By on December 20, 2017

Image: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

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.

C1: 1953–1962

Image: 1954 Chevrolet Corvette ConvertibleThe 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.

C2: 1963–1967

Image: 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray CoupeThe 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.”

C3: 1968–1982

Image: 1972 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray CoupeThe 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.

C4: 1984–1996

Image: 1987 Chevrolet Corvette ConvertibleThe 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.

Image: 1991 Corvette

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.

C5: 1997–2004

Image: 2001 Chevrolet Corvette CoupeThe 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.

C6: 2005–2013

Image: 2013 Chevrolet Corvette CoupeA 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.

C7: 2014–present

Image: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette StingrayGM 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]

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98 Comments on “QOTD: How Do You Rank the Seven Generations of Corvette?...”


  • avatar
    dividebytube

    C2, C1, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7

    70s and 80s and even 90s Corvettes are pretty cheap now. Cheap enough that I’ve started to take an interest in them. And given GM’s deep part catalog, easy to upgrade beyond the malaise setups.

    But it’s still hard for me to shake off my general distaste of the Corvette. Perhaps it is the “mid-life” crisis image; the 70s guy with the mustache and gold chains. Or the retired GM worker look that used to be prevalent in 90s Detroit: baseball cap to hide the disappearing hair and a black Corvette jacket.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I purchased a 05′ C6 in October and could not be happier with the decision.

      The price for a C6 has come down to a point that, for me, makes it an attractive DD option. Plenty exist with super low miles, I bought my 34k unit for 21k complete with new tires, brakes, rotors, clutch master cylinder and Corsa exhaust; wholesale book was 18.5k, tires and the exhaust are 4k, so I am good. I can put 50k miles on this car and sell it for 17k all day long. How do you go wrong with that? 4k in depreciation for that much fun is a bargain. I do a 60/40 mix highway/cit and get about 25 mpg, rotate fill ups between regular and 93 to keep the fuel costs down plus honestly I can’t tell the difference in performance or FE with regular. The almost super car (Porsche etc, M3/M5, AMG etc) performance for Cruz price and LS reliability was too hard to pass up.

      As for the image, well you have to get over that. I have really started to pay attention to who drives a vette’ and find that half the time it is a guy my age who is not what you describe. The older dudes only drive their vette’s to the meet ups and car shows, which helps explain why their is such a plethora of low mileage units out there. A fair amount of folks have figured out that a C6 is a very comfortable place to spend ones time commuting, decent enough MPG, loads of torque when you want to slam the loud pedal, coupled with lack of high dollar car ownership stress in the service department. A Corvette behaves a lot like any other car when it comes to repairs, they just don’t need much. For the haters, I get you had a friend who knew a guy who had one and it was a lemon, I understand. My neighbor also put 3 transmissions into his Accord V6 in 9 years. Doesn’t make all Accords bad…

      • 0 avatar
        dividebytube

        thanks for the insights – I’m still looking at ‘vettes for my next car, juggling between a Mustang and another MINI (the latter to heavily modify for track usage).

        However seeing an local ’04 Corvette with 30k miles and under $20K may be too much performance to pass up.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        How much does the nose of the C6 scrape on driveways and parking lots?

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          I scrape the lower valance everyday backing out of my driveway. I gave a good look over when I changed the oil a couple of weeks ago and it has some good scrape/rash on it.

          It snaps into the nose cone, so I figure I will have to replace it at some point. It kind of reminds me back when I was a kid and I rode a skateboard. I put plastic/synthetic pads on the back of the skate board to wear down instead of the board itself on the pavement. They needed replaced every so often.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    C2, C7, early C3, C6, C1, C5, C4 for performance but late C3 for looks, and vice versa

  • avatar
    Feds

    Chrome Bumper C3, C7, C5, C6, C4, C2, C1, Late C3

    Everyone else is wrong.

    C1’s and 2’s are too collectable to enjoy. Chrome bumper C3 hits all the over-the-top supercar themes that were forgotten until C7, which once again looks properly exotic and has the go to match.

    C6 is starting to look too plain, so it falls behind the more classically styled C5, which also goes up the list for having pop up headlights.

    C4’s are in the sweet spot of buy cheap and make it to your liking. Plastic bumper C3’s are just universally terrible.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    C5 first, SAE’s car of the century, still regularly recommended as a trackday car, introduced mechanical parts and layout that the car still uses 20 years later. When it came out the C5 Corvette was 25 MPH faster and 25% more fuel efficient than any direct competitor.

    C2 second, the car that made the Corvette a real performance car and not just a Chevy compact sedan with a fancy body.

    C6 third, the smallest Corvette and in Z06/ZR1 form the scariest.

    C7 fourth, a big, bulky, heavy car that goes as fast as cars triple its price.

    C4 fifth, the car that reintroduced the Corvette to the racetrack.

    C1 sixth, known mostly for its unique year-by-year styling and being the first.

    C3 DFL, the heavier-than-a-’77-Caprice gold-chain boat that has set the negative image of the car and its buyers in stone.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    From best to worse:

    C7, C2, C6, C5, ’56-’57 C1s, C4, C3, all other C1s.

  • avatar
    slap

    C2, C6, late C1 (dual headlight), …. the rest are meh.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    C2
    C6
    C7
    C3(earlier models)
    C5
    C4
    C1

  • avatar
    Bercilak

    C2, C3, and C1 are first through third place, respectively. C4-C7 all tie for last because their shapes run together in a vague, mushy wedge-shaped mess.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’m heartened to see all the love here for the C2. It’s my favorite, with the ’62 being the best – the trim and brightwork was toned down, and mechanically they’re the best of the C2s.

    Then the rest: C6, C7, C5, C4, C3, and C1.

    • 0 avatar
      doctorv8

      Sorry Duke….’62 is the last of the C1, not a C2, which started with the ’63 Sting Ray.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        D’oh! You’re right. What was I thinking? Anyway, the ’62 is still my favorite. I’m so old school, I don’t think about the C1, C2, etc. designations (that’s a relatively recent thing). The styling changed so much in ’58 that I think about them as separate, from the earlier ones, especially the ’53 to ’55 cars.

        I’m so old I have the Karl E. Ludvigsen book (“Corvette: America’s Star-Spangled Sports Car”), the second edition published in 1976. My mom worked for a publisher at the time (oil and gas magazines), and ordered it for me directly from the publisher. It’s a great resource, at least for the early cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Yeah, the C2 is the only one that speaks to me on a visceral level. Great looking machine. The C1 is pretty enough, and for a DD I’d love that teal C4. The C3s aren’t bad looking but having come of age in that era I just can’t get past the Disco Malaisiness.

  • avatar
    Cole Trickle

    C1- too collectible to drive very often but most awesome
    C2- awesome if you can afford one
    C3- fun because ‘murica, when it’s running, you look silly driving it but you’re in on the joke in a C3
    C4-present- kinda like, er…riding a fat girl. A lot of fun until your friends see you. I’m not sure how one can escape the very true cliches. Maybe the right novelty window sticker?

  • avatar
    ttiguy

    C2, C7, C5, C6, C4, C1, C3

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 6, 7

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    C3 was the greatest ‘Vette ever. Why? Because GM sold a zillion of them, ensuring that we’d have C4, and so on.

    Therefore: C3, C4, C2, C7, C6, C1, C5

  • avatar
    wintermutt

    Only Vette i ever really wanted was a red 1962 (C1). AFAICT the reason is that i grew up watching Route 66 on TV and the 1962 model was permanently imprinted on my developing brain. This is sort of scary to me…to think that TV had that much effect on my generation. In 1962 i was 8 years old.

    Happiness can exist only in acceptance.
    George Orwell

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Personal fave are C3, C4, and C2 in that order based on styling and available engines during the production run.

    I’d love a C4 given how cheap and easy to run they are (all the modern conveniences too) but oddly my Corvette loving wife HATES the styling of the C4s. I find that odd because those would have been the one’s from the meat of her childhood (given she was born in 1983.)

    • 0 avatar

      She needs to come around to the TRUTH of C4.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Which is… they suck prior to the LT-1?

        • 0 avatar

          LT 4 ME

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          I don’t know if I’d say they “suck”… 84s for example had awesome suspension, and they still can easily win B-Stock class racing in SCCA Autocross. I’ve been tempted by them because they are a great value buy too since many people avoid them for DD. Not many cars from the mid 80s can actually hold their own in modern racing…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Look at my post below for three of them for sale.

            I don’t know enough about their suspensions to know the variations, but I know the cross fire FI was a PITA at the time and most current owners kept things stock. Our Lord 3800 bless you for wanting to track one thirty years later. Me? No thanks. My GTA Vice City fantasies can wait.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Early C4s were great on a track, and absolutely awful anywhere else. Total rattle-trap. And “cross-fire” injection was almost an unforgivable sin.

            But it matured into a pretty brilliant car.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I’ve been toying with the idea of a C4 for a while. We’ll see once I get settled in.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I’m not a huge body kit fan, but I think a few cars need them.

      The C5 for example NEEDS the body side molding to look good. Such a simple piece of plastic that makes such a huge difference.

      The C4 is similar. A base C4 is a great car and I think it looks good, but put a factory or factory equivalent body kit on it and the car is transformed to a real sports car.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I love the look of the C3. If I had the money I would resto-mod that model with the bits from a C5 or C6 under the body. The new C7 is amazing, but overall the car is getting too big. I’d love to see a “baby” ‘Vette from GM. And no the Camaro is not the answer as its a beast already. I’m not talking Miata size, more like FRS size. Take the current LS, chop off 2 cyclinders but keep the supercharger, putting out around 400 HP.

    I’ve never understood the love affair with the C1, sure it launched the ‘Vette after all, but honestly I don’t find it even remotely attractive. It looks like a typical British roadster but too chubby with some fins tacked on. My brother had a C4 for short period of time but two track days later it’s (automatic) transmission was blown.

  • avatar
    Prado

    C2, C7 … not sure after that. I will say that the minimalist clean look of the C4 is aging very well.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Rank ’em? With the possible exception of the C4, which looks at least half-way reputable, I’d prefer to burn ’em.

  • avatar
    silentsod

    C6
    C3
    C5
    C2
    C4
    C1
    C7

    The highly aggressive and angular design of the C7 just does nothing for me.

  • avatar
    Featherston

    I can’t say I’m fond of Don Sherman’s curmudgeonly presentation style, but Car and Driver created a YouTube series on the various generations a few years back. There are some interesting insights from GM engineer Tadge Juecther. They start here with the C1 clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqC-QdjO2x8

    We think of them as collector cars now, but it’s interesting to note how fast (depending on powertrain options) C2’s and early C3’s were compared to most cars up through the 1980s. An uncle bought a tired ’66 in the early ’80s and did some racing in it after effecting a mechanical restoration. After a couple of years of that, he did have it cosmetically restored and retired it to weekend/vacation street use.

    He once got into a lighthearted (if you can call go-to-jail speeds lighthearted) race against a Ferrari 308 on a rural highway (granted, not exactly an F40 speed-wise). The C2 did quite well until hitting an aerodynamic brick wall at about 120.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Corey – I’ll join you on the C4!

    C4, C2, C1, C3, C7, C6, C5

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    C4 ZR-1, preferably modded. Then everything else. http://www.superchevy.com/features/vemp-0903-1990-chevrolet-corvette-zr1/

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    Can’t foresee myself owning a corvette, but I like and somewhat respect the car.
    For me C5 was the biggest leap forward, so that would be first, to my eyes C3 is good looking enough to overcome its shortcoming, and C7 is a world beater in performance although to my eyes the ugliest. The rest are meh, maybe C1 if you are going for retro cute.

  • avatar
    ajla

    C6,C2,C3,C4,C7,C1,C5

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Best to worst: I rate on Value/fun

    C6: At this point, I can’t think of a better value out there, especially if you want a track car; a Z06 can be had for a song from some old duffer who hasn’t driven it in 2 years.
    C5: See C6

    C2: Arguably the most attractive body style

    C1, C3, C4: I had a C4 for a bit and it my head hit the roof too often and the late C3 were just too malaise era for me. Though, with the rash of LS swaps, you could most likely stuff a 5.3 and 4L60E in one without too much trouble, pass emissions, and have a fun car to drive for not a lot of cost.

    C7: great car, I am still not convinced of the styling. I would bet I will own one at some point probably 10 years from now when the price is into what I consider normal territory.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      C2 is timeless. Only the greenhouse shows its age/era. Give it flush side windows and steeper windshield, it would fit right in today’s mix.

    • 0 avatar
      Morgan

      Just got a C6 Z06 with 7000 miles on it. I’m going to fix that with autocross and track days.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Morgan…you rest my case. Enjoy.

        It would make a great TTAC posting after you have had some wheel time. I can’t think of a better out of the box track car than a 8 to 10 year old Z06. Especially if it was purchased from usual old duffer who no longer has the knees to get in and out of it. You know the car has been ridiculously maintained and under used.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Realistically, C6 but would prefer C7. Everything else is a headache or out of reach, although a C2 427 would tickle my fancy. C4 and 5 command too high of valuations to be worth messing with IMO.

    Any C4 at this point is going to need seals and fluids, also probably lines underneath. So if C4 purchased you’re going to have 8-15K in a car worth… 8 tops unless its a unicorn. Everyone thinks their Corvette is valuable but of course it’s not 90% of the time. I especially love the L98s (TBI) pre L98s on CL.

    Like this MY84 for 6,2… which came with the goofy cross fire FI. Headache.

    https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/corvette-1984-c4-trades/6405180654.html

    Another MY84, 6,1… are these somehow collectible? Doubt it.

    https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/1984-corvette/6431498431.html

    Were these free during the Reagan era? Ugly ground effects kit, 5,9 firm.

    https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/1984-corvette-ground-effects/6383776524.html

    89 L98 for 7,5? Really?

    https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/1989-chevy-corvette/6393357783.html

    MY96 for 10,9. Decent year, but t-tops vs conv and 106K? Was I born yesterday sir? This is the kind of thing I see from mid 50s retired-at-39-muni-worker-jag-offs and it just p!sses me off.

    https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/corvette-1996-black-black/6430561635.html

    Every C4 above, just subtract 30% right off the bat. Jeebus.

    MY01 17,0. A later C6 might trade for around 30 and won’t have GWB era electronics. Looks clean though, low miles.

    BASE MMR $9,500
    ADJUSTED MMR $14,850

    So buy it for 15 but then as I said, wearables and the roof prob needs done.

    So you’re at least 17 in an MY01?

    MY11 Corvette C6 CONV 3LT – BASE MMR $25,200. Range 21,5-28,9.

    Why be 17 into the C5 when I can be say 27-30 in a C6? Buy the payment on this one.

    https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/corvette-cmiles/6412384871.html

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Additional, I’d really like a convertible even though those make absolutely no sense in this region and I’d have to bump one of my current three bc of driveway space. I’d really like the Lex SC430 (or could be persuaded into an SC400) but those things gawd-damn are pricy in any year or config. Thus the C4 CONV for 3,5 or whatever to fart around in might work (L98 is ok), but then again you’re in it for price + recon, and deal with Reagan/Clinton era electronics/build quality to then sell it to who? I could spend 8-10 on a cleanish SC430 and be in a lot better shape. My blue-collar-buy-union-the-future-is-bright upbringing in what used to be America will be the death of my finances.

      Additional: Same thing with Reatta or Allante as the conv. Feels right given my mental disorders but then the tap on the shoulder, like really 28, really?

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        The convertible thing KILLS me.

        I love the convertibles even though I live in a snowy area, but my life stress comes out when it comes to tracking them, as well as the performance loss. I know the C6 and c7 have little performance loss on the convertible because of rigifity, but convertibles are a tough fit on the race track. If you want to put a C7 to what its best for, and run it hard on a track for example, you really don’t want the convertible. Many race classes won’t even let you run it, or require the roll bars.

        The C4 is the worst of both worlds. The convertible lost a lot of rigidity, and therefore loses a lot of handling prowess. In addition, you can’t really race the convertibles… But I do like them ;) Just makes for a tough life challenge.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I had a C7 Conv in Vegas two years back, I did not track it but on 15 drove her hard through the desert and she felt great. Then again, this isn’t even close to doing regular laps. Also didn’t know about C4’s loss of rigidity coupe vs conv.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Huge disclaimer: Haven’t driven either. But didn’t the C4 convertibles actually get some bracing that, realistically, ALL C4’s should’ve had? (I’m not sure about the higher-performance subvariants, but haven’t all “basic” Corvettes from the C4 onward been either targas or convertibles? There hasn’t really been a fixed roof option.)

            In the C&D videos I linked above, GM’s Tadge Juechter repeats the rumor that the C4 initially was designed to have a T-top, only to have higher-ups insist it have a targa top. As a result, none of the C4’s were particularly rigid. My guess is that a coupe with its roof panel in place is more rigid than a convertible but that the convertible is more rigid than the coupe if its roof panel is out.

            I believe there may some aftermarket kits to lock the C4’s roof panel firmly in place to make it structurally more like a fixed roof car.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Nice post.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Corey, help me out with this C4 thing. I had several friends get 84-86 models back when new. Upon entering the vehicles, I was awestruck at how Chevy had managed to create an interior even chintzier than my base Cavalier of the same vintage. Maybe it was because they sunk the entire interior budget into the flickering disaster of a digital instrument panel. Then they’d turn the key, and two things would strike the observer: 1) the pedestrian sound of the 350, an engine which I treasure for its cost and reliability (at the time, folks!) but that failed to differentiate the car from a million other Chevy sedans and trucks of the prior decade, and 2) the cacophony of rattles erupting from every.single.component of the Playskool interior. We’d then start moving, a painful exercise due to this being the apotheosis of the ‘skidpad rating no matter what’ era, in which GM apparently thought that eliminating suspension travel somehow improved performance, because a nice flat skidpad G rating told all. In practice, this gave my friends a car that knocked fillings loose over every road imperfection, while skittering instead of gripping in real world cornering. I’m telling ya, I just don’t get the love.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Then, I suppose it was just the 70s hangover as the C3 wasn’t much different in terms of handling. Today, I think its just like Panther Love: reliable drivetrain, a ka-jillion examples, friendly to DIY. Who really tracks these things anymore too? Just a summer cruiser at this point.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The C3 was vastly inferior to the C4 in terms of handling – the latter made INCREDIBLE numbers on a skidpad. Unfortunately, it also excelled at making life miserable for its’ owner anywhere but a track.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m reaching back many years but I don’t remember much of a difference, bearing in mind both were decades plus old when I drove them. Perhaps new shocks/suspension it would be more noticeable.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            There are still instrumented tests from that era out there – C4 definitely represented a very large increase in overall capability. If I recall correctly, it actually set C/D’s record for roadholding capability at the time.

            Much of that was due to the huge, uni-directional tires, which were state of the art for that era.

            (Worth noting: a current Golf manual could run with the ’84 C4 to 60…the good old days weren’t always good.)

    • 0 avatar

      For me it’s the looks, and the colors. I love the wheels and general styling, and the later ones had (I believe) improved interiors free of some of the digital screen stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Interiors on the later C4s were improved, but they were far from good. They got rid of the exploding scoreboard nonsense, but the updated gauge cluster was AWFUL (see below), and the rest of the interior was pure ’90s GM craptastic.

        http://www.corvettemaster.com/96ce/cevette_22.jpg

        Seriously, that could have been pulled directly from a Cavalier.

        Any of the ‘Vette’s competitors in this era had dramatically better interiors.

        • 0 avatar

          Oh man I didn’t get a closeup pic before, and I assumed the big dial on the left was the speedo. I didn’t realize it was agent orange in the middle.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            That’s Pontiac Orange to the rest of us…

            And the tach didn’t even have a redline. Apparently red ink costs more.

            Compare that to a Supra from the same time…

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Supra#/media/File:MKIV_Cockpit.JPG

          • 0 avatar

            95 Supra, now there’s an investment. 300ZX was also superior in the interior department to this.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Ditto for the RX-7.

            Hard to find examples of any of those cars that haven’t gotten the full Dom Toretto treatment anymore, which is unfortunate.

  • avatar
    arach

    I’m in disbelief how much I disagree with Everyone!!

    Best to worst:

    C7, C5, C4, C3, C6, C1, C2

    How anyone could ever even look at a C2, I’ll never understand… and how people aren’t mesmerized by the C7, I’ll never understand… I did have a tough time between C4 and C3 though, and they could easily be rearranged.

    Best is definitely the C7. Its the first corvette I ever felt like I’d rather have over a Ferrari or Lambo.

    The C6 is ugly and lame. I really don’t like it.

    The C5 is one of the best looking vettes, and was ahead of its time design wise. It was really nice.

    The C4 was revolutionary and changed the sports car game. Its the only other generation where I felt like the Europeans had real competition from an American.

    The C3 looks beautiful and is the best looking corvette ever made… but they are boring to drive.

    The C2 looks goofy as heck and I’d never want to drive one. It doesn’t look sporty, it doesn’t look cool, I’d rather drive a pinto. It doesn’t handle well, and doesn’t perform well, and I would never want one.

    C1 Corvettes are an ode to a lame time. They look kind of cool, but they don’t look sporty. They have nostalgia but thats about it. Give me 25 cars and I’d love for one of these to sit in my garage, but don’t make me drive it.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Can’t rank them objectively as I owned only one. A new C4, Stingray (last year for that badge), manual transmission, T- roof and L-82 package.

    Metallic green with gold flake. The rarest paint combination.

    The think rattled like crazy, hated driving it in the rain in the summer because the air vents brought in air heated by the engine due to their routing, the rear window defog button was located halfway down the transmission tunnel, the seats were cheap, flat vinyl, the car was too narrow so when driving to and from the gym with my training partner I could hardly shift.

    Also GM for years had a flawed design with their tilt/telescoping steering wheels. You need only take a pair of vice grips to the ignition switch and it would strip and thereafter you could start the vehicle without the ignition key by just turning the switch.

    The worst experience was when I had to boost it. The battery was located behind the drivers seat. But you had to depress the clutch to start the engine. With the drivers seatback pushed forward to access the battery?

    It was probably slower than a current Accord/Camry. And I lost enough ‘points’ driving it, that I eventually sold it for a T-Bird.

    However, it certainly caught the attention of the opposite sex and that was the major reason that I bought it.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      I believe you mean C3, as that sounds like a 1976?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Darn, You’re correct a C-3 and you nailed they year, 1976.

        Typing and talking at the same time, which I should not do.

        And could not log back in to edit. Having problems with the TTAC site today, is anyone else experiencing it?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Dated a girl in college who had a ‘Vette from that era…at one point the passenger door fell off of it.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        On the driver’s side front fender there was a key ‘hole’ that was used to turn the car alarm system on or off.

        Unfortunately if a large vehicle drove too close the vibrations would often set off the alarm.

        Did love the pop up headlights. Remember seeing them advertised when GM unveiled the first generation ‘Vette to have them on Bonanza. For many years the first time most consumers got to see the new Chevs was on the first episode each season of Bonanza on a Sunday evening.

        The C2, Camaro and Caprice were all I believe introduced to the general public in this manner.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Not a car I’d own, but I have respect for. The two I like best, and could most actually afford, are opposite ends of the spectrum. I actually like late C3’s because of not in spite of their slow Broughamy awfulness. Gimme two-toned paint, white letter tires, T-tops and color-keyed shag carpeting and disco or Van Halen on the tape deck. To me it’s just about a certain time and place. On the other hand, the early C4 is clean and minimalist. If only the interior could be made tolerable.

  • avatar

    As the actual owner of a 2008 C6, I guess that would be my first choice. I really like the clean styling (yes, it is subjective), the still-crazy-after-10-years performance (faster than a Ferrari F40 but with power windows and a/c) and the reliability. It is a terrific car for very long trips. If, on the other hand, you are going for style over practicality I would have to choose the original 1963-1968 Stingray, a truly iconic car. So here is my order:

    C6 (particularly the Z06 or ZR1 variants, but even the base model LS3 is very good)
    C2 (it must have been a truly amazing thing in 1963)
    C7 (dramatic road presence, better interior)
    C1 (classic styling, albeit with really lousy build quality and not very good handling)
    C5 (kind of a dry-run C6, with 9 inches of extra length for no reason and a boring rear)
    C4 (the ZR-1 or Callaway Turbo only, to make up for all the other shortcomings such as the cramped interior and weird instrument panel)
    C3 (chrome bumper models only, maybe–a car that outlived its time by a decade but sold so well GM saw no need to improve it)

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I agree with spookiness in that the Corvette isn’t really my car, but I do have respect for it.

    That said, based on style:
    C1, C6, C7, C5.

    That is all.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s a different take on the same question: what’s the best-looking Corvette?

    Answer: ’63 split window coupe. In silver. Not only the best looking ‘Vette ever, probably the best looking American car ever.

    (drops mike)

    The rest, in order:
    2) C3 (’68-’72, in particular)
    3) C1 (’60-’62 deserves special mention)
    4) C4
    5) C6
    6) C7 (as great as it is, I don’t really dig its’ looks that much)
    7) C5 (can’t abide by that butt)

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Funnily enough, I think one of the ’63 Corvette’s competitors for best looking American car ever was from the same parent company and in the same year: the Buick Riviera. (I actually think the fixed-headlight ’63s and ’64s look better than the ’65s. I think the clam shell headlights always were part of the design, but they couldn’t get the mechanism working well enough for mass production until ’65.)

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I don’t think you’re being funny at all…the Riv would make my short list as well (I’ll disagree with you on the exposed-headlight question, though – I think it looks better without them).

        And both the Stingray and Riv were done either directly or indirectly by Bill Mitchell.

        So much good stuff came out of GM styling in the ’60s.

  • avatar
    tommytipover

    C4 -was a teen in the eighties, that’s when the Corvette stopped being lame
    C6 -the best looking
    C7 -probably the best ‘vette, just a little too funny looking for me
    C5 -better car than the C4 but those teenage longings…
    C3
    C2
    C1 -they got better each generation, but the malaise era C3 really hurt the brand.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    C7
    C6
    C5
    C4
    Early C3
    C2
    C1
    Late C3

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    I love the C4 and I don’t care who knows about it!

    Especially the C4 Callaway

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Best Looking:
    C2 – 67 is my favorite, followed by 65-66.
    C1 – 57 is my favorite, followed by 61-62.
    C7 – reminds me of the 63 C2 – a little over-decorated, but grows on me.
    doesn’t matter after that.

    Most Ground-Breaking for its Time:
    C2 – 4 wheel independent suspension, fuel injection, knock off alloys, A/C, PS, PB all available in 1963 – NOBODY ELSE at any price offered anything close.
    C7 – arguably the most advanced vehicle in the world for under $500K.
    C5 – much of the C6 and C7 is based on the C5 architecture – all offer awesome performance for the money.

  • avatar
    Mike G

    The pit has to be the 1980 California-only emissions-choked 305 cu. in. C3 featuring a neck-snapping 180hp.

  • avatar
    raph

    Hmmm…

    C6, C3, C2, C7, C4, C5, C1

    The C6 to me at last offered the best combination of value, performance, and style. Especially the Z06 and that big cube LS V8 and the C3 is my go to musclecar era vette especially the L88 fitted with a set of long tubes and side pipes sans heat shields.

    Everything else just doesnt really resonate with me. The current Corvette improves the breed in every way but just doesnt seem that special, especially since GM decided to go with a supercharged V8 for the current Z06 (which I suspect indicates the venerable OHV pushrood engine is fast running up against a wall and the big gains in performance just arent there anymore in OE naturally aspirated form).

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Corey, idea for QOTD (if it hasn’t been done and I either missed it or forgot it):

    What discontinued vehicle deserves a reboot today?

    With the Bronco, Ranger and Wagoneer coming back, the Charger and Camaro successfully being back on the market, what other no-longer-in-production vehicle needs a rebirth? Sorry, AMX fans, it needs to be from a company/marque that’s currently alive. (Gotta give them at least one rule to break, lol.)

    With the Accord coupe gone, the Prelude seems like a natural. No, it won’t sell very well, but it would do well for Honda’s image, IMO, giving people who find the Type R too immature, the sedan-only Accord too sedate and the NSX too expensive. Needs to be a true coupe, no clamshell doors, nor a slinky “4 door coupe”, just two doors, period.

    Another? Chevy K5 Blazer. Based on the new Silverado, branch it off the next-gen Tahoe. Tahoe K5? Oh, and tone down the styling a bit. Better yet, just do a GMC version.

    So long as we’re really dreaming, how about a ILX-replacing Acura Integra? A slightly larger, more upscale version of the Civic, sedan and coupe (3 door hatch?). Given the choice, I’d honestly rather see the Prelude reborn, though.

    Should make for an interesting discussion.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember doing one about resurrecting a dead brand. Looks like Chris Tonn did one about dead models in 2016. https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/12/qotd-what-dead-model-would-you-resurrect/

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Well, I must have forgotten. Oh well.

        I remember the resurrected brand, and when you did another generation of discontinued car from the time it was discontinued, but I didn’t recall Chris’s article.

  • avatar
    Syke

    C1, C4, C5, C2, C3, C6, C7

    Will always love the solid axle models. My first memory as a child (age 3) was dad bringing the first one home from the dealership. Gave mom a ride in it, gave me a ride in it, then promptly traded it to Grabiak Chevrolet in New Alexandria, PA for two Bel Air hardtops. Thought it was the stupidist car Chevrolet had ever made. Twenty years later, found the car again. The four year story of trying to buy it was a nightmare.

    I adore the C4’s. Have been looking for a nice one with manual (yes, I’ll ever take the early 4-speed) with no luck. Am convinced that real Corvette afficianados drive manuals, those who own automatics are just looking for a toy for a few years, then sell it off to the next guy. May start looking for a C5, like them almost as much as they’re dropping into my price range.

    Still remember the C2’s showing up at dad’s dealership. I love them – as long as they’re small blocks. Hate big block Vette’s with a passion.

    The other models? Nice, but don’t terribly turn me on. Still trying to get used to the looks on the C7.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    C2 and don’t care about any of the rest of them at all.

  • avatar

    C2, C7, 58/9 C1 based on looks alone. As a kid I always thought having a 66 fastback in purple would be cool. The others do not excite me as much, but if you want to give me one to drive I wouldn’t refuse. Thanks for doing the article Corey.

  • avatar
    MBella

    Based on styling I would rate them C7, C4 (more C4 love) Dual headlight C1, C2, Original C1, C3, C6, C5. I like Corvettes in general though. Really the C5 is the only one I haven’t been Crazy about as far as styling.

  • avatar
    anthony taylor

    Okay, I will have to say I think the c2 is totally overrated, I call it a bandwagon car, of which everyone is on board these days.It’s ugly.I’m a vette owner for over 30 years and no one knew of the c2 (some) until mecum.Just like a 57 chevy vs a 55.The 55 looks much better. With that said. Paint the C3 (early) any color, and it will look good. (that’s the way you can tell a beautiful car. 68-72 are the most the beautiful times with cars and Yes corvettes People fell into this category. Yes the c2 is a classic but if it had been made by AMC (or) mopar “the barracuda) 66 it’s kinda look a like then it would not of been as popular. Let the stones began.C3 68-72,C1 late 57-62)I will say they (corvettes) all are,however, are a piece of art work.

  • avatar
    wintermutt

    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).

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    1: C2, because rolling sex

    2: C4, because affordability

    3: C7,

    4: C6,

    5: C5,

    6: C3,

    7: C1.


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