightweight roadster built to compete with the european imports built by companys such as MG and Triumph and also to compete with the Ford Thunderbird. The C1 (First Genertion) Corvette's characteristics included a lightweight fiberglass body on a steel frame with a inline six cylender engine dubbed The Blue Flame. This wasnt really true because this 235 cubic inch engine only produced 150 horsepower and was mated to a two speed automatic transmission that exited through a solid rear axle. The first 300 were sold in Polo White with red interior, the windows did not roll down, however the occupants could utilize a curtain to block out unwanted attention or sunlight.
1954 was not a stellar year for the Corvette, the same six cyinder engine remained between the fenders and the Ford Thunderbird still outsold the Corvette. The only real change was the addition of new colors.
1955 was the year that Gm really wised up, the introduction of the 195 horsepower 265 cubic inch small block V8 with a three speed manual transmision was a major improvement. The six cylinder was still optional but would be thrown out in 1956 when the V8 was boosted to 225 horsepower. Buyers got roll down windows finaly and there was an optional removeable hard top. There were some minor body styling changes but overall the car stayed the same. The other signifigant changes between then and the 1963 update were the addition of a four headlight setup and the traditional four tailights also appeared. Engine options included fuel injection in 1957 with engine size incresed to 283ci and another bump in size to 327ci in 1962.
In 1963 the Corvette was totaly redesigned with a more streamlined shape, conceled headlamps, and the famous split rear window. IRS or independant rear suspension was introduced to improve cornering. Five Grand Sport Corvettes were produced to compete with Carrol Shelby's Cobras on the racetrack. These Vettes produced well over 550 horsepower and were more than capapble of slaying the Cobras.The next year did nothold any major changes except for the removal of the split rear window. In 1965 a new engine option in the form of the big block 396 producing 425 horsepower was available but the fuelie was also phased out next year. Four wheel disc brakes were also available.
The last year of the C2 the big block was available with three Holley two-barrel carburetors and it produced 435 hp. King of the hill was the L88 Vette, it had a 427 cid BB which produced around 550 horses, although GM said that it only held 430 horses. GM also maintained that this was a racing engine not intended for public roads.
1968 New sexy “Coca-Cola” bottle shape. The 435 hp L71 was still offered. In total, 80 L88 Vettes were produced.
1969 The Stingray name was introduced. The Corvette’s base engine option was enlarged to 350 cid. In total 116 L88 Vettes produced, and two all aluminium 427cid ZL-1 Sting Ray Coupes were unleashed, Again, Chevy claimed that this engine only produced 430 horses, while in real life it produced over 500 hp.
1970 The big block reached its largest form as the 454 cid version. Its engine code was LS-5 and it produced 390 horses. An 370 hp small block was also offered; its code name was LT-1. The ZR-1 Vette appeared, having an LT-1 engine with a 4-speed Muncie transmission; only 25 were produced this year.
1971 Power of the LT-1 engine dropped to 330 hp. Only 8 ZR-1 vettes were produced.
1972 Horsepower ratings dropped again, now LT-1 produced only 255 hp. This was also the last year for the LT-1 option, seeing a total 1741 LT-1s built. Additionally this was the last year for the ZR-1 option, with only 20 ZR-1 Vettes being produced. The 454 cid BB managed to produce only a measly 270 hp this year.
1973 The front chrome bumber was gone, but a chrome bumper still remained in the back, making this one of the easier model years to recognize.
1974 The last big block year. The chrome bumber was gone from the rear, too; the rear bumber was now made from two pieces, with a seam in the middle of the bumber.
1975 The rear bumber became one piece and the seam was gone. ‘75 was also the last year for Corvette convertibles, until they reappeared over a decade later in 1986.
1976 Only small deviations from ’75, the steering wheel was same as used in Chevy Vega, after public reactions it was changed back to 3-spoke design in ’77 .
1977 Center console was updated with the steering column. 77’s without tilt-tele option (RPO N37) had the same Vega steering wheel as ’76, but only about 3000 were manufactured without tilt-tele option.
1978 A new fastback rear window. Two-tone 25th Anniversary model (RPO B2Z), 15,283 silver anniversary Vettes were produced. The Indianapolis Pace Car was another special model for ‘78, having a two-tone paint job (Black/Silver with Silver interior) and special front and rear spoilers, 6,502 were sold. The optional L-82 350 cid engine produced 220 hp. All ‘78 cars had special 25th Anniversary badges.
1979 ’78 Pace Car spoilers became RPO option (RPO D80). Also the high back seats from Pace Car became standard in regular Corvette.
1980 Facelift with new integrated front and rear spoilers.
1981 A new Corvette plant started production in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in July this year. Corvettes were build simultaneusly in Bowling Green and in old assembly plant at St. Louis.
1982 Cross Fire injection became standard and the Collector’s Edition was released. The production of these Collector’s Edition cars was 6,759.
This car would be the oldest Produced sports car if it werent for a small hiatus in 83 when GM stepped back and re evaluated what their sports car had become (a 205 horsepower smog regulation choked shadow of its former self). there were only three produced in 83 and only one of them is in existance today. Those three gave birth to the C4 (fourth Generation).
1984 The first year of the C4 Corvette. The engine was 350 cid (5.7 liters), called L-83, and produced 205 hp.
1985 Cross Fire injection changed to Tuned Port Injection and engine code changed to L89.
1986 The first convertible since ‘75. An Indy 500 replica was released; it was a Yellow convertible.
1987 The Callaway Twin Turbo was offered as an option (RPO B2K). The Twin Turbo produced 345 hp and stayed on the option list till the year 1991.
1988 A 35th Anniversary model was released: it was White with a White interior; even the wheels were White. A total of 2,050 of these Anniversary models were sold.
1989 New ZF-6speed transmission became optional. Also the wheels with ’88 Z51 and Z52 suspension packages became standard.
1990 ZR-1 revealed, at first year ZR-1 had 375hp 350cid LT-4 engine. 3,049 ZR-1 vettes wre sold this year. . Interior was totally redone with new fighter style cockpit.
1991 Little facelift, which included plump ZR1 style rear end and smoother nose. Last year for Callaway Twin Turbo option, Callaway also offered Twin Turbo Speedster this year. Speedster was powered by 450hp Twin Turbo small block.
1992 Millionth Corvette rolled out from the plant on July 2. It is Arctic White with red interior. Now this Millionth Vette is in the Corvette Museum. Second generation LT-1 was introduced with 300hp. 2,044 ZR-1 vettes produced this year.
1993 Ruby red 40th anniversary model. Rarest 40th Anniversary model Was ZR-1 only 245 were sold. Alltogether 448 ZR-1 vettes were sold. Total number of 40th Anniversary models were 6,749.
1994 448 ZR-1 vettes were sold.
1995 Last ZR-1 with production of 448 pieces. INDY Pace Car, 3rd time that vette was INDY Pace Car.
1996 Silver Collectors Edition and blue Grand Sport with white stripes from front to rear. Optional LT-4 engine offered. LT-4 produced 330hp, LT-4 was offered only with 6-speed manual gearbox. LT-4 was base engine for Grand Sport option.
C5 — Fifth Generation
1997 All new Corvette was introduced. Only Coupe was offered.
1998 Convertible came into markets
1999 Hard Top came alongside the coupe and convertible.
2000 New wheels and color: Millenium Yellow.
2001 Z06 power version introduced to markets. Z06 available only as Hardtop, base Corvette was not available as hardtop anymore. Z06 had LS6 engine with 385hp and had a 6-speed manual transmission.
2002 Z06 power increased to 405hp with small changes.
2003 50th Anniversary for Corvette! Special 50th Anniversaru model with special dark red metallic colour, champagne colour wheels, special 50th Anniversary emblems and special two tone brown interior were included to package.
2004 Commemmorative edition was announced to celebrate the last year of 5th generation Corvette. It had a special blue paint with silver and red stripes.
C6 — Sixth Generation
2005 The new sixth-generation Corvette included controversial fixed headlights. Both coupe and convertible bodystyles came out at the same year.
2006 Z06 Power version of C6 was introduced already in 2005, but it came available as 2006 model. New Z06 has a 500hp LS7 427cid (7.0litre) small block, the biggest and the most powerful small block ever available from GM!
2007 saw very little change for the C6, some more colors were available and rumors of a certain "Blue Devil" were in the pipelines.
2008 Saw the press release of the highly anticipated revival of the ZR1 nameplate. This time arround, the ZR1 was equiped with a 6.2 liter supercharged engine that pumps out over 630 horsepower. Efectively silencing Ferrari, Porche, Nissan, BMW, Nissan, Dodge, and all other contenders.