Few automobiles stir as much passion in their owners and fans as the Chevrolet Corvette. America’s pride for more than 50 years, the Corvette is as desirable today as ever and is packed with more heart-pounding performance than at any point in its storied past.
And what a past! The pictures on the following pages bring to life the Fifties dream machine that grew into a world leader in speed, style, and sophistication. These photos follow every generation of Corvette and celebrate top examples of important models for each.
The first-generation Corvette stumbled coming out of the gate. Expectations were largely unfulfilled, reviews were mixed, and sales fell short of expectations in the car's early years. The project was nearly canceled, but the style and grace of the model, along with an innovative V-8 engine, helped Chevrolet ultimately stay the course and transform the Corvette into a true world-class sports car. The 1958 Corvette, in particular, ushered in a period of record sales that assured Corvette's place in the Chevy lineup.
When the first Corvette rolled out in 1953, the idea of the sports car
hadn't yet caught on with most Americans.
The second-generation Corvette, known as the Sting Ray, was virtually new from road to roof and stunned the automotive world in 1963. The Sting Ray was more sophisticated than any previous Corvette, blending world-class handling with unmistakable all-American style and performance. It had a great five-year run that many still regard as the high point of Corvette history.
The grace and style of the Sting Ray, introduced in 1963,
gave Corvette an instant classic.
In 1968, the third-generation Corvette bowed. The so-called Shark carried on through war, civil unrest, burgeoning federal safety guidelines, fuel economy and pollution regulations, oil embargoes, rising fuel and insurance costs, runaway inflation, and a lingering recession. Despite these challenges, Corvette prospered through the period, even retaining its same basic form for an amazing 15 years.
The Corvette was once again fully redesigned in 1984. The fourth-generation was more sophisticated and practical than the beloved C3 Shark, yet every inch a Corvette, with style and sizzle. Like previous generations, the C4 only got better with time. Enthusiasts cheered the return of the convertible, and the high-performance ZR-1, nicknamed the "King of the Hill," raised excitement to a new level. It was a true supercar that could run with most exotic sports cars in the world.
The sleek fourth-generation Corvette wowed critics and buyers,
proving that Corvette was truly "America's sports car."
In 1997, Corvette introduced its fifth generation, a completely new model that was hailed as the best Corvette to date. Though it had a big image to live up to, the C5 steadily improved with each year. Changes made the body sleeker, the interior more comfortable and user-friendly, and the overall package a thrill for drivers.
The thrilling C5 Corvette featured curvier styling, a roomy
cockpit, and improved handling.
The sixth and latest generation of Corvettes, beginning in 2005, has taken giant steps forward in performance and refinement. Smaller, more nimble, and more precise than its predecessor, the C6 carries a design that, while not retro, tips its hat to the beloved 1963-67 Sting Rays of the second generation.
No car’s history is more stimulating than the Corvette, and the pictures say it all. Go to each page and watch six generations of America’s favorite sports car come boldly to life. Enjoy the ride!
Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See:
- Corvettes: Learn about the history behind each model year and see Corvette photographs.
- Corvette Specifications: Get key specifications, engine and transmission types, prices, and production totals.
- Corvette Museum: The National Corvette Museum draws Corvette lovers from all over the world. Learn more about the museum.
- Corvette Pictures: Find pictures of the hottest classic and current-year Corvettes.
- Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
- Consumer Guide Corvette Reviews: Considering a Corvette purchase? See what Consumer Guide has to say.