The Chevrolet Corvette is a sports car by the Chevrolet division of General Motors (GM) that has been produced in seven generations. The first model, a convertible, was designed by Harley Earl and introduced at the GM Motorama in 1953 as a concept show car. Myron Scott is credited for naming the car after the type of small, maneuverable warship called a corvette. Originally built in Flint, Michigan and St. Louis, Missouri, the Corvette is currently manufactured in Bowling Green, Kentucky and is the official sports car of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Corvette was introduced with 235cid six-cylinder engine (150hp) and two-speed automatic transmission. All 300 first edition Vettes were Polo White roadsters with red interior. Vette manufacturing plant was located in St. Louis, Missouri.
The 1954 Corvette differed little from the 1953 model. More exterior paint choices were added. Under the hood, a new camshaft gave the six-cylinder an extra five horsepower, boosting the total to 155 hp.
265cid OHV V8 engine and manual transmission introduced, also the last year for six-cylinder engine. V8 produced 195hp with a four barrel carburetor, standard version produced 155hp.
New body style with roll-up windows and optional removable hard top introduced. 265cid engine was boosted to 225hp.
Fuel injection appeared as an option and the V8 engine enlarged to 283cid, also optional four speed manual transmission came available.
Dual headlight units introduced. The top powerplant remained the high-compression, fuel-injected, 283ci with 290 horsepower at 6200 rpm.
For the 1959 Corvette, the busied ’58 chrome styling was cleaned up considerably. The fake hood louvers and decklid chrome bars were removed. Otherwise, there were few changes from the previous model year.
The 1960 Corvette was almost indistinguishable from the 1959, but power increases were made to the top two engines. Solid lifters and higher 11.0:1 compression boosted the 283ci fuelie to 315 hp at 6200; a second version with hydraulic lifters pumped out 275 bhp at 5200 rpm.
A new rear tail treatment was added, taken from the XP-700 Mako Shark prototype show car built for Bill Mitchell. Up front, headlight bezels were now painted body color, and vertical teeth in the grill were eliminated in favor of a silver horizontal-mesh insert.
283 ci small block engine enlarged to 327cid. The previous silver mesh grille was now finished in black, and the chrome outline around the bodyside coves and triple chrome accent spears were deleted and replaced with ribbed aluminum appliques.
1963 begins the Sting Ray era, and is the only year for the “Split Window” Vette. Five Grand Sport Corvettes were produced for racing purposes only. All five Grand Sports are today in collectors hands!
Only changes were minor spring and shock refinements for a better ride. Sting Ray sales reached 22,229, another new Corvette record. Coupe volume dropped to 8304 units, but convertible sales rose to 13,925.
Last year for Fuelie option and first year of big block engine option. First BB was 396cid and produced 425hp. Four-wheel disc brakes became standard. Work for new Vette generation begun.
Big block engine enlarged to 427cid, and featured 425 hp with 11:1 compression, larger intake valves, a bigger Holley four-barrel carburetor on an aluminum manifold, and solid mechanical lifters.
Big block was available with three Holley two-barrel carburetors and it produced 435hp. King of the Hill was L88 Vette. It had a 427 BB which produced about 550 horses, although GM said that it produced 430 horses… GM also mentioned that this is an off road engine.
New sexy “Coca-Cola” bottle shape. 435hp L71 was still offered. 80 L88 Vettes were produced. GM’s new three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission replaced the old two-speed Powerglide automatic, and the battery was relocated behind the seats.
Stingray model introduced. Base engine was enlarged to 350cid. 116 L88 Vettes produced. Two ZL-1 Stingray Coupes were unleashed. Again, Chevy said that this engine produces 430 horses, but in real life it produced over 500 hp…
Big block reached it biggest form as a 454cid version, engine code was LS-5 and it produced 390 horses. 370hp small block was also offered it’s code name was LT-1. ZR-1 Vette appeared with LT-1 engine and 4-speed Muncie transmission. Only 25 were produced this year.
Power of the LT-1 engine compression was lowered to 9.0:1, and output dropped from 370 hp to 330 hp. Styling and equipment changes from the previous year were virtually nonexistent. Only 8 ZR-1 Vettes were produced.
Horsepower ratings dropped again, now the LT-1 produced only 255 hp. This was also the last year for the LT-1 option, 1741 LT-1 were built. This was also the last year for ZR-1 option and only 20 ZR-1 Vettes were produced. 454 BB produced only 270hp this year.
Front chrome bumper was gone and replaced with urethane plastic matched to the body paint color, but rear bumper still remained chrome. The coupe also exchanged its removable backlight for fixed glass.
Last year for the big-block engine. Chrome bumper was gone from rear too. Rear bumper was made from two pieces so there was a seam in the middle of the bumper.
Rear bumper is now one piece and the seam is gone, and a pair of small extrusions with black pads for each bumper as additional parking-lot protection were added. ’75 was also last year for convertibles, until it reappeared in 1986.
The L48 gained 15 horses for a total of 180; the L82 went up to 210 bhp. Both engines breathed through an intake that was now in front of and above the radiator instead of at the cowl near the windshield.
Mechanicals were carried over prom the previous year unchanged. Instruments were restyled for greater legibility, and the Stingray nameplate came off the front fenders, replaced by the traditional crossed-flags insignia.
New fastback rear window. 15,283 Two-tone silver 25th Anniversary models (RPO B2Z), were produced. Indianapolis Pace Car was the other special model for ’78. It had black/silver two-tone paint and 6,502 were sold. Optional L-82 350cid engine produced 220hp. All ’78 cars had special 25th anniversary badges.
Pace Car Replica-style front and rear spoilers from the previous year became optional, and tungsten-halogen high-beam headlamps were phased in.
Front and rear spoilers were reshaped and made integral with the bodywork, and the grille was raked back. The differential housing and front-frame crossmember were switched from steel to aluminum. Total weight reductions slimmed the car by 250 pounds.
Arkansas: Little Rock
Iowa: Des Moines
Louisiana: Baton Rouge
Minnesota: St. Paul
Missouri: Jefferson City
Nevada: Carson City
New Hampshire: Concord
New Jersey: Trenton
New Mexico: Santa Fe
New York: Albany
North Carolina: Raleigh
North Dakota: Bismarck
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
Rhode Island: Providence
South Carolina: Columbia
South Dakota: Pierre
Utah: Salt Lake City
West Virginia: Charleston