The legacy of the Chevrolet Corvette began in 1953. The initial model was considered rushed in order to satisfy the demand of a very enthusiastic public that had seen the concept model of the car. The early models were very successful, but the look of the Corvette changed forever upon the release of the Stingray.
The Corvette Stingray, released a decade after the debut model, was a sleek, streamlined vehicle that absolutely wowed the public. It was a sports car in every sense of the word. Not only did it have some of the top performance standards of any car available at the time, but the car looked cool, too. Anyone who saw one wanted it, and anyone who had one was envied by anyone who gave a hoot about cars. More than a car, it was an icon.
The fourth generation of the car, released in 1983 and running until 1996, was the first to make a semi-significant change to the exterior styling. This styling would continue on as the basis for later models as well, as the Corvette became more popular and accessible to people other than gearheads. The workable automatic transmission opened the car to a wider audience, and the new styling became iconic with those people.
The sixth generation is the current generation of the Corvette. It has shown no signs of waning in popularity, and while the car is generally seen as an American icon, it is celebrated almost everywhere. The Corvette Z06 is available as a right-hand drive car, a testament to the demand of the car all over the globe.
The iconic 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray not only had a terrific engine, but an incredible level of handling as well. The lighter body led to increased acceleration. The 5.4L engine produced a standard level of power at 186kW, but that amount was upgradeable to a few variants, up to 268kW.
The fourth-generation Corvette was actually driven by none other than James Bond of Her Majesty’s Secret Service in A View to a Kill. The ZR-1 Corvette, made available in 1990, boasted a 5.7L V8 engine with 280kW and 502Nm of torque.
Since 2009, the Corvette has been available with the LS9 engine, a supercharged 6.2L V8 with a staggering 476kW of power and 819Nm of torque. Consequently, the Corvette ZR-1 of the sixth generation utilises that engine to go very, very fast.
Going back, again, to the 1963 Corvette Stingray, it was interesting because of its kit. When first released, the Corvette was mostly considered a convertible. The Stingray changed all that, attracting people with its sleek hardtop. Interestingly, while the production between the convertible version and the coupe version was equally divided, more than half of the customers who purchased the convertible also purchased the optional hardtop, which could be attached and detached as the owner saw fit.
Air conditioning wasn’t initially one of the Corvette’s standard features, but it became available as an option as early as 1963. The feature has since found more and more prevalence within the Corvette family. Of course, electric seats, power windows, and power locks have also been a part of the standard kit through the years.
Transmission is probably one of the most evolutionary features of the Corvette from generation to generation. The first-generation Corvette was only available in a 3-speed or 4-speed manual (if you weren’t interested in the 2-speed automatic, that is). The fourth-generation model was the first to feature a 6-speed manual transmission, although that wasn’t an option until five years after the initial release. The 4-speed was the staple if you wanted to opt for automatic transmission, but in 2006, Chevrolet introduced a 6-speed automatic transmission for the sixth-generation Corvette.
While the Ford Mustang is typically a competitor of the Chevrolet Camaro, the Shelby GT500 model specifically is a competitor all on its own. The Shelby is known to have a higher power output of 410.4kW and better brakes, but the Corvette has it beat when it comes to cornering and top speed.
The Dodge Challenger is another car in a similar market, but the Corvette generally outperforms the Challenger in just about every way possible. They do boast a similar power output though, with the 1963 Challenger coming in at 279.9kW, just 11kW more than the same year Corvette. The Challenger does win out in the luxury features department, although that hardly compares to what some would call the iconic value of the Corvette.