There is something incredibly American about seeing a sexy Corvette driving down the road. It’s the car that dreams were built on, that spawned an entire library of books, covered the walls of every American teenagers room and garage with big glossy posters and pictures, and has kept car enthusiasts enthused for decades. It’s an American icon. Over the last 65 years, the Corvette has gone through some changes and some different variations, but it’s still the same car we know and love. In fact, the 2018 model debuted the Carbon 65 edition that was aptly named to celebrate its long 65-year history.

In fact over the last 65 years, Chevrolet has built over 1.3 million Corvettes that have spanned a whopping 6 different generations. Most of them have been hands-down winners, and a few of them- well let’s just say a few of them weren’t so great. But more often than not, the Chevrolet Corvette was a good and powerfull car. The Corvette made it’s big debut back in 1953 and rolled onto the scene as a pretty little hand-built white, or “polo” white convertible that boasted a fancy “sportsman red” interior. While it turned plenty of heads for it’s stylish design, it didn’t get rave reviews about its power. It had a small 6-cylinder 235 cubic inch inline under the hood and just couldn’t give anyone that rush of power they wanted. It didn’t take long for the Corvette to fix that problem and in 1955 they added a lot of horse power and a great V8 and have pretty much followed that classic formula ever since with all of their models. There have been some rumors though that the next version of the car was going to ditch the classic front end design and go with a mid-engine. Whether or not they do that remains to be seen, but for now we can look back on some of our favorite designs and most of them luckily still have their V8’s right up front where we like them.

There are all sorts of lists we could have come up with that included fancy Corvettes of the 1970’s road racers, or even the Le Mans winners like the C5R’s and C6R’s, but we wanted to keep this particular list full of only the regular production Corvettes that were available to the public, other wise we probably would have added the Corvette Summer movie car that was the custom right-hand-drive machine that became so famous. So without further ado, let’s jump into our list of some of our favorite Corvette’s of all time, which are listed in no particular order. 

  • 1970 Corvette LT-1- this little LT-1 caught everyone off guard when it came out because it had 370-horsepower, 350-cubic inch small-block V8. This car offered the best combination of lightweight and power. The big players at the time were the huge big-block 454 and 427-cubic inch. Did we say 370 horsepower? That’s what it was rated at, but it was a total understatement. It boasted an 11.0:1 compression ratio, carbureted four-barrel engine which put out closer to 400 horse power and was the same engine that was used in that years Camaro Z/28. It only lasted until 1971 when the horse power actually did drop to about 330 horsepower because of emissions regulations and unleaded and low-lead gasoline caused the compression ratios to drop by quite a bit. In fact, the last LT-1 that was built for 1972 only claimed 255 horsepower; Chevy was caught in the oil crisis of 1972 like everyone else was so they were required to downsize power figures and engine size for the sake of fuel economy. So you definitely wanted the 1970 version. The 1970 LT-1 ran a quarter mile at 101.69 miles per hour in 14.36 seconds.
  • 1955 Corvette V8-Even though the car debuted back in 1953, it wasn’t until 1955 that the Corvette added a V8 engine, and that’s when the Corvette really solidified it’s status as a sports car legend. It was equipped with a three-speed manual transmission and a small-block 265-cubic inch engine that was rated at 195-horse power as an option. The old inline provided an 11 second 0-60 mph, but the V8 could go 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. While this wasn’t the fastest Corvette that was ever built, it was the model that made everyone realize that fast Corvettes were even possible. They also had a new sleek fiberglass body, which paired nicely with the upgraded performance. The style of the car didn’t differ all that much from the 1953 or 1954.
  • Any true American car collector can probably tell you all about the 1963 split-rear window fuel-injected Corvette Stingray Coupe. Not only is it one of the best looking American collectible cars of all time, they are becoming increasingly hard to find because they were only offered for one year in 1963. This is an iconic design that sits as the Holy Grail for Corvettes. It has a shark like mouth that was both aggressive, and beautiful, a tapered tail, sharp-lined fender shapes, and the first fixed-roof, split window designed Corvette ever. They only made the split window design for one year because of visibility issues so shortly after; they dropped the design. This particular model set the standard for all models that came after it. But it’s not just the look of the 1963 that makes it so alluring. This Corvette came with a highly developed 360-horse power “L84” 327 cubic inch small blocked V8. It was also capped with a mechanical fuel injection. You could also opt for a Z06 option that had a stiffer suspension instead. Either way, this model handled better and came with all-new independent rear suspension that incorporated transverse leaf springs that instantly made this model competitive with any of the other sports cars of the time that were racing on or off the track. These truly are magnificent cars. We talked to a car collector that has a 1963 Stingray Coupe and when we asked him what his secret was for keeping his car in pristine condition, he told us two things. One, he never takes it out or drives it in anything other than the perfect weather conditions. Two, he in said he invested in a significantly well-made chevy corvette car cover and he never, ever leaves it uncovered. He said the car cover was the best investment he made as far as protecting his car and keeping it nice. So there you have it. Straight from the mouth of a self-described car fanatic.
  • 1990 ZR-1 Corvette- This car was one of the fastest performance cars in it’s day. It could do a quarter mile in 13.0 seconds at over 117 miles per hour and could go from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. It had 125 more horsepower than the base model and could go 60-100 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds. Remember, this was 1990 so that was pretty impressive. It boasted a Lotus-designed aluminum V8, 375-horse power Mercury-Marine built engine. This was also the only factory Corvette that was not powered by an overhead-valve engine. This is the model that was credited with saving the whole brand after they had had a rough stretch through the 70’s and 80’s for being underpowered. They even dropped in value for a while, but these cars today are worth a pretty penny and are being snatched up by collectors all over the world. These aren’t the prettiest Corvettes that were ever made, unless you love the old digital dashboards and 80’s lines and angles. But it’s still one of the most classic 80’s American performance cars that there are.
  • 2017 Grand Sport Corvette- Who needs a supercharger? This is arguably the best-driving Corvette ever and takes a nod from the original Grand Sport that was a racecar that was built with the purpose of tearing up the track. The super charged Z06 C7 was ridiculously fast with 650 horsepower and a 0-60 time of three seconds, however, there were problems that continued to plague the supercharged version of the Corvette, so instead we picked on the Grand Sport. The Grand Sport doesn’t come with all of the problems that plagued the Z06, but still keep the awesome body of the Z06 and added some awesome additional options and racing stripes that made it look oh-so-pretty. It also bumped up the C7 Stingray by adding 5 more horsepower to bring it to 460. It boasted 1.2g of cornering force, quarter mile time of 11.8 seconds and can go 0-60 in 3.6 seconds. Not only that but there are carbon fiber panels, Michelin tires and an upgraded suspension and brakes. We will take this version of the Corvette any day.
  • 1967 Corvette 427 L88- This car is known for it’s aggressive and vicious start and idle thanks to its big Holley 850 carburetor. It’s got a pretty purr and you can feel the heat that wafts from the exhaust. There were few Corvettes that have been as aggressive as the L88, even though there have been faster models. Corvette officially rated the L88 engine at 430-horse power, but that was underrated. Most observers casually noted that it was doing at least 550-horse power. That was thanks to the aluminum heads that capped the iron combustion chambers that were running a startling 12.5:2 compression ratio on the big block V8, 427 cubic inch engine. In fact the engine came with a label on it that read "Warning: Vehicle must operate on fuel having a minimum of 103 research octane and 95 motor octane or engine damage may result." If you want one of these, good luck finding one. Only 20 of these L88 supercars were made. They may have been race-ready and equipped with all of the best functions and features that General Motors could offer in 1967- however, they didn’t come with a defroster or a heater. How could they have missed such basic features? Lame.
  • 1953 Corvette- We can’t forget to add the first ever Corvette to our list. It’s the car that got them all started. It was debuted on January 17, 1953 in New York City at the GM Motorama. The audience immediately fell in love with it and it became a hit. It had the old inline-6, 150 horsepower engine that had been around since 1941 and was used in the Chevy “Stovebolt” although it was slightly tweaked for the Corvette. It wasn’t particularly fast or ahead of its time as far as the mechanics are concerned. It came with the same suspension that were on the other Chevy sedans and had a two-speed transmission. However, there was something about the robust fiberglass body that made this little two-seater so captivating. It didn’t look fragile, European or spindly looking like all of the other popular sports cars at the time. Based on the crowd’s reaction to the Corvette, Chevy knew they were on to something and they immediately ordered them into production. All of the Corvettes were painted “Polo White” and 300 of them were made. It was a good start for the Corvette, and they haven’t slowed down since.
  • 2009 ZR-1 Corvette- This was the first supercharged Corvette in history and actually earned the name of “Blue Devil” amongst the insiders are GM. It was the fastest racecar at the time. The ZR-1 returned in 2009 after a 14-year absence and came with 638 horsepower, a 6.2 liter Supercharged V8 and put up some crazy performance numbers. It could go a quarter mile in 11.5 seconds at 128.3 miles per hour, and 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. It also came with a massive set of tires that allowed it to stick on a skid pad beyond the force of gravity. While this car didn’t totally hold up in build quality or refinement, it certainly could hold it’s own on the track and was one of the best supercars on the market at the time. It had a top speed of 205 miles per hour and was the first factory supercharged Corvette engine in history, which was quite an achievement. It was also a pretty functional car. You could race it around the racetrack on the weekend, or use it as a commuter car during the workweek. It was produced until the first part of 2013 and was still winning comparison tests even up until the last one was made. It was also the first factory Corvette that came with a six-figure price tag.
  • 1984 C4 Corvette- the 1980’s were not a great decade for Corvettes in general. Corvette had pretty much had the same C3 generation that had debuted back in 1968 and they were losing luster and just couldn’t compete with Ferraris or Porsches anymore. Chevy knew it was time for an overhaul and something that could put the Corvette back on the radar and make it a real sports car again. That’s when they debuted the C4. They took the old soft lines of the C3 and radically changed the appearance to make the lines sharp and aggressive. They put in a digital dashboard that lit up, massive 16-inch Goodyear Gatorback directional rubber wheels, and a big clamshell hood that opened and exposed gorgeous cast-aluminum suspension links and the engine. The suspension tuned pretty stiff, and the cross-fire injection version of the engine was really just a version of the 5.7 liter small-block V8 and only made 205 horsepower which initially held the C4 back a little, but this new Corvette did become an instant winner in showroom stock racing. It could still beat some of the Porsches on the market and it re-established itself as a true sports car.
  • We can’t forget the Corvette 2002 Z06- The Z06 was first introduced in 2001 and was quickly named the most track-capable Corvette ever made. It had lightweight components, customer sticky Goodyear tires, better suspension and a more powerful engine. What made this supercar different than all the others is that it was a performance bargain. The Corvette in the late 90’s and early 2000’s did its job in bringing the Corvette into the modern era with refined interiors, more power and better, smoother styling. The C5 hit the market in 2002 and could go 0/60 in 3.9 seconds with it’s LS6 V8 5.7 liter engine that put out 385 horse power, and then 405 horsepower starting in the years after 2002.
  • 1957 Fuel Injection Corvette- The 1957 model offered mechanical fuel injection and became one of the most fuel efficient engines of the time due to it’s ability to distribute the fuel precisely. It had a 283-cubic inch small block V8 and boasted 283 horsepower. It had a 1 hp per cubic inch, during a time when most engines were only half that efficient. It quickly became an iconic system and Chevrolet built 6,338 Corvettes in 1957 but only 1,040 of them had the Ramjet Fuel Injection system. This Corvette ran 0-60 miles per hour in 5.7 seconds, according to Road &Track, which is still pretty good today, running the fuel injection and a 4.11:1 rear gear set.

Love them or hate them, Corvettes probably aren’t going anywhere any time soon. We love them. They are modern supercars that are a more affordable option for most people who want to feel the rush of driving a high performance vehicle but don’t want to shell out the kind of cash that’s required for some of the competing super cars. They are sleek, sexy, well made and American, through and through.