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Through the Decades: Chevrolet Corvette

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The Corvette is iconic in Chevrolet’s lineup. Known as the all-American sports car, the Corvette has a history spanning more than six decades. From its introduction in 1953, the Corvette has dominated roads across the country.


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Through the Decades: Chevrolet Corvette

1953 Chevrolet Corvette

1953 Chevrolet Corvette

The first Corvette was released in 1953, marketed as the first all-American sports car. The 1953 Corvette came with a 150-horsepower six-cylinder engine and a powerglide automatic transmission under the hood. Its overall shape is significantly more rounded on every corner than its modern counterpart, with an eye-opening front grille and a two-door convertible design. The vehicle body was made out of glass fiber reinforced plastic, a lightweight material to improve the car’s performance.

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1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

By the time the 1960s rolled around, the Corvette had been redesigned to take its famous stance. The nose was redefined with the classic arches, while the overall shape of the model got an athletic, aggressive makeover. Available in coupe and convertible configurations, the 1963 Corvette offered a 360-horsepower V8 engine under its hood. On the coupe configuration, 1963 was the only year for the Corvette’s split rear window.

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1973 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

1973 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

A more accentuated nose and hood make the 1970s-era Corvette stand out. Also available as a coupe or convertible, the 1973 Corvette offered a 270-horsepower V8 at its highest level, paired to a four-speed manual transmission. Its acceleration gave it a 0-to-60 time of 7.2 seconds and 0-to-100 in just 17.9 seconds.

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1984 Chevrolet Corvette

1984 Chevrolet Corvette

You can definitely tell the C4 Chevrolet Corvette was built in the ’80s. Its structured design pushes away from the sporty, curved styling of the previous Corvette generations. Its 0-to-60 time improved over the decade prior, dropping down to 7 seconds, and the convertible configuration dropped off the market for the 1984 model, sticking to the structured coupe.

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1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

As Chevrolet progressed through the 1990s, it brought back the Corvette’s curved hood and pointed nose. The ’90s brought increased performance for the Corvette, upping its output to 330 horsepower with the new LT4 5.7-liter V8 and six-speed manual transmission on the 1996 model. The convertible came back, as well, giving consumers an option for their sports-car configuration.

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2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

It’s no surprise that the Corvette saw a significant redesign as we dove into a new millennium. Its stance retreated backwards with a stronger focus on the rear fenders, elongating the sloped hood for a more dramatic entrance. The 2006 Corvette came with a 400-horsepower 6.0-liter V8 engine and a six-speed manual transmission.

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2018 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2018 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The newest Corvette celebrates the nameplate’s 65th anniversary with the Carbon 65 Edition. Adding five new wheel options and added accents, the Carbon 65 Edition pays tribute to the original purpose of the Corvette: sport. Its available 455-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 dominates with the help of a seven-speed manual transmission. You can also opt for an eight-speed paddle shift automatic transmission, if you prefer. The 2018 Corvette Stingray offers a 0-to-60 time of 3.7 seconds and technology options like a Head-Up Display and Chevrolet MyLink.

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Sources: The National Corvette Museum, How Stuff Works (12, 3), Car and Driver, Motor Trend