Corvette C1 1953-1962
The Chevrolet Corvette was introduced in 1953 as a two-seat sports car. It had a fiberglass body, a "Blue Flame" inline six-cylinder truck-based engine, a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, and drum brakes all around. 1955 saw the first V8 Corvette with a small block Chevy displacing 265 cubic inches. The famous 1957 fuelie Corvette, with a fuel injected 283 engine, produced more than one horsepower per cubic inch. 1963 would see a complete redesign of the Vette, which included a new enclosed coupe-style body, front wheel disc brakes, and an independent rear suspension. This second generation Vette, also know as the Sting Ray, would last until 1967. Four wheel disc brakes and a 396 cid big block engine were new options for 1965. 1966 was the first year for the 427, and 1967 saw the ultimate version of this engine, the L-88, rated at 430 horsepower but probably producing much more.
The third generation Corvette debuted in 1968 and lasted until 1982. Chevy's 454 big block was optional in the 1970 Vette and made up to 460 horsepower. One of Chevy's best small block engines, the original LT-1 350, produced 370 horsepower in 1970. The front chrome bumper disappeared in 1973, and the rear chrome bumper followed suit in 1974. 1975 was the last year for both the 454 and the convertible. The 1978 25th anniversary Corvette introduced a new glass fastback-styled rear window, and 1980 saw another minor restyling.
The C4 Vette debuted in 1984 with a completely new frame, suspension, and body, but carried over the engine and tranny from the 1982 model (there was no 1983 Vette). The Tuned Port Injected L98 5.7 liter (350 cid) engine, rated at 230 horsepower and 330 ft-lbs of torque, became the standard engine in 1985. A convertible model was made available in 1987. The LT1 5.7 liter engine, rated at 300 hp, was introduced in 1990. In 1996, the last year for the C4, the optional LT4 engine produced 330 horsepower and 340 ft-lbs of torque. This was the standard engine in the limited edition Grand Sport model.
The C5 Corvette was produced from 1997 to 2004. It included the new all aluminum LS1 small block engine producing 345 horsepower and 350 ft-lbs of torque. Instead of a standard transmission, a transaxle was used to help improve the weight balance and handling. The body and hydro-formed frame were all new. In 2001 the Z06 Vette was introduced with a LS6 engine . Initially producing 385 horsepower, it was later rated at 405 hp. The Z06 incorporated many features to save weight including a titanium exhaust.