In just over six decades of existence, the Corvette has truly forged out a place for itself as the great American sports car. Here are some facts you may or may not know about the Corvette's history, as well as its present!
It debuted in 1953, introducing several new features along with it.
Among those features: a new model of Chevy's straight-6 engine, the "Blue Flame", a new Powerglide automatic transmission, and the signature Corvette fiberglass body.
However, it wasn’t universally acclaimed.
Sales were relatively poor for the first few years, and Popular Mechanics titled an article based on a survey of 'Vette owners "Corvette Is A Fine 'Fun' Car But It Has Its Limitations."
The second generation of Corvettes debuted in 1963.
And it marked the beginning of the iconic "Stingray" nameplate, which would become synonymous with Corvette for the next couple of generations
…But its design concept had been around for a while already.
Based heavily on the Mako Shark concept from 1961, the Stingray introduced the first of many radical design shifts in Corvette's history.
It also initially had a feature that was never seen again.
The 1963 Stingray model had a split windshield that, while gaining significant cult popularity, has not been repeated in any subsequent Corvette model.
The Stingray continued with generation three in 1968.
Based on the 1965 Mako Shark II concept (hey, we're seeing a pattern here…), the second Stingray design featured the most aggressive design yet.
It was featured as the Indy 500 Pace Car!
The first of several Corvettes to feature at the Great American Race, the 1978 C3 model was outfitted with a special black and silver paint job for its role as the pace car.
The C3 was the best-selling generation of Corvettes in history.
The 1979 model sold 58,307 units, which to this day remains the record for Corvette model year sales.
The C4 was all about performance.
While the new generation marked a significant departure from the dramatic lines of its Stingray predecessor, the C4 boasted reduced drag and a computer-activated transmission when the production model first went on sale in 1984.
The 1989 ZR-1 was made to compete with Ferrari and Lamborghini
Dave McLellan, Corvette's chief engineer: "You're going to find it's a higher performance car than any of the production-available Ferraris, including the Testarossa. It has higher performance than the Countach, as federalized. Ranking up there with the [Porsche] 959."
The performance focus continued with the C5.
While the C5's design seems downright conservative as evolutions go, it accomplished an impressive engineering feat: despite being considerably longer than the previous model, it was almost 100 pounds lighter!
The first year it was released, the C5 was not sold as a convertible.
Though the Corvette has historically been designed to be the perfect convertible car, a tradition that continued with this model, the C5 was not sold with a removable roof until 1998.
The C6 was a true successor to the C5.
Sharing much of the C5's design, up to and including the same chassis, the C6 evolved in subtle ways, including more horsepower and a deviation from the classic concealed headlights.
The C7 Stingray is arguably the best one yet.
The return of the Stingray nameplate, a 455 horsepower base package, and revamped design, the current Corvette has won much critical acclaim, and several awards including Automobile Magazine's 2014 "Automobile of the Year"!