QOTD: How Do You Rank the Seven Generations of Corvette?
Starting life as a simple show car design that proved popular among consumers, the Chevrolet Corvette is iconic among American sports cars. Throughout seven generations over six decades, the basic formula has stayed the same: engine at the front (for now), driven wheels at the rear, and immediately recognizable styling in the middle.
But how do you sort the generations, best to worst?
This question surfaced in my mind, all wave-like, when the TTAC Slack chat got around to discussing Corvettes. A rapid rash of comments followed with many photos posted, links to eBay ads reflecting our favorite generation, and no fights happened. More on that below, but for now, now have a look at over 60 years of American glory.
The original Corvette concept appeared at the 1953 New York Auto Show, merely a show car in the Motorama section. The viewing public was excited, encouraging General Motors to take action. Voila, the fiberglass Corvette C1.
The shortest-lived model, Larry Shinoda (later of Boss 302 Mustang fame) designed the swooping fiberglass shell using inspiration from an earlier Bill Mitchell design called “Q Corvette.”
The first Corvette with a t-top, it was also the first to have good years and very bad years. This model accumulated more and more trim after inception, becoming quite the Malaise pontoon boat by the end.
The C3 got so bad that it took General Motors extra time to reinvent the Corvette as the C4. In reality, there were parts delays and quality issues with the new design, and it wasn’t quite ready for 1983. The C4 seems to engender the most love from TTAC staff members who are bold enough to speak out when it comes time to talk Vettes.
It is by far my favorite, though it is not the “best” qualitatively. Factually speaking, these saw-blade alloys are the best wheels, and teal is the best color.
The last Corvette with pop-up headlamps, the C5 was a thoroughly nineties variation on the C4’s shape. It had better weight distribution and was much more modern underneath. The interior was greatly improved in this generation.
A refinement of the C5 rather than a do-over, the C6 honed in on the performance side of the Corvette. This model saw a shift away from the “old man” image that pervaded the model through the previous few models.
GM was tired of the C6 by 2011, but delayed the C7’s introduction until 2014 so it could be sure it was ready. Chasing after Porsche customers and youthful buyers, GM injected power and technology and eliminated some of the golf bag space and the exterior’s soft edges. The Corvette is more serious now than ever before.
With a mid-engine model in development, the Corvette name isn’t going away any time soon. What order do you use when you play favorites?
(Your author’s picks: C4, C2, C1, C7, C6, C3, C5)
[Images via General Motors, seller]
Wintermutt on Mar 16, 2018
A red 1962 Corvette is and will always be my favorite external design. However I would never own one - too much work. I hope that someday someone duplicates the design by 3d printing vehicles and placing them on a universal electric car chassis. (before i am too old to enjoy it obviously).
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