The Corvette is a sports car manufactured by the Chevrolet division of General Motors. The first 1953 model of the car was originally manufactured in Flint, Michigan with the current models now being built in Bowling Green, Kentucky. There are eight distinct generations of the car’s design. The first models were designated as the C1 while the current cars are called C8.
The Corvette has a long history of providing performance in its two-seat passenger package. Originally powered with a 150-horsepower three-carb inline-six cylinder engine in 1953, the 2021 Corvette Stingray now sports a 6.2L V8 mid-engine with up to 495-horsepower which can achieve 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds.
First Generation C1
Drawn by legendary car designer Harley Earl, the C1 Corvette drew inspiration from numerous sources. Earl wanted to create a true American sports car. Earl's styling is tight and compact and features sweeping lines that run from the headlights over the rear fenders, white-walled wheels, taillights that protrude in classic 1950's styling, and a unique chrome grille. Instead of a steel body, GM used fiberglass to shape the C1 Corvette.
Another notable member of the C1 team was Zora Arkus-Duntov, the head Corvette engineer and commonly referred to as the 'Father of the Corvette.' Duntov joined the team after seeing the original car at the Motorama event, and he became the man responsible for many of the car's innovations.
Second Generation C2
The C2 Corvette featured a long nose and a short back. The C2 Corvette featured folding pop-up headlights. The 1963 Sting Ray came standard with 250 horsepower.
Third Generation C3
Engines and chassis components for the C3 Corvette were mostly carried over from the previous generation, but the body and interior were new. The chassis was carried over from the second generation models, retaining the fully independent suspension and the four-wheel disc brake system.
Fourth Generation C4
The primary design emphasis at launch of the C4 Corvette was focused on handling and braking, with an all-independent light-weight suspension and wheels and all new brakes with aluminum calipers. The front suspension saw the C3's coil springs replaced by a transverse fiberglass mono-leaf spring.
Fifth Generation C5
A major change from its predecessor the C5 Corvette has a hydroformed box frame, a design that offered an improved structural platform, especially for a convertible bodystyle. To improve handling, the transmission was relocated to form an integrated, rear-mounted transaxle assembly. Connected to the all-new LS1 engine via a torque tube, the engine/transmission arrangement enabled a 50-50% front-rear weight distribution. The LS1 engine initially produced 345 horsepower.
Sixth Generation C6
The C6 Corvette featured new bodywork with exposed headlamps, revised suspension geometry, and a larger passenger compartment. Like the C5, the Corvette C6's suspension consisted of independent unequal-length double wishbones with transverse fiberglass mono-leaf springs and optional magnetorheological dampers. Beginning with the 2008 model year, the C6 Corvette received a new engine, the LS3 with 430 horsepower.
Seventh Generation C7
Mid-engine and rear-engine layouts had been considered for the C7 Corvette, but the front-engine, rear-wheel drive (RWD) platform was chosen to keep costs lower. The car's designers incorporated aggressive angular elements which was a radical departure from the prior generations of Corvettes. The C7's all-new LT1 6.2L Small Block V-8 engine develops 455 horsepower, which can accelerate the car from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds. The C7's suspension consists of independent unequal-length double wishbones with transverse fiberglass mono-leaf springs and optional magnetorheological dampers, similar to its predecessor.
Eight Generation C8
Chevrolet fulfilled the long-term promise of the iconic Corvette with the introduction of the C8 Stingray, the brand’s first-ever production mid-engine Corvette. The C8 Stingray was re-imagined to bring customers new levels of performance, technology, craftsmanship and luxury. The Stingray uses a new version of the LS-based GM small-block engine derived from the C7 Stingray's LT1.