Image credits: © Chevrolet. GM Corp

1963 Chevrolet Corvette news, pictures, specifications, and information
In 1963, Corvette introduced its all new Corvette Coupé and Convertible models called the Sting Rays. The car incorporated a boat-tail taper that was common of sporting roadster of the 1930s. The back featured a Bugatti Atlantique and Bertone BAT inspired split rear-window. This styling was replaced in 1964 with a single piece because of drivers complaining about visibility problems. The headlights were concealed in the front and would 'pop' out when in use.

New plants in St. Louis, Missouri were opened to keep pace with the vehicles popularity.

This was the very first time Corvette was available as a hardtop coupe model as well as the traditional convertible. The wheelbase was shortened by four inches to 98 inch. This, along with independent rear suspension, improved the handling and maneuverability. The steering ratio decreased from 3.4 to 2.9 turns-to-lock. Hydraulically assisted power steering was also offered for the first time. The drum brakes were still used. The optional sintered metallic linings and finned aluminum brake drums were offered and allowed greater fade resistance and better cooling.

During the development process, the car was called the XP-720.
Fastback Coupe
The Corvette was launched in 1953 with 300 hand-built polo white convertibles built during the first year. It was an instant styling sensation that lacked the performance to back up its impressive looks. This was quickly remedied and by 1955 a new V-8 was available. Body changes in 1956 and 1958 improved the look of the car but maintained the same general design as the original. In 1963 a radical new body style was introduced.

Influenced by Bill Mitchell's racing Stingray and the Q Corvette designs from 1957, the new body was an absolute sensation. Elements of the Q Corvette and the Stingray Special racer were incorporated into an experimental project called XP-720, which was the design program that led directly to the production 1963 Corvette String Ray.

The XP-720 sought to deliver improved passenger accommodation, more luggage space, and superior ride and handling over the previous Corvettes. The Q Corvette envisioned a smaller, more advanced Corvette as a coupe-only model, boasting a rear transaxle, independent rear suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes, with the rear brakes mounted inboard. Exterior styling was purposeful, with peaked fenders, a long nose, and a short, bobbed tail.

This particular example was ordered with ever available option, including air conditioning. Only 278 coupes were built with air conditioning. Freshly restored in Saddle Tan, this car was built in the last week of production for 1963. The 1963 Split Window Coupe is widely recognized as one of the most iconic designs to ever have been produced.
The Corvette was completely redesigned for 1963 incorporating independent rear suspension and all new styling. The 1963 Sting Ray coupe featured a unique split rear window that is unique only to this year. In 1964 the center bar was removed from the window.

When the 1963 Corvette was introduced in late 1962, it featured an all new body style derived from a race car built by GM styling guru Bill Mitchell. The new styling was a big hit, its angular body, wîth a minimum of bright work and a distinctive split rear window on the coupe version. This was the first year that Corvette offered both convertible and coupe body forms, nonfunctional vents were featured on both the sides and the hood and it was the only year for the split window. There are fewer split window models today compared to how many were original produced because many owners, who found the look controversial, removed the split and installed a one-piece, 1964 rear window.

The body was mounted on a new chassis wîth independent rear suspension. However, under the hood was the familiar 327 cid V-8 from the previous year. The standard engine produced a somewhat lackluster 250 horsepower, but the top fuel-injected model would produce up to 260 h.p.

The name Corvette, wîth the extended name 'Corvette Sting Ray', would prove widely popular. Base price for the coupe was $4,257.00 while the convertible ran $4,037.00. The 1963 model year would produce 10,594 coupes and 10,919 convertibles.

Source - Lemay Museum
Fastback Coupe
The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette is famous for its split rear window and are among the most sought after and prized Corvettes.

This 48,000 mile Corvette with its original interior is painted the correct Tuxedo Black and features such rare options as: C60 air conditioning system, L75-300 horsepower327 V8 engine, N40 power steering, J50 power brakes, A31 power windows, A02 tinted shaded windshield, G81 Positraction, N34 wood grained steering wheel, M20-4 speed transmission, U69 AM/FM radio, and P92 white wall rayon tires.
One of the Last 1963 Sting Rays Built
The Chevrolet Corvette first appeared as a concept car, as part of the General Motors Motorama display that traveled across the country in the early 1950s. The response from the public prompted GM to release the Corvette as a limited-production sports cars in the 1953 model year.

The 1963 Corvette String Ray was inspired directly from GM Styling Chief Bill Mitchell's 1959 concept car, the Sting Ray racer. Available in both coupe and convertible models, the 1963 Corvette featured hidden headlamps, peaked fender lines and a dramatic 'dual-cove' instrument panel. At the same time, Zora Arkus-Duntov, Corvette's engineer, had his staff create a totally new chassis with a four-wheel independent suspension.

The Sebring Silver String Ray displayed here was built during the last week of 1963 Corvette production. It was ordered with performance options, including the 360-hp, 327 V8 with Ramjet Fuel Injection, four-speed manual transmission and the ultra-rare two-bar knock-off aluminum wheels.
Fastback Coupe
Chassis Num: 003
1963 Corvette Grand Sport #003
Zora Arkus-Duntov and his engineers began a mission to meet the challenge of the purpose built sports racers of Europe and the Shelby Cobra in the U.S. The Grand Sport was already on the drawing board at Chevrolet, a built-for-racing specialty car using all lightweight materials, 4-wheel disc brakes, 4-wheel independent suspension and a large displacement American V8 engine. GM still respected a 1957 AMA ban on direct involvement in racing. The planned production of 125 cars would be sold to amateur race teams outside GM to skirt the ban. Word of the project reached GM's Chairman and the word came down that all racing efforts were to be stopped. While all factory racing efforts were officially dead, 3 of the 5 coupes (#003, 004, and 005) were shipped to Nassau for the annual Speed Week for John Mecon heading the 'private' team entry. After a good result at Nassau the engineers began to solve problems discovered at events. Two of the Grand Sport Coupes (#001 & 002) roofs were removed to reduce their profile and special hoods were added to all to relieve an engine compartment pressure problem. The success at Nassau and the publicity that followed again brought the Grand Sport project to the attention of GM executives who ordered that the cars be destroyed. Insiders at Chevrolet immediately got the coupes into private hands while the roadsters remained hidden until sold to Penske in 1966.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007
Fastback Coupe
This 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window Coupe is an early numbers car. It has a matching number 327 cubic-inch 300 horsepower engine, rare power steering and brakes, and was treated to a frame-off restoration in 2006. This car has been in the same ownership since 1978.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2008
Fastback Coupe
The introduction of the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray was a seismic event in the sports-car world. The first all-new Corvette since the two-seater's debut ten years earlier, the 1963 Sting Ray was both an engineering triumph and a design milestone. Inspired by GM's Sting Ray Racer of 1959, the production Sting Ray was available as a convertible and as the fastback.

The 1963 Coupe is immediately recognized by its dramatic, one-year-only split-rear window. Corvette firsts for this year include retractable headlamps, a fully independent suspension system, and optional air conditioning.

This car was originally shipped to Botnick Chevrolet in Binghamton, New York in May, 1963. It is equipped with the standard 250 horsepower, 327 cubic-inch V8. Options include 4-speed manual transmission, AM/FM radio, whitewall tires and extra-cost Sebring Silver exterior paint.

The current owner purchased this Sting Ray in 1967, at the age of 16, with money saved from his paper route. He and his father first restored it in the early Eighties; it was later refreshed in 2006.

This particular car was chosen to be the lead vehicle in designer Bill Mitchell's funeral procession.
Fastback Coupe
The 'C2' Corvette or Sting Ray debuted in 1963, and for the first time both a roadster and fastback coupe were available. Many enthusiasts regard the Sting Ray as the most desirable Corvette ever built. It has been called a styling showpiece and an engineering masterpiece. It took its name and general shape from Bill Mitchell's 1959 Sting Ray racer. And with significant contributions from GM stylists Larry Shinoda and Pete Brock combined with the engineering genius of Zora Arkus-Duntov, a true American icon was born.
The Chevrolet Corvette was all-new for 1963, when the Sting Ray model was introduced and the C2, Larry Shinoda design era began. This white 1963 convertible was found in a garage in Seaside in 1976. It had four flat tires and an engine that didn't run. It was purchased for $1,500 and restored to its original condition.
Fastback Coupe
The Split Window was only available in 1963. This vehicle is fitted with the 327 cubic-inch fuel-injected engine that produces 360 horsepower.
Fastback Coupe
Chassis Num: 30837S105122
Engine Num: 3105122-F1207RF
Sold for $110,000 at 2008 Gooding & Company.
The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Fuel-Injected Split-Window Coupe could race from zero-to-sixty in a mere 5.9 seconds. Selling at just $4,252 for the base coupe, it cost over a thousand dollars less than the Jaguar E-Type which was selling at $5,895. The Corvette rode on an all-independent suspension designed by Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov. The base Corvette had 250 horsepower; a 300, 340, and 360 horsepower version was also available.

For 1963, there were 21,500 Corvette Sting Rays produced and nearly half were convertibles and the other were the split-window coupe. Of this, around 2,610 were given the 360 horsepower fuel-injected motor.

This Split-Window Coupe is finished in black paint with a black vinyl interior. It has the most powerful engine available, the 360 horsepower L84 with mechanical fuel injection at a cost of $430.40. There is a four-speed manual transmission, which cost an additional $188.30. The Posi-Traction rear axle added an additional $43.05. Other options ordered with this vehicle included a wood-grain plastic steering wheel, power steering and AM/FM radio. The final price was a staggering $5,179.60.

The current owner purchased this car from the Nicolas Cage collection. It has been sympathetically and comprehensively restored and traveled just 436 miles since its completion.

In 2008, this Chevy Corvette was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company Auction held in Pebble Beach, Ca. It was estimated to sell for $100,000 - $130,000. A high bid of $110,000, including buyer's premium, was enough to satisfy the vehicle's reserve. The lot was sold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
Fastback Coupe
Chassis Num: 308375101682
This dark blue over tan split-window coupe is from the first year of production of the second-generation Corvette. This was also the first year Corvette was available in coupe form; earlier cars had all been drop-tops. An independent rear suspension was also adopted. The split window was the source of disagreement between the 'father of the Corvette,' Zora Arkus-Duntov, and styling chief Bill Mitchell. Mitchell got his way for 1963, but Duntov overruled in 1964 and the split (and thus the continuous raised spine that ran through it) were eliminated.
Fastback Coupe
Chassis Num: 30837S102210
Sold for $49,500 at 2009 RM Auctions.
The 1963 Sting Ray had hidden headlights, a new ladder type frame, a low center of gravity, and a fiberglass body on a four-inch shorter wheelbase. Chevrolet produced around 21,513 units with 10,600 being coupes.

This Corvette is painted in Daytona Blue and was assembled on October 9, 1962 and is number 2,120. It is one of 3,892 equipped with the standard 372/250 horsepower V8 and one of just 919 installations of the three-speed manual transmission. Options include an AM-FM radio and white wall tires.

In 2009, this car was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $40,000 - $60,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $49,500, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2009
Upon seeing a Styling Concept Corvette especially built for styling Chief Harley Earl, Bunkie Knudsen, head of Chevrolet Division at General Motors, ordered one for himself. This one is finished in Crimson Firefrost with White & Red interior. It is easily distinguished by the custom built chrome side exhaust. It has prototype features that later became regular production items, such as the instrument cluster, reshaped seats, and rear compartment battery placement. The distinctive hood stripe was to re-appear in 1967 on the hood of 'Big Block' cars. The 360 horsepower, 327 cubic-inch engine boasts a specially finished chrome and black wrinkle fuel inject system in place of the cast aluminum version.
This is a 1963 Corvette Styling Car, known as the Harley Earl car. It was built at General Motors with styling under the direction of Bill Mitchell and was given to Harley Earl. Mr. Earl used this car primarily at his Palm Beach home and also used it when he was Grand Marshall at the 1964 Daytona 500. The Daytona 500 winner's trophy is the Harley Earl Cup. This car has been invited to the Bloomington Gold Special Collection more times than any other Corvette.
The original owner purchased this car in 1963 and according to registration stamps on the original title, he kept it until at least 1982. He wrote a three-page car history detailing how it was used on special occassions and how he cared for it, even listing the brand of wax used on it. After being sold it was in a couple of collections until purchased by the present owner in 1999. As best as can be determined, other than tires, battery and some consumables, everything is all original including paint, interior and even the original soft top. The
When the all-new second generation Corvette was introduced in September of 1962, the world took notice. The styling was what caught everyone's eye, but underneath the state-of-the-art car was a huge leap forward. Corvette Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov fought hard for the independent rear suspension which would become a standard feature for the Corvette for many years. A new ladder-type frame replaced the passenger car X-brace chassis, and brakes would be upgraded at all four corners.

Under the hood, a variety of 327 cubic-inch engines were offered, ranging from the base 250 horsepower 4-barrel to the coveted Ramjet fuel injected version boasting a whopping 360 horsepower. A long list of options would allow buyers to build a car to their exact taste, and the introduction of the new Kelsey-Hayes manufactured aluminum wheels, as seen on this example, would prove to be one of the most popular options.

This Saddle Tan convertible is equipped with the 300 horsepower engine, a 4-speed transmission, 3:08 Positraction rear axle, auxiliary hardtop and more. It is one of the first Corvettes built with the factory AM-FM radio and one of the last to have the Borg-Warner T-10 transmission, as the new Muncie would be phased in.

The current owners spent the last five years restoring this car to as-new condition.
Fastback Coupe
Nobody can deny the beauty of the all-new for 1963 Corvette Sting Ray Coupe. With the single year split window design, it is an iconic American automotive design that is instantly recognized. The entire world would take notice of the shark inspired styling, and the Corvette String Ray would become one of the most sought after collectible cars ever built. 21,513 Corvette Sting Rays would be sold in 1963, a whopping increase of 50% over the 1962 model year. It would also be the first year the Corvette would be offered in both a coupe and a roadster version.

This example of a split-window coupe has undergone an extensive restoration to as-new condition and was completed by Master Works Automotive Service in Madison Heights, Michigan. It is equipped with the optional 327 cubic-inch 340 horsepower engine, a 4-speed manual transmission, leather seats, power brakes and power windows, and the new for 1963 AM-FM Wonderbar radio. It is one of the last 1963s built with the Borg-Warner transmission, as the new Muncie would be phased in.

This Saddle Tan coupe has been shown nationwide and has been awarded eight National Corvette Restorers society Top Flight awards, along with the coveted NCRS Duntov Mark of Excellence award. It has also achieved Bloomington Gold status.
Fastback Coupe
Chevrolet's heritage dates to 1911 when businessman William 'Billy' Durant and racer Louis Chevrolet teamed up to form the Chevrolet Motor Company. In 1916 Chevrolet became a division of General Motors.

Following World War II, returning soldiers told tales of quick and nimble European sports cars. Harley Earl's Art & Colour Studio soon began work on a Fiberglas concept two-seater and GM unveiled the new Corvette at the 1953 Motorama.

The 1963 model introduced a stunning design by Larry Shinoda. It was the first year for a Corvette coupe, which featured a tapering rear deck and, for 1963 only, a split rear window. It also had hidden headlamps and an independent rear suspension. Leather seats, AC, AM/FM radio, power steering and brakes and aluminum knock-off wheels also graced the option list. The wheelbase shrunk to 98 inches and all engines offered were 327 V8s. They ranged from 250 horsepower to this 360 horsepower fuel-injected version with an 11.25:1 compression ratio and 352 pound-feet of torque. 'Motor Trend' tested a fuelie to 14.5 seconds in the quarter mile.

At a time when the average car cost $3,200, a base coupe was $4,257 but jumped to $6,200 when fully-loaded. Production was 21,513, split evenly between the roadster and coupe, and the Corvette solidified its stature as a bona fide American sports car. This car has a 4-speed transmission with a posi-traction and power brakes and an AM/FM radio. It stickered for $5,254 and the original owners took delivery of it in May of 1963.
Fastback Coupe
Chassis Num: 30837S105479
Engine Num: 3105479 F11126RF
Sold for $209,000 at 2015 Bonhams.
This 'Split-Window' Stingray Coupe was built in the third week of December in 1962 and left the factory finished in 916A Daytona Blue paint over an 898A Saddle leather interior. Under the hood was the optional L84 360 horsepower engine package, M20 four-speed manual transmission, P48 Kelsey Hayes knock-off aluminum wheels, A31 power windows, and N11 side exhausts. It was purchased new by a 16-year-old Florida woman named Sherry Morris. She would retain the car for some 20 years before ill health forced her to sell it in August of 1983. The second caretaker was Jay Smith who had the car treated to a four-year, body-off restoration that took 1300 man-hours of labor and $33,000 to complete. Bruce and Ralene Strauss of Irvine, California purchased the restored car in May, 1989, for $50,000. The following year, their car was featured in 'Super Chevy' magazine. The car remained with the Strauss's until early 2009, when Tony Hart purchased it through Corvette Mike in Anaheim, California, where it had been consigned.

Currently, the car has just 27,621 miles on the odometer.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2015
Fastback Coupe
Chassis Num: 30837S105479
Engine Num: 3105479 F11126RF
Sold for $209,000 at 2015 Bonhams.
Amazingly, it would be a decade before the Corvette would be made available as a coupe and not just a convertible. The excitement around this option, especially when combined with the new Stingray design, would cause a great deal of excitement. However, this excitement would be somewhat muted given the lack of rearward visibility. As a result of the dislike of the split rear window Chevrolet would create the next year's model with a single wrap-around window. They likely didn't know they created a collector car right there in that moment.

What wasn't there to like about the new Stingray design. There were the fenders, the doors, disappearing headlights and that coupe styling to finish it all off. But it would be more than that. A fiberglass shell kept the weight of the car down and then there was the independent rear axle and Rochester-injected 327 cubic inch V-8. Boasting of a zero-to-60 time of less than 6 seconds and a zero-to-100mph time of a little more than 16 seconds, the new Stingray design was a unique blend of performance and looks, something American sports cars lacked in great quantities.

In 1963, Chevrolet would sell more than 21,000 Corvettes. Some 10,594 of those sold would be the new coupe design. Chassis 105479 would be one of those '63 model Stingrays produced with the split rear window.

Actually, this particular chassis would be built in December of 1962 and would end up being finished in 916A Daytona Blue. The interior would be finished with 898A Saddle leather.

This particular version would be completed with more than enough power at its disposal. Ordered with the optional L84 360hp engine and 4-speed manual transmission, this Stingray was one of those capable of some truly emotional performance.

Some of the other extras that came with the car when production was finished included Kelsey Hayes knock-off aluminum wheels, power windows and N11 side exhausts.

Such a car couldn't go to just anyone right? Interestingly, the car's first owner would be a 16-year old woman from Florida. In an attempt by her father to have her rid her life of a flame-painted Chevy sedan, he would promise his daughter she could have any car she desired. He perhaps wanted to rethink that offer after she determined she wanted the L84-powered Corvette Stingray.

It would be quite obvious Sherry Morris respected her father. Her father would be true to his word and would purchase the car for her. She would turn around and keep the car with her for the next two decades. In fact, it wouldn't be until she ran into some health issues that she would determine to sell the car.

In August of 1983 the car would pass to just its second owner, Jay Smith. Smith wouldn't retain the Corvette as long as Morris. He would end up selling the car to Scott Marshall of Bountiful, Utah. Marshall would immediately set to work on a body-off restoration that would take 1300 hours and more than $30,000 to complete. Amazingly, one of the components that would not be touched during the restoration effort would be the powerful V-8. It would be determined the engine didn't need to undergo the work in the first place.

Whether Bruce and Ralene Strauss agreed or not, they would purchase the car from Marshall. They would continue the restoration efforts starting in May of 1989 and spending some $50,000 over the course of the process. The fruit from the labor would include a feature in Super Chevy magazine and a nearly two decade love affair.

The well-known collector Tony Hart would recognize the caliber of 105479 and would buy the car in 2009 through Corvette Mike located in Anaheim, California. Hart would take full advantage of the Stingray enjoying the phenomenal power from this collector Corvette.

Sporting a well-known owner history that includes Tony Hart, original matching numbers, the iconic split rear window and a couple of heavily-invested restorations and this 1963 Corvette Stingray is certainly a fine example of the first coupe version of the Corvette.

Offered to the public for sale as part of Bonhams' 2015 Quail Lodge auction, the 1963 Corvette Stingray, chassis 105479 would end up selling for a healthy $209,000, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Jeremy McMullen
Fastback Coupe
The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray is certainly one of the most iconic and recognized automobiles ever built. It was the first-ever production Corvette coupe that featured the futuristic fastback styling, sporting the unusual styling element for its time period - the divided rear window.

In addition to the split rear window, it also has numerous other design elements that make it a true stand out. Among them are the rotating headlamps that matched the sharp-edged front end with the 'eyes' closed. For the coupe, the doors were cut into the roof, which made entry/exit easier in such a low-slung closed car. Faux vents are located in the hood and on the coupe's rear pillars.

The Sting Ray's interior carried a new interpretation of the twin-cowl Corvette dash motif used since 1958. It also incorporated a new glovebox, an improved heater, and a cowl-ventilation system. A full set of round gauges included a huge speedometer and tachometer. The control tower center console returned, although slimmer, but now containing the clock and a vertically situated radio. Luggage space was improved as well, but due to a lack of an external trunklid, cargo had to be loaded behind the seats.

Though not as obvious as the car's radical styling, the new chassis was just as important to the Sting Ray's success.

This car represents a true family affair. The family owners purchased the car in 1986 and have since shown it throughout the country, garnering numerous national awards and recognition.
Fastback Coupe
Chassis Num: 30837S118592
Sold for $115,500 at 2016 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $110,000 at 2016 Gooding & Company.
This Chevrolet Corvette was factory-equipped with the M20 four-speed gearbox and the solid-lifter L76 340 bhp V-8. It was finished in Saddle Tan and generously optioned with a Posi-Traction rear axle, sintered metallic brakes, whitewall tires, power windows, AM/FM radio, and rare leather upholstery. The original owner retained the car for 22 years. It was subsequently acquired by a marque enthusiast where it was shown at various Corvette events, where it earned two National Corvette Restorers Society Top Flight Awards and the Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals Heritage Award.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2016
Fastback Coupe
This car was sold new in Nashua, NH. The current owners are the fourth owners of the vehicle, and purchased it in 2000.

Few Corvettes have achieved such notoriety as this Sting Ray which launched the 2nd generation of 'America's Sports Car' with aerodynamics designed by Bill Mitchell and Larry Shinoda. It rode on a thoroughly redesigned chassis that had Corvette's first four-wheel independent suspension which was developed by Zora Arkus-Duntov. Also new was the 'split rear window'. This basic design of the coupe would last until 1967 but the 'split window' would not and it is the signature of the closed 1963 coupé. This car is powered by the 327 cu. in. V8 engine developing 340 horsepower.
Very few vehicles elicit the same kind of satisfaction as the Chevrolet Corvette. The ‘Vette is a symbol of childhood dreams and grown up triumph. The only true American Sports car, this car stands for excellence and became an icon as a high-performance and dynamic sports vehicle.

First introduced in January of 1953, the Corvette has only become more renowned as the years drift by. Undergoing many changes and restyles as any other vehicle will over the years, the Corvette has experienced new engines, transmission, chassis, features, body colors and so much more. Starting with a 235 cu-in 6-cylinder engine, the Corvette has since switched to a V8 with a horsepower that is improving each year. Over the years, the Corvette has also been offered in different trim models, the hardtops, coupes, convertibles, ZR-1s and Z06. Several different special editions models were also featured over the years to mark Corvette's step up into a new generation. The Corvette was always a 2-seater vehicle, Chevy has always offered and included features and equipments that were sophisticated enough to please owners and buyers.

A sports car manufactured by Chevrolet, the Corvette was originally handbuilt in Flint, Michigan and St. Louis, Missouri and is today built at a General Motors assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Bowling Green, Kentucky is also the home of the National Corvette Museum and annual National Corvette. The Corvette is the first all-American sports car built by an American car manufacturer.

Automotive styling and design wasn't important to American automobile manufacturers until 1927 when General Motors hired designer Harley Earl. Earl is responsible for the majority of GM's amazing ‘dream car' designs of the 1950's. He had a passion for sports cars, and convinced GM that they needed to build a two-seat sports car much like the MGs, Alfa Romeos and Jaguars that GI's were bringing home following World War II.

Codenamed ‘Opel', Earl and his Special Projects crew began work on the new car later that year, and the result was the 1953 Corvette. Introduced to the public at the Motorama car show, the Corvette was an instant success. The Corvette emblem was originally going to have an American flag in the design, but was changed well before production. The name Corvette was chosen by Myron Scott who named it after the corvette, a small, maneuverable fighting frigate.

Considered to be revolutionary at the time, the outer body was originally made out of fiberglass, selected in part because of steel quotas left over from the war. Underneath the fiberglass lay the 'Blue Flame' inline six-cylinder truck engine, drum brakes from Chevrolet's regular car line, and two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. The performance of the Corvette was considered lackluster and underpowered compared to the British and Italian sports cars of the day. Lacking an adequate manual transmission, it took a great deal of effort as well as a clear roadway to bring to a stop.

The Chevrolet division was GM's entry-level marque and until that time was known for its no-nonsense, though excellent vehicles. The Corvette was evidence to this. In 1954 the Paxton supercharger was made available as a dealer-installed option which greatly improved the Corvette's straight-line performance. Unfortunately sales continued to decline.

For some time GM seriously considered deleting the Corvette, leaving it little more than a footnote in automotive history, but two important events halted this. The introduction of Chevrolet's first V8 engine in 1955 and the influence of a Soviet émigré in GM's engineering department, Zora Arkus-Duntov. The new V8 was backed with a three-speed manual transmission, this was done by Arkus-Duntov, and became the single most important modification in the car's history. This took the Corvette from a two seat vehicle to a genuine performer. For his role in the modification, Zora received the inaccurate nickname 'Father of the Corvette'.

The two-seat Ford Thunderbird was introduced in 1955 and was labeled as a ‘personal luxury car', not a sports car. The arrival of the Thunderbird was yet another key factor in the Corvette's survival. The rivalry between Ford-Chevrolet demanded that GM not appear to back down from the challenge, and in 1958 the Thunderbird was changed to a four-seater vehicle.

Twice the size of the second biggest company in the world at the time, General Motors was so big that it made more than half of the vehicles sold in the United States. Entering the 1950's, the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust division was threatening to break up the company. GM had a huge conglomeration of businesses that ranged from providing insurance, home appliances, buildings GMCs, Pontiacs, Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs, Buicks and locomotives. But even with all of these achievements, GM didn't make the sports car. Producing a vehicle of this nature that could compare with MG, Triumph or Jaguar was a laughable concept at the time.

In charge of the corporation's ambitious musings, Harley J. Earl became working on a concept for an open sports car that would sell for around the price of a mainstream American sedan, about $2,000. Seemingly far-fetched, his ideas were passed on to Robert F. McLean, and the concept vehicle was produced.

Using off-the-shelf Chevy mechanical components to keep the costs at a minimum, McLean built the chassis and suspensions for all intents and purposes, the 1952 Chevy sedans. The drivetrain and passenger compartment were shoved rearward to achieve a 53/47 front-to-rear weight distribution within its 102-inch wheelbase. The same inline six that powered all Chevy's, the engine did receive a higher compression ratio, triple Carter side-draft carbs and a more aggressive cam that upped its output to 150 horsepower. A two-speed Powerglide automatic was bolted behind the six to calm the feat that the Chevy manual transmission couldn't handle the extreme power.

Though much attention to detail was put into this concept vehicle, the Corvette was only intended to be part of GM's Motorama exhibit at the 1953 New York Auto Show. This was until Chevy's then recently appointed chief engineer, Ed Cole saw the vehicle. Beyond impressed, Cole was responsible, after minor corporate machinations, for propelling it into production.
The viewers at the New Show loved the new 1953 Motorama Corvette nearly as much as Cole and thousands of potentials clamored for information as to when they could buy it. They were told six months later. On June 30th, 1953, the Corvette was available to the public.

Undeniably beautiful, with a fiberglass body that was quite innovative the 1953 Corvette wasn't as impressive as it could have been. Though the chassis handled better with the newly improved weight distribution, it still held a '52 Chevy suspension inside. The front end was suspended by a primitive independent system, while the rear was held up with leaf springs. The '53 Corvette wasn't as cheap as Earl had originally hoped either, priced at $3,498. Motor Trend rated the first Corvettes as reaching 0-60 in an unimpressive 11.5 seconds.

Due to the late start of the Corvette production, only 300 Polo White examples were built of the 1953 model before it was time to introduce the new 54. The 1954 Corvette was produced in an old millwork building in St. Louis and remained virtually unchanged except that it could be now ordered in Black, Sportsman Red, and Pennant Blue, in addition to Polo White. For the 1954 year, a total of 3,640 units were built, with many of them remaining on dealer lots. Until the Corvette produced performance to match its appearance, buyers were skeptical to purchase the new ‘sports car'.

In 1955 the Chevrolet Corvette achieved the single most important development in its history, Chevrolet's brilliant small-block V8. The first small-block was rated at 195 horsepower and displacing 265 cubic inches. Performance remained slightly unimpressive with the Powerglide transmission remaining. The oversize ‘V' along the front fenders was also tweaked this year. GM restricted production of the 1955 model to only 700 cars, while the previous year models were still clogging dealer lots.

Many consider the 1956 Corvette as the breakthrough year that established the vehicle as an American icon, and as a legitimate performance machine. The new body was stunning with flashy chrome teeth in the front, scalloped flanks, and curvy trunk area. The interior was fashioned into a cockpit-like style with bucket seats, and a body-colored frame that divided the passenger space. For the first time, a removable hardtop was offered as an option.

GM began racing the 1956 Corvette. Now rated at 210 horsepower, the only engine offered in the '56 Corvette was the 265-cubic-inch V8, backed, for the first time ever, with a three-speed manual transmission. In February of 1965, Duntov appeared with the new Corvette's for John Fitch and Betty Skelton at Florida's Daytona Speedweeks. With a compression ratio that was increased to 10.3 to 1, reworked cylinder heads and a few other emerging speed parts for the small-black had the V8 up to 255 horsepower.

Following the Speedweeks adventure, Corvette advertising took a monumental leap that now heralded the car's performance, competition and credentials.

The new 1957 Corvette resembled the '56 in appearance, but on the inside a new four-speed manual transmission, the great T-10, was available for the first time. Growing 283 cubic inches, the standard Corvette engine now achieved 220 horsepower through a single four-barrel carburetor. For this year, Chevrolet finally made available the performance-upgraded engines as options. The 283 could be had with dual-quad carbs that were rated at either 245 or 270 horsepower, or with Rochester mechanical fuel injection.

On top of the 283, fuel injection increased its output to either 250 or 283 horsepower, one horsepower per cubic inch. Driving beautifully, the Corvette was suddenly one of the world's truly quick cars. For the 1957 model year, Chevy built 6,339 models, with only 1,040 of then carrying the fuel-injected engine.

For 1958, both the exterior and interior of the Corvette were significantly restyled. The cockpit theme was exaggerated even more in this new model with a grab bar in front of the passenger rather than instrumentation. On the exterior, new dual headlights, simulated hood louvers and more chrome were added. The engine could still be any of the four different variations on the 283 small-block. Now making 230 horsepower, the single four-barrel version also had dual-quad versions that were rated at 245 and 270 horsepower and the fuelie engines now made either 250 or 290 horsepower. Chevy produced 9,168 units of the 1958 Corvette.

The 1959 Corvette was a much cleaner version with a lot less chrome, and the removal of the fake hood louvers. A total of 9,670 units were produced for the 1959 model year.

A year later, the Corvette didn't look much different, but the rated outputs of the fuel-injected versions grew to 275 and a full 315 horsepower. To tame the solid rear axle, a rear anti-sway bar was added. For the first time, more than 10,000 Corvettes were built.

For the 1961 Corvette, a brand new toothless front grill was at front and center, along with a new ‘duck tail' rear end. Besides the two exterior updates not much was changed on the '61 Corvette. This was the final year for the 1950's favorite, wide whitewall tires on the options list. This was the first year for a rare new option, the 24-gallon oversized fuel tank.

For 1962, the Chevy Corvette introduced a big new engine as the small-block V8 grew to 327 cubic inches. Now achieving 250 horsepower, the base four-barrel engine offered higher output versions available in 300 and 340 horsepower versions. For this year, the dual-quad option was dropped, but now rated at an impressive 360 horsepower, the fuel injection system was back.

Many enthusiasts claim that the '62 Corvette was the best, with its blacked-out grille and new rocker panel molding. Though the chassis was still closely related to the '52 Chevy sedan, this year the Corvette was certainly the best of the first-generation, solid rear axle Corvettes.

The most delightful automotive designs of all time, the 1963 Corvette was the ‘midyear' model, more than four decades after its introduction. Bill Mitchell, Harley Earl's successor as GM design chief was responsible for the new ‘provocative' look. Working with his assistant Larry Shinoda, back in the late ‘50s, Mitchell had designed a new body for an old SS chassis that had been built to race at Sebring. He created the Sting Ray by designing a new body for it with a high waistline, sharply creased fenders and a chiseled prow.

At the same time that Mitchell creating the Sting Ray body style, Zora Arkus-Duntov, Corvette chief engineer was constructing what he hoped would be a world-class chassis for his baby. Reducing the wheelbase down by four inches to 98, Zora built a much stiffer ladder frame than the previous X-member design, than now allowed the passenger compartment to be sunk down between the rails. Economical in both cost and usage of space, Arkus-Duntov also designed a new independent rear suspension that used a single transverse nine-leaf spring and the half shafts as part of the linkage.

For the first time ever, the fastback coupe was introduced by the culmination of the Mitchell/Shinoda body design with the new Duntov chassis that resulted in the 1963 Corvette roadster.

Outrageously attractive, the new 1963 Corvette featured rotating hidden headlamps across the front, and a boat tail-shaped rear window. A thick center bar spilt the rear window in two, a feature that nicknamed the car ‘split window coupe'. The most cluttered of the Sting Rays, the ‘3 model came with phony vent grilles in the hood, ribbed rocker moldings, non-functional gills in the front fenders, and the bar the bisected the rear window.

All of the engines still displaced 327 cubic inches, and most of the engines carried over from the ‘62 to the '63, along with the general styling of the rear quarters and the four-wheel drum brakes. The standard transmission was still a three-speed manual, and the base 327 V8 was still rated at 250 horsepower. Optional was 300 and 240 horsepower four barrel, and the 360-horsepower fuel-injected versions of the 327. Including such features as metallic brake pads, an oversize fuel tank, and heavy-duty suspension, the legendary ‘Z06' race pack option was also available. Production for the Z06 package was limited though, due the high priced fuel-injected engine.

Tested by Motor Trend, the 1963 Corvette reached zero to 60 seconds in 5.8 seconds, and reached the quarter-mile in 14.5 seconds at 102 mph. For the first time, sales toped 20,000 in a year as the Sting Ray sold 10,594 coupes and 10,919 convertibles.

The following year, the Sting Ray remained mostly the same as the previous year's model. The dummy hood vents were removed, the roof vents were restyled, while the center bar was taken out of the rear window to seriously improve visibility. For this year, the 360-horsepower four-barrel 327 was offered as an option, while the fuelie motor was now rated at an impressive 375 horsepower.

The 1965 Corvette featured three functional vertical louvers in each front fender. Newly available for this year, the 396-cubic-inch big-block V8 was available on this year's model. The final year for the mechanical fuel-injected 327 engine, GM introduced the ‘L78' 396 that produced 425 horsepower.

Lasting only one year, the 396 was replaced by the 427-cubic-inch version of the big-block V8 in 1966. Corvette buyers cold choose the standard 327, now rated at 300 horsepower, or a 350-horse version that inhaled through a single four-barrel, the 'L39' 427 which achieved 390 horsepower, or the ‘L72' 427 which was rated at 425 horsepower.

The parking brake was moved from underneath the dash to in between the bucket seats for 1967, and the louver count on each front fender went up to five. The new ‘L88' 427 engine featured aluminum cylinder heads and an impressive 12.5-to-1 compression ratio to make somewhere near 500 horsepower while carrying the large 850-cfm four-barrel carburetor. Ordering the L88 option automatically eliminated the radio, heater and fan shroud, and carried an extreme $947.90 price tag. Only 20 L88s were ever built, and today are considered to be the most desirable of the original Sting Rays.

The new ‘L68' 427 and rated at 400 horsepower was new to the Corvette option charts, along with the L71 427 rated at 435 horsepower that featured three two-barrel carburetors.

The third-generation Corvette was considered to be quite restrained in details, while quite flamboyant in its shape. No scoops, or extraneous chrome anywhere on the vehicle, and the fenders seem to envelop the tires. For 1968, the coupe and convertible Corvettes were again offered. The coupe showcased swooping buttresses on both sides of a tunneled-in rear window while the convertible stowed its top under a hinged hard cover. The first T-tops were introduced on the coupe, two removable roof panels, in this year. The body was all new, but the chassis and drivetrains remained the same. The standard engine continued to remain a 300-horsepower 327 small-block V8 that was topped by a four-barrel carburetor, the wheelbase remained at 98 inches. Optional engines included a 350-horsepower 327 and the L88, and the big-block 427. Selling a total of 9,936 coupes and 18,630 convertibles, the 1968 Corvette achieved yet another record year.

The Sting Ray name returned for the 1969 model year, now prominently displaying the name on the fenders in chrome script. The assembly quality was remarkably improved, with minor updated including relocating the ignition key to the steering wheel, and adding backup lights into the taillights. Mechanically, the largest change was the replacement of the 327-cubic-inch small-block V8s with the newer 350-cubic-inch versions. The 350 versions were rated at 300 horsepower in the base model, and the optional 'L46' featured 350 horsepower. Carrying the same power force as the 1968 models, the 427s returned.

An amazing addition to the Corvette line, the ZL-1 engine was introduced this year. Simply en L88 427 big-block V8 exceptionally done in all-aluminum construction, the new Corvette was 20 to 25 lbs lighter than a small-block. Only two of the 585-horsepower ZL-1s were ever produced and they were built simply for road racing and equipped accordingly.

The new 1970 Corvette was produced with four vertical side vents on each front ender, and amber from single lights along with square exhaust outlets. Standard equipment included a four-speed manual transmission which replaced the three-speed. A new 370-horsepower ‘LT-1' 350 entered the engine lineup with the new 1970 model. The 427 was replaced in favor of two new 454-cubic-inch big V8s, a 390-horsepower LS5 which carried a four-barrel carburetor, and a tri-power equipped ‘LS7' which reached an impressive 460 horsepower. Unfortunately the LS7 had a $3,000 price option, and no record has been found of any being built.

For 1971, compression ratios on all Corvette engines dropped due to stricter emission controls in force. The Lt-1 350 was reduced to 330 horsepower, while the base 350 now went to 270 horsepower. The detuned LS5 454 reached a minor 365 horsepower. The LS7 354 was deleted and replaced with an ‘LS6' 454 four-barrel V8 that was rated at 425 horsepower. Though these were still impressive numbers, it wasn't compared to previous Corvette performance.

For 1972, the power drain continued and was even more so exaggerated by a switch from SAE gross to SAE net power ratings. The base 350 only carried 200-horsepower rating, while the LT1 achieved only 255 horsepower. The sole big-block engine, an LS5 454 only achieved an unimpressive 270 horsepower. As part of a club-racing package, only 30 1972 Corvettes were powered by a special ‘ZR1' version of the LT-1 350.

The 1973 Corvette featured a body-colored rubberized front bumper that replaced the chrome strip that had taken precedence on earlier models. Standard for the first time were openings and radial tires, and now side vents were now single, almost vertical. Unfortunately power was reduced again, making the base 350 now rated at 190 horsepower. A brand new optional 'L-82' 350 featured 250 horsepower. Rated at 275 horsepower, the sold 454 was an 'LS4'.

The new nose on the Corvette also showcased with a matching wedge-shaped, body-colored tail for the 1974 model; the response from designers coping with new bumper regulations. 1974 was the final year for the big-block V8.

Only two engine choices were offered in 1975, the base engine being the 350 V8 which achieved only 165 horsepower, and the L82 which only reached 205 horsepower. Both engines exhaled through a catalytic converter. The 1975 Corvette featured a modification to the bumper system that transformed the rear bumper cover into a one-piece molding. For the 1975 model year, Chevy sold 33,836 coupes and 4,629 convertibles.

Production on the Corvette convertible was ended in 1976. The base ‘L48' was now rated at 180 horsepower as engineers were able to learn more about emission regulations, while the L82 350 reached 210 horsepower. Both of these engines exhaled through four-barrel carburetors. Similar to those used on the Camaro and Vega, the Corvette received a new four-spoke steering wheel for 1976; unfortunately this wheel was almost instantly despised by most fans. Also new this year was the newly grained dash with ‘stitching' molded in.

For the 1977 model year, the Stingray lettering was taken off the fenders. The car basically remained the same for this year with the only other change being the steel reinforcements being added to the hood.

Celebrating 25 years in automotive history, the 1978 Corvette featured a tail redesigned with a large wraparound rear window instead of the buttresses that had been one of the coupe's signature design elements for years. Though the new window did enlarge the luggage capacity, it unfortunately didn't open, so loading cargo was a matter of working around the seats. New instrumentation was added to the interior, which featured a lockable glove-box, and the windshield wiper controls being moved to a stalk on the steering column.

The base L48 350 was rated now at 185 horsepower, while a new dual-snorkel intake increased the output of theL82 version to 220 horsepower. The three-speed automatic was optional while standard transmission continued with a four-speed manual. Extremely popular, the 1978 Corvette was definitely not the quickest Corvette, but a total of 40,725 models were produced.

For the 1978 model year two special-edition models were featured. The ‘Silver Anniversary' edition showcased a two-tone silver-on-top/charcoal-on-bottom paint job while the limited-edition Indy Pace Car featured the iconic black-on-top/silver-on-bottom with a deep chin spoiler and ducktail rear spoiler. Buyers were very impressed with the pace car, this being the first time that the Corvette had paced the May classic. Only aout 6,500 pace cars were produced.

For the first time, production was boosted to beyond 50,000 units with the 1979 model. Changes on the exterior of the car were minor, but the main update was in a dual snorkel air cleaner that now fed the L48 350 that boosted output to 195 horsepower. The L82 now reached 225 horsepower with larger valves, a higher-compression ratio and a more efficient exhaust system.

The 1980 Corvette went through an extensive design update along with a weight reduction. Weighing 250 pounds lighter, the '80 Corvette was available in either manual or automatic transmission. The base L48 350 now achieved 190 horsepower in every state except California, while the L82 was rated at 230. In California the 305-cubic-inch V8 only reached 180 horsepower. Sales were decreased to 40,506 units for the 1980 year.

The 1981 Corvette introduced a new, much lighter fiberglass transverse rear leaf spring. The only engine available, the 190-horsepower ‘L81' version of the 350 V8 was all that was offered. Production of the Corvette moved from St. Louis to a new facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky in June of this year.

For the 1982 Corvette, manual transmission was eliminated, and all models were equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission for this year. Following 17 years of absence, fuel-injection was brought back during this model year, this time with the new ‘Cross-Fire Injection', an electronic throttle body system. The new fuel injection system upped the output of the L81 to 200 horsepower. Sales in 1982 ended with a total of 25,407 units.

The 'Collector Edition' was offered in 1982 and featured silver-beige paint, multivaned wheels, unique graphics, a rear glass window that opened hydraulically and bronze-colored glass roof panels.

The 1983 Corvette was radically updated from the previous year. None of the 43 preproduction '1983' C4 Corvettes were ever sold the general public. In March of 1983, Corvette introduced the 1984 model. The new model featured a 96.2-inch wheelbase, cast aluminum suspension components and a larger interior with fully digital instrumentation.

Keeping many of the C3 styling themes, though they were more conservatively expressed, the old coupe's T-tops were exchanged for a single fiberglass section easily removable with a wrench. Access to the engine was easy with the hood being a giant clamshell piece, and the hideaway headlights were now single square units on rotating mounts. Significantly improved from before, everything mechanical on the C4 Corvette was updated. Using composite transverse leaf springs both on the front and the back, the new suspension system was ideal. For the first time the steering was by rack-and-pinion, the brakes were oversized discs. Making for a stiffer structure, the frame itself featured a large aluminum C-section beam. The new C4 also featured huge tires, Goodyear P255/50VR16 unidirectional 'Gatorbacks' on 16-inch wheels. The small-block 350 V8 was carried over and was once again equipped with Cross-Fire throttle body fuel injection that was now rated at 205 horsepower.

The only transmission available at the start of the 1984 model run was the four-speed automatic, but by January of '84 a brand new Doug Nash '4+3' manual transmission was made available with an electronically engaged overdrive on the top three gears. With an amazing total of 53,877 models sold, the 1984 Corvette established itself as the dominant car in showroom stock racing.

For 1985 the Corvette received the new Tuned Port Injected (TPI) version of the 350-cubic-inch small block. The output of the V8 was increased to 230 horsepower due to the new and much more efficient induction system. The ‘L98' engine was joined to a more comfortable suspension resulting in a significantly improved Corvette.

For 1986 the Corvette lineup included a bright yellow version that was used to pace that year's Indianapolis 500. Bosch antilock brakes were also added for the first time, making the Corvette a safer ‘everyday' vehicle. All Corvette coupes received a third brake light that was placed over its rear hatch, while the convertible received one integrated into the rear fascia. A total of 7,315 convertibles and 27,794 Corvette coupes were sold in 1986.

In 1987 the Corvette received hydraulic roller lifters to the L98's valve train which boosted its output to 240 horsepower. Other than that adaptation the Corvette remained basically unchanged. The options list stretched to include a new Z-52 suspension system which gave higher performance with the sacrifice of comfort, along with new electronic tire-pressure monitors.

The 1988 model featured new 17-inch wheels inside P275/40ZR17 tires on the list of options. The L98 was boosted to 245 horsepower with the addition of new aluminum cylinder heads and a revised camshaft with more improved torque characteristics.

For 1989 the new manual transmission was a ZF 6-speed that had a ‘skip shift' feature that forced a shift from first to fourth gear under part throttle conditions to improve fuel economy. A new FX3 selective ride control system for the Z51-equipped coupes was featured, along with new optional fiberglass hardtop for the convertible.

Never available as a convertible, the ZR-1 was the big news for 1990. Designed and build around the Lotus-designed, Mercury Marine-built, all aluminum, 5.7-liter, DOHC, 32-valve LT5 V8, nicknamed ‘King of the Hill', the ZR-1 achieved an astonishing 375 horsepower. That amount of horsepower was reached only when an in-dash key was set in ‘full-power' mode, not the ‘valet' mode which limited it to just 250 horsepower. The ZR-1 only offered one transmission, the ZF six-speed with large P315/35ZR17 tires on very wide wheels. The ZR-1 received widened rear fenders that featured a new rear fascia that was distinguished by squared-off taillights and convex rear fascia. Nearly twice the price of a regular L98-powered Corvette, the ZR-1 was priced at an exorbitant $58,995.

1990 Corvettes featured a new dashboard with greatly improved mixture of both digital and analog instrumentation, better sound systems, improved ventilation, and a driver airbag.

The following year featured a restyling that included a slicker front end that incorporated wraparound foglights, and a new rear fascia that was similar to the ZR-1's. The rear fascia incorporated the third brake light. New wheels were also added to the '90 Corvette. The price of the ZR-1 skyrocketed to $64,138, and became the first GM automobile to carry a price higher that $60K.

The L98 was deleted in 1992 and replaced with new next-generation small-block V8, the LT1. The new engine was rated at 300 horsepower due to significant revisions to the accessory drives, cylinder heads, fuel injection and cooling system. ASR, Acceleration Slip Regulation was a new traction control feature that could be turned off.

With no other sports car ever coming close, on July 2, 1992, the millionth Chevy Corvette, a white 1992 convertible was built.

In 1993 a special 40th anniversary package was featured on both LT1 and ZR-1 Corvettes that basically consisted of badges and special Ruby Red paint. The LT5 engine was refined while the ZR-1 received boosted horsepower that leapt from 375 to an amazing 405. This was most the powerful production Corvette at the time.

1994 Corvettes featured the addition of a passenger airbag along with updated cockpit trim and steering wheel. To improve drivability and to simplify emission control, the LT1 was treated to sequential fuel injection that didn't increase total power output. New five-spoke wheels were added to the ZR-1.

The 1995 Corvette showcased new side gills that set it apart from previous edition. The brakes were improved for the year, along with revised springs, a quieter-running engine fan and de Carbon gas-charged shocks. A Corvette convertible for the third time paced the Indy 500. The final year for the ZR-1 was 1995.

The ZR-1 was replaced with two very unique editions that marked the end of C4 production in 1996. The ‘Collector's Edition' was offered on both coupes and convertibles and consisted mostly of five-spoke wheels, special emblems and Sebring Silver paint. The second was the Grand Sport, which took its name, along with its blue-with-white-stripe paint job, from an early 1960's racing Corvette and featured an amplified version of the LT1 small-block that was called the ‘LT4'. The small-block achieved a very impressive 330 horsepower.

Entering the fifth-generation of Corvettes, the 1997 edition was most wholly new Corvette since 1953. The complete concept of how the car was built was even changed, along with a brand new engine. Rather than like previous models, the '97 Corvette split the transmission off and placed it between the rear wheels in the back of the car to evenly offset the weight of the engine in front. Previous models bolted its transmission directly behind the engine. A radical innovation for the Corvette, this transaxle arrangement had been used on vehicles like the Porsche 928. The wheels and tires were now 18-inchers in the back, and 17s up front, though the suspension itself still used aluminum links and transverse leaf springs, there was no provision for a spare tire since all tires would be of run-flat design.

Relying on engineered wood products to make up part of the floor, the new frame utilized large, hydroformed rails along with a thick backbone for additional strength. Only offered for the year, the hatchback coupe body shared styling themes from the previous two generations of Corvettes though it did have reduced front and rear overhangs as the wheels moved out toward the corners of the vehicle. A less expensive conventional hood replaced the clamshell hood.

Unrelated to any previous Corvette V8, the C5's engine was brand new. Using all the latest production techniques, C5's 'Gen III' ‘LS1' was an all-new, all-aluminum design that still displaced a nominal 5.7 liters and using a single in-block camshaft to drive the two valves per cylinder via pushrods like the old small block. The C5 engine reached an impressive 345 horsepower. The rear-mounted transmissions were either a version of Chevy's own 4L60-E four-speed automatic or the Borg-Warner T56 six-speed manual or

Not much was changed for the 1998 Corvette except for the addition of a convertible model to the C5 Corvette range. The convertible included a trunk that was accessible from outside of the vehicle, a feat that had not been achieved since the 1962. Offered optional for this year was magnesium wheels. Corvette once again paced the Indianapolis 500, this time selling models to the public, in bluish purple.

The 1999 Corvette featured a fixed roof coupe that was much lighter than either the convertible or the hatchback coupe. New for this year to the options list was a head-up display unit that projected major information on the windshield in front of the driver.

The 2000 Convertible dismissed the passenger-side door lock cylinder as the keyless entry system made it virtually unnecessary. Two new exterior colors were also showcased in 2000, Millennium Yellow and Dark Bowling Green Metallic. The new interior color, Torch Red, was also featured, along with new five-spoke forged aluminum wheels.

The following year Chevy introduced the impressive Z06 Corvette for 2001. A high-compression, low-reciprocating-weight version of the LS1, the LS6 competed with the Z06 for 385 horsepower, while shooting its exhaust out a titanium system. Featuring a special FE4 suspension, the Z06 had a stiffer suspension and thicker anti-sway bars in comparison to other C5s. New lightweight wheels and more aggressive Goodyear tires that weren't run-flat in design were also featured. For much less cost, the Z06 matched or exceeded the ZR-1's performance. With an even more flexible and torque-rich engine, the LS1 had an output increase from 345 to 350 horsepower.

The 2003 Z06 was even better, reaching an amazing 405 horsepower that now matched the highest output of the ZR-1. The suspension of the Z06's was retuned to perform even better than previously. A new Electron Blue pain color was featured, along with a sound system revision.

The 50th Anniversary of the Corvette was celebrated in 2003 with the addition of a 50th Anniversary Edition Corvette that offered either an LS1-powered hatchback coupe or convertible. Showcasing a special deep red paint, the new Anniversary edition also featured a selection of new logos along with a new Magnetic Selective Ride Control system. Once again, the 2003 edition was paced at the Indianapolis 500. Regular Corvettes received new standard equipment that included a power passenger seat and a dual-zone climate control system. The Z06 remained virtually unchanged.

2004 did feature several commemorative editions of all three models. The Z06 featured a carbon-fiber hood along with revised shock valving.

Chevy engineers decided to roll all of the best aspects of the C5 and modify them for 2005, rather than starting with a clean slate. The design ideal was to create a vehicle that does more things effectively better than performance cars, and costing two or three times the price. The new Corvette would improve its refinement and performance, while fixing every notable imperfection of the previous generation. New exposed headlamps were featured, a design that had not been done since 1962, alongside a lean grille that created a distinctive ‘face'. To look less disproportionate, the backside of the Corvette was also slimmed down.

A new 6.0 liter ‘LS2' V8 was featured rather than an engine with 350 cubic inches (5.7 liters) of displacement. Output reached an incredible 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque now provided performance that was on a level with the world's best from Germany and Italy. The Corvette reached zero to 60 mph in an amazing adrenaline-pumping 4.2 seconds and continuing on to a top speed of 186 mph, according to Chevrolet. Receiving serious upgrades, the standard six-speed manual was also improved. The clutch was now much smoother and lighter with precise shift feel.

Not one suspension part was brought over from the C5, and three suspension setups were available for this model. The optional F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension automatically adjusts the shock damping rate instantly in response to any changing conditions. The closest thing to ‘Z06-like' performance, the Z51 package included more aggressive dampers and springs, larger cross-drilled brake rotors, larger stabilizer bars and shorter transmission gearing.

Greatly improved on the inside as well, the model featured seats that provided great support along with comfort while offering plenty of headroom to achieve an open and airy cockpit. Easy to remove and install, the standard removable top can be easily handled by just one person.

For 2005 the Chevrolet Corvette C6 convertible received an overhaul of the suspension geometry along with all new bodywork.

Keeping the relatively good fuel economy of the C5 the '06 C6 Coupe had a low drag coefficient and low weight and when equipped with an automatic transmission it achieved 18/27 mpg (city/highway). Slightly better at 18/28, the manual version is outfitted with CAGS, Computer Aided Gear Selection that has been included in all manual transmission since 1989. CAGS improves fuel economy by requiring drivers to shift from 1st gear directly to 4th when at lower RPM's.

A new LS3 engine with increased displacement to 6.2 liters was featured in 2008 and resulted in 430 hp and 424 lb·ft of torque. The 2008 Z06 received the all new TR6060 six speed manual transmission which replaced the T-56. The interior plastic bezel was improved along with the steering rack. Available in limited quantities due to constraints, an optional full leather interior was offered.

A C7 Corvette will debut in 2010 calendar year, according to several issues of Motor Trend magazine.

By Jessica Donaldson

Chevrolet Corvette Roars Into Its 60th Year

On June 30, 1953, the first of a new kind of Chevrolet – indeed, a new kind of American car – rolled off an assembly line in Flint, Mich.

The car had only two seats. There were no roll-up windows, or exterior door handles, for that matter. Its body wasn't stamped from steel but, rather, molded from reinforced fiberglass.

While the postwar Baby Boom was in full swing, this was definitely not a family car. This was a very personal vehicle, one that promised a driver and a passenger all of the thrills of the open road.

Skeptics gave the car little chance of lasting beyond an initial run of a few dozen units. However, 60 years later the Chevrolet Corvette survives – and thrives – as an American automotive and cultural icon.

'Through the years, Corvette certainly offered state-of-the-art features, designs, technologies and performance,' said Tadge Juechter, vehicle chief engineer for Corvette. 'However, I think what has made the Corvette such an enduring concept is the exciting experience of driving one.

'No matter what your station in life, when you're behind the wheel of a Corvette, you're an Olympic athlete – able to go faster, stop quicker, and turn better than everyone else,' Juechter continued. 'Very few cars can match that experience. And no other car has delivered that experience as well, or to more people, than the Corvette.'

Barely five months before Tony Kleiber, a Flint plant body assembler, drove that first Chevrolet Corvette off the line and into automotive history, the icon in the making was little more than a designer's dream.

Corvette was first created under the code-name XP-122 to provide Americans wîth a glimpse of a European-style sports car designed for this side of the Atlantic. It was one of several concept cars unveiled in January, 1953 at the GM Motorama show in the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

With a world war not far behind them, people wanting a glimpse of the automotive future lined up around the block to view the new concept vehicles. At the Waldorf Astoria – and at every other Motorama stop across the country -- Chevrolet's sporty little roadster ignited many Americans' imaginations.

In fact, the Corvette was so popular that Chevrolet executives decided to thrust the two-seat roadster into production, albeit on a very limited basis.

Initial plans called for about 150 Corvettes, primarily to help draw potential customers into Chevrolet dealerships scattered across the Ú.S.'s then-48 states. Overwhelming demand doubled the first-year production to 300 units. The following year, the Corvette moved to a GM assembly facility in St. Louis, Mo., where 3,640 Corvettes were built for the 1954 model year.

Those first Corvettes sparked Americans' 60-year love affair wîth the Corvette. Since 1953, more than 1.5 million Corvettes have been built. Those cars have become synonymous wîth American performance – from cruising down Americana on Route 66 to taking the checkered flag at the world's most prestigious road race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

During the coming months, Chevrolet will kick some tires, open the hood, and climb behind the wheel to highlight 60 years of Corvette design, performance and technology milestones. We hope you enjoy the ride.

Source - Chevrolet

Corvette's Chassis Innovations Refined on the Race Track

It's been said that racing improves the breed, and when it comes to the Chevrolet Corvette, nearly six decades of checkered flags are the proof. As Corvette marks its 60th anniversary in 2013, the design of the chassis, suspension and other drivetrain features are rooted in the rigors of competition.

'Candidly, Corvette was not a high-performance car until Zora Arkus-Duntov fitted it wîth a V-8, and began campaigning Corvettes in racing,' said Tadge Juechter, Corvette's vehicle chief engineer. 'Today, the Corvettes competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans use many of the same components as Corvettes rolling off the assembly line at Bowling Green.'

The Corvette C6.R is built on the same aluminum frame rails that underpin production Corvette Z06 and ZR1 models. Other production chassis structures in the race car include the windshield frame, the hoop around the rear of the passenger compartment, the door hinge pillars, the drivetrain tunnel, the firewall and the floor pan. Corvette C6.R also uses the production §teering column out of the ZR1, wîth a fully adjustable §teering wheel, as well as production rack-and-pinion §teering.

For the production Corvette ZR1, the racing influence is also evident in the rear transaxle design that helps achieve a near-perfect 51/49 weight distribution, as well as the racing-developed carbon ceramic brake rotors and Michelin® Pilot® Sport Cup Zero Pressure tires (developed by the same Michelin engineers who developed tires for Corvette Racing in the American Le Mans Series). These features contribute to the ZR1 running Germany's legendary Nürburgring in 7:19.63.

Here's an overview of the chassis technologies that have shaped Corvette performance on and off the track:

C2: Independent suspension, disc brakes and aluminum wheels First-generation (1953-62) Corvettes used a modified passenger car frame and live rear axle, which worked well wîth the cars' comparatively modest performance output. Substantially greater power was on the horizon for the second-generation Corvette and racing-derived development spearheaded by the legendary Zora Arkus-Duntov – Corvette's first chief engineer – highlighted the need for a dedicated chassis system.

When the 'C2' (Corvette second generation) launched in 1963, it featured a sturdy, ladder-type frame design that was 90 percent stiffer than the sedan-based 'X'-frame of the first-generation models. It also featured an independent rear suspension held in place by a unique transverse leaf-spring design. Besides offering greater handling capability, the independent rear axle was lighter than the previous solid axle design.

The C2 also introduced disc brakes and aluminum wheels, based on designs Duntov refined on Corvette race cars.

'Duntov pioneered the model of technology transfer by applying what was learned on the race track to improve the production cars,' said Juechter, 'That philosophy continues to play an integral role in vehicle development at Chevrolet.'

C4: Únitized structure, composite springs, antilock brakes and traction control
The C4 generation (1984-96) represented an even bigger leap in chassis technology than the C2. The ladder frame that had served the Corvette for about 20 years was replaced by a unitized 'backbone' chassis that, again, was inspired by racing cars. It eliminated several cross members, allowing direct mounting of the rear differential and other components, which enabled greater interior room. It was also lighter than the previous ladder frame.

Integrated on the backbone chassis was a 'cage' incorporating the windshield frame, door frames, rear wall of the 'cockpit,' rocker panels and more. The Corvette's body panels were attached to the chassis and cage, marking the first time in the car's history that it didn't use a conventional body-on-frame design.

When it came to the suspension, the C4 again used unequal-length upper and lower A-arms in the front suspended by a new, transverse spring design similar to the rear suspension. At the rear was another transverse composite spring, but used wîth a new five-link independent suspension design vs. the previous three-link setup. The reinforced fiberglass springs were exceptionally strong yet compliant, and they worked in two ways: They flattened as they flexed, but when the vehicle rolled in a turn, they effectively formed an S shape. That added roll stiffness, which minimized the size – and weight – of the stabilizer bars.

Additional C4 chassis/drivetrain innovations included rack-and-pinion §teering (1984), aluminum driveshaft (1984), aluminum disc brake calipers (1984), antilock brakes (1986) and traction control (1992).

The C4 was an unqualified success on the track. In its first year of competition, the C4 Corvette went undefeated and captured the SCCA Showroom Stock GT-class championship. That launched a renewed effort on racing and the benefits of technology transfer.

C5: Hydroformed rails, rear transaxle, magnetic ride

The C5 generation (1997-2004) built on the success of the C4 wîth a new, unitized backbone chassis design, but it was lighter and stronger. Its construction employed a comparatively rare process called hydroforming, which used water pressure and heat to turn six-inch steel tubes into side rails for the Corvette chassis. Each tube replaced what formerly had comprised 36 separate, welded components in the C4 chassis.

The other big advancement wîth the fifth-generation Corvette was the use of a rear transaxle, which moved the transmission to the rear of the vehicle rather than the traditional position directly behind the engine. The tunnel between the engine and transaxle was enclosed wîth a panel that contributed to the chassis' strength and rigidity.

'Weight distribution was a primary motivator,' said Juechter. 'We were trying to get to 50/50, balancing the work load on the front and rear tires, which is extremely challenging to do wîth the front-engine, V-8 powered car. Moving to a rear transaxle dramatically improved the weight balance, as well as enabling a smoother ride and greater interior space.'

Additional C5 chassis/drivetrain innovations included run-flat tires (1997), Active Handling System (1998), magnesium wheels (2002) and Magnetic Selective Ride Control (2003).

The strength and performance capability delivered by the C5 chassis paid huge dividends on the race track. During six years of competition, Corvette Racing – the first factory-backed Corvette team in the car's history – led the C5.R to an overall victory at the Daytona 24-hour race and three 1-2 finishes in the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. During the 2004 season, Corvette Racing won every race the team entered and captured every pole position in the American Le Mans Series.

C6: Aluminum and magnesium structure

The success of the C5.R racing program directly influenced the design of the C6 Corvette (2005 – 2013) as designers and engineers further strengthened but lightened the proven backbone design.

At a glance, the C6 chassis looks similar to the C5, but it was shortened slightly and strengthened in key areas to enable greater performance and to enhance crashworthiness. And while it retained the same basic suspension design as the C5 – short/long arm front suspension and multi-link rear suspension wîth transverse composite springs – all of the components were redesigned. No C5 suspension parts were carried over to the C6.

For the first time, different chassis were available wîth different Corvette models. The higher-performance C6 Z06 and ZR1 models received a unique, aluminum-intensive backbone structure rather than the steel backbone used on other models. It was developed as a lighter foundation, featuring a magnesium roof structure and engine cradle, and weighed only 278 pounds – 49 percent less than the steel backbone's 414 pounds. Like the steel frame, the aluminum chassis was created via hydroforming.

Corvette Racing immediately employed the C6 chassis wîth its C6.R race cars. Corvette Racing has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans seven times since 2001, most recently beating Ferrari to the checkered flag in 2011.

Source - GM

Chevrolet puts a groove into your ride

•Chevrolet celebrates the 60th anniversary of legendary Corvette sports car
•More than 600 tunes mention the iconic Chevrolet brand
•Top 10 Chevrolet Corvette summer song playlist to stream

Hot summer day… roof top down… wind in your hair … smile in your face… and 'Little Red Corvette' cranked up to its loudest setting. There's nothing like music in the car to make a journey really fly by.

But, did you know that, aside from Prince's classic hit, more than 600 songs across all genres and multiple generations mention 'Chevrolet', 'Chevy' or the name of a Chevrolet vehicle in their lyrics?

The summer of 1952 saw the birth of Chevrolet's Corvette and rock and roll radio* and in the decades that followed these two icons have influenced each other and become legends in their own way.

Ever since, musicians like Don McLean and his 'American Pie' and Eric Clapton wîth 'I've Got a Rock 'N' Roll Heart' have included song lines about the Chevrolets they saw on the road or took out for a spin.

To celebrate Chevrolet's rich music culture and the 60th Anniversary of the Corvette convertible – the ultimate sports car legend wîth heart-stopping performance and unmistakable styling – has put together a top 10 playlist of summer songs celebrating the iconic brand and its cars.

'Chevrolet has sold more than 200 million cars and trucks around the world in its 101-year history, touching the lives of countless owners, families, and fans,' said Beate Stumpe, Director, Brand and Marketing, of Chevrolet Europe. 'It is fitting that we are recognizing these connections and celebrating Chevrolet's role in peoples' lives.'

Test-drive a Chevrolet through your headphones wîth Chevrolet's Top 10 Chevrolet Corvette summer song playlist.
•Little Red Corvette, Prince – 'Little red Corvette, Baby you're much too fast'
•99 In The Shade, Bon Jovi – 'I got the radio blasting in my old man's Chevrolet'
•American Pie, Don McLean – 'Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry'
•Crocodile Rock, Elton John – 'Had an old gold Chevy and a place of my own'
•I've Got A Rock 'N' Roll Heart, Eric Clapton – 'I get off on '57 Chevys'
•Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift – 'Just a boy in a Chevy truck'
•Camaro, Kings Of Leon - 'She look so cool in her new Camaro'
•How Bizarre, OMC – 'Is that a Chevy 69? How bizarre, how bizarre, how bizarre'
•he Greeting Song, Red Hot Chili Peppers – 'My Chevrolet rollin' to another play day'
•Water, The Who – 'My Chevrolet just made steam'

Source - GM
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