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7 generations of Corvettes

Open Road

7 generations of CorvettesThe Chevrolet Corvette has been thrilling drivers since 1953. Chevrolet is introducing the seventh generation of this legend in the 2014 model year. From 1963 to 1967, the Corvette Sting Ray was spelled with two words. It became the Stingray from 1969 through 1976. In 2014, this model is returning to the original Sting Ray spelling. To fully appreciate the Corvette, look at a brief history of where this vehicle began.

First Generation 1953 to 1962
Chevrolet introduced the first generation of the Corvette in 1953. General Motors only produced 300 of this first edition masterpiece. The body was fiberglass and the vehicle was designed as a concept car. The engine produced 150 horsepower and used a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. In 1958, the Corvette, designed by Chuck Jordan, featured dual headlights and twin chrome spears on the trunk.

Second Generation 1963 to 1967
The second series of the Corvette began in 1963 with the Sting Ray. This generation introduced the independent rear suspension. One of the most rare Corvettes was produced in 1963. Only one Z06 convertible was factory manufactured. In 1965, Chevrolet produced 771 engines with fuel injection. In 1967, owners could have a 427 cubic inch engine that delivered 435 horsepower.

Third Generation 1968 to 1982
The third series started in 1968 and continued to 1982. The highest year for sales of Corvettes was in 1979 with 58,307 vehicles sold. While the engine and chassis design was similar to the second generation, a 350 cu. in. engine replaced the 327 cu. in. model. In 1969, the ZL1 engine was all aluminum. This big-block model was said to offer 430 hp but achieved up to 560 hp.

Fourth Generation 1984 to 1996
C4 brought a complete redesign to the Corvette. No 1983 models were available to the public, less than 50 were produced. The prototypes were destroyed or redesigned, one remains at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. The 1984 version used a 5.7-liter V8 engine. In 1985, fuel injection returned with the L98 engine.

Fifth Generation 1997 to 2004
In 1997, Chevrolet began the fifth generation of the Corvette. This vehicle was larger but 100 pounds lighter than fourth generation models. It also introduced a sexy-curvy design. C5 introduced the LS1 small block engine.

Sixth Generation 2005 to 2013
The 2006 Z06 featured a 7.0-liter, 427.6 cu. in. engine that produces 505 hp and tops out at 198 mph. A new buyer experience began in 2011, buyers of the Z06 and ZR1 had the opportunity to travel to Michigan and participate in building their own V8 engine. Interestingly enough, the 2010 Grand Sport gets 26 mpg on the highway. Power can be combined with reasonable fuel efficiency. The last of the sixth generation Corvettes was produced in in February 2013.

Seventh Generation 2014
The 2014 Corvette Stingray hits the road with 450 horsepower and goes from zero-to-60 in under four seconds. While this seventh generation of the iconic Corvette starts in the 2014 model year, when it ends is up to Chevrolet. If you have never experienced a Corvette, you really do need to stop drooling and test drive one today.

Content by Barbara L Baird.