Corvette club france


January 17, 1953 is the beginning of the Corvette story. Not for me because I was not born yet but for Americans followed over the years by the whole world. It's at the MOTORAMA of General Motors that the world discovers a protoype followed by the first production car that will leave the factory of Flint on June 30, 1953. The C1 .... the story is on the way!



    CORVETTE C1 de 1953 à 1962 


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    After the debut of the Corvette at the 1953 Motorama in New York, Chevrolet quickly set up a temporary facility next to the main plant in Flint, Michigan. The 300 Corvettes produced in 1953 were hand-built, painted Polo White, and had Sportsman Red interiors and black tops. Notable features of the first Corvette included the Powerglide automatic transmission, rocket-like rear fenders, a vertical front grill and sunken headlights covered by a mesh guard.

    The 1954 Corvette differed very little from the ’53 although it was offered in Pennant Blue, Sportsman Red and Black in addition to Polo White. Production moved from Flint, Michigan to a renovated St. Louis assembly plant. At the time the sports car market was small, so many of the 3,640 1954 Corvettes sat on dealers’ lots for months. Many enthusiasts and reviewers thought the Corvette’s 155hp was insufficient.

    One of the most important developments in the history of the Corvette was the development of the 265ci V8 engine that debuted in the 1955 Corvette. The first small block was rated at 195hp. A single Rochester four-barrel carburetor was used along with a modern 12-volt electrical system. With many 1954 Corvettes remaining unsold, GM limited production of the ’55 Corvette to 700 cars, almost all of which were powered by the new V8 engine.

    The new small block V8 under the hood was greeted with great enthusiasm. Although Ford’s Thunderbird outsold the Corvette by a wide margin in 1955, GM Chairman Alfred Sloan told his board to be patient. The Corvette had just not caught the public's imagination, but Sloan believed he could capture some of the Ford buyers.

    In 1956 the Corvette underwent its first major body transformation. This new exterior helped to establish the Corvette as a true performance car. The changes included “bugeye” headlamps that were set high, sweeping concave indentations (coves) along the sides and a more rounded rear end. Curtains were replaced by roll-up door glass. A removable hardtop was offered as an option. The 1956 Corvette had the 265ci engine with an increased 210hp. A three-speed manual transmission was also offered. At this time GM began racing the Corvette and began advertising the car's performance and competition successes.

    The body of the 1957 Corvette was almost identical to the ’56. For the first time fuel injection and a manual four-speed transmission were offered. The engine size was increased to 283ci and 220hp with a single four-barrel carburetor as well. The Corvette had become a stylish performance car.

    The interior and the exterior were redesigned for the 1958 Corvette. Dual headlights and simulated hood louvers were introduced. For the first time Corvette was profitable. There were four variations of the 283ci small-block engine. The Corvette had become popular, and GM built 9,168 in 1958. The 1959 Corvette was similar in appearance to the ’58 but GM removed the hood louvers and the twin chrome trunk spears. The 1960 Corvette was similar to the ’59 and the last to feature taillights formed into the rounded rear fenders.

    In 1960 the popularity of the Corvette was also boosted by the premiere of a dramatic television show, Route 66, detailing the adventures of two young men traveling the country in their new 1960 Corvette. The series lasted four years, and each year the men had the newest Corvette. The rear of the 1961 Corvette was completely restyled, and the four taillight design became a Corvette tradition.

    The 1962 Corvette was given a cleaner look: the coves were no longer accented by the bright trim as before, and no optional two-tone color was available. The big change was the increase in engine displacement from 283ci to 327ci. With fuel injection, the engine was rated at 360hp.

    After ten years, the Corvette’s designers and engineers knew that it was time to move on. The second generation of Corvette would be dubbed the “Sting Ray.”



    CORVETTE C2 de 1963 à 1969


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    The 1963 Corvette was a stunning car. A coupe was available for the first time. A centered ridge divided the rear glass window thus creating a “split window” which was unique to this year. Design chief Bill Mitchell faced opposition regarding the center spine but insisted on the split window. Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov had built a new chassis. He shortened the wheelbase and designed a new independent rear suspension. The 1963 Corvette was impressive visually and mechanically. Also, it was the first car since the 1942 DeSoto to feature hidden headlights.

    The 327ci engine carried over from 1962. Most of the 1963 Corvettes had a four-speed manual transmission, and the base engine had 250hp. The fuel injected Corvette was rated at 360hp and went from 0 to 60mph in 5.8 seconds. For the first time, total sales topped 20,000 in a year with 10,594 coupes and 10,919 convertibles sold. In 1964 the split window in the coupes was eliminated, making the rear glass one piece. The fuel injected 327ci engine had a rating of 375hp.

    In 1965 four-wheel disc brakes became standard, and a big-block (396ci) engine option was introduced. The "L78" 396ci engine generated a massive 425hp, and with the arrival of the big-block, this was the last year for the fuel-injected 327ci engine. The 396ci engine was produced for one year and then replaced by the 427ci big-block engine in 1966. The 327ci engine was standard, or buyers could purchase the 427ci engine rated at either 390 or 425hp.

    In 1967 the engine options included an “L68” 427ci engine rated at 400hp and the “L71” 427ci engine rated at 435hp featuring three two-barrel carburetors (“tri-power”). The 1967 Corvette was the last of the “mid-years” which started in 1963. GM was preparing for a controversial new design which debuted in 1968.


    CORVETTE C3 de 1968 à 1982 


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    The C3 (1968-1982)

    Under Bill Mitchell’s direction, Larry Shinoda designed the third-generation Corvette, which was based on the Mako Shark II show car designed by Shinoda and displayed in 1965. The 1968 Corvette had a flamboyant shape with fenders arching over the tires, minimal chrome, sleek pop-up headlights and a slight duck-tailed rear-end. The coupe featured removable roof T-tops. Although the body was new, the chassis and drivetrain were carried over from the previous generation. The base engine was a 300hp 327ci small-block V8 with a four-barrel carburetor. Engine options included the 350hp 327ci engine and the big-block 427ci engines.

    The 1968 Corvette was a success with the public and GM sold 9,936 coupes and 18,630 convertibles. The 1969 Corvette was similar to the 1968. A “Stingray” script was added to the front fenders, and side mount exhausts were an option. In 1970 fender louvers replaced the four vertical slots used in the 1968-69 models. In addition, a special solid-lifter version of the 350ci engine was available, designated the LT1. It generated 370hp. The 427ci engine was replaced with a big-block 454ci engine.

    The 1970 production was shortened by a labor dispute, and the 1971 Corvette was treated as an extension of the 1970 production. There were minimal changes although federal emission controls became stricter, resulting in lower compression ratios. The 1972 Corvette was the “end of an era.” It was the last C3 to feature front and rear chrome bumpers and side-fender grills. It was also the only year the LT1 engine was offered with air conditioning.

    The front bumper was redesigned in 1973 to meet federal standards. The steel front bumper was covered with a urethane plastic while the rear bumper remained unchanged from 1972. For the first time, radial tires were standard, and the side vents were replaced with single openings. Power was dropped - the base 350ci engine produced 190hp and the optional “L-82” 350ci engine produced 250hp. The 454ci engine was rated at 275hp.

    1974 was the last year of the big-block 454ci engine. In addition, the transition to “soft” bumpers was completed with a rear body colored bumper to match the front. After 1974, Corvettes were tuned to run on unleaded gas, and there was a switch to catalytic converters in 1975. Demand for convertibles waned, and in 1975 only 4,629 convertibles were produced. In 1975 the small-block “L-82” was the only engine option. 1975 was the last C3 convertible.

    In 1976 the carburetor air induction system was revised, and the hood was unique to that year. The base “L-48” engine produced 180hp, and the “L-82” engine was rated at 210hp. In 1976 and 1977 there were record sales of Corvettes. Leather upholstery had become standard in 1977.

    Chevrolet celebrated the Corvette’s twenty-fifth year in 1978 with a new “fastback” rear end styling. There was a large rear window with more luggage space behind the seats. The interior was also re-designed. The base “L-48” engine produced 185hp while the “L-82” engine was rated at 220hp. The Corvette was chosen as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 and 6,502 replica Corvette pace cars were produced. These cars had two-tone paint, black over silver metallic, with a bright red pin stripe between them.

    The twin-snorkel air cleaner was used in all Corvettes in 1979. In addition, the “L-82” lower back-pressure mufflers were used. These changes gave the 1979 base “L-48” engine an increase in horsepower to 195hp. 

    The 1980 Corvette was 250 lbs lighter and Chevy sold 40,614 coupes. The 1981 Corvette was built simultaneously in two locations - the new factory in Bowling Green, Kentucky and in St. Louis. The 1981 Corvette had a twin throttle-body fuel-injection system instead of a carburetor. This was the first Corvette “fuelie” since 1965. The 1982 Corvette was the last of the C3 generation and Chevy offered a Collector Edition. This Corvette was the first to break the $20,000 price barrier.


    CORVETTE C4 de 1984 à 1996 

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    The C4 (1984-96)

    During the C3 years, the big-block engine and convertible had been left behind. After 15 years of the Shark design, Chevy completely redesigned the Corvette in 1984. Chief engineer David McLellan and designer Jerry Palmer collaborated to develop the C4. The car was introduced in March 1983 and because of its late release, Chevy decided to bypass the 1983 model designation. As compared to the 1982 Corvette, the new C4 Corvette was wider, the engine was moved towards the rear, the steering was rack-and-pinion, and there were newly designed brakes. There were no fiberglass seams on exposed panels, and the engine was a 5.7 liter small-block V-8 with 205hp. The hideaway headlights were now single square units on rotating mounts. Due to the long production run 51,547 coupes were produced, the second highest model year volume in the Corvette’s history.

    The 1982 and 1984 Corvette engines had “Cross Fire Injection,” but for the first time in two decades, the 1985 Corvette had genuine fuel injection. This new “L-98” engine delivered 230hp. The suspension rates were lowered in 1985 as a result of the criticism of the 1984 Corvette’s harsh ride.

    The first convertible since 1975 was introduced in 1986. All convertibles were designated as Indianapolis pace cars regardless of their color or options, and all included decal packages. The anti-lock brake system became standard in the 1986 Corvette. Horsepower was boosted to 240hp in 1987, and a new suspension system was offered as an option.

    A 35th anniversary edition was offered in 1988 and available only in coupes. The car featured a white interior and exterior with special accents and emblems. In 1989, a new manual six-speed transmission was offered. Other changes included a new optional fiberglass hardtop for the convertible.

    In 1990, the much anticipated ZR-1 was introduced. The ZR-1 had a new Lotus-Chevrolet designed 5.7 liter V8 engine (LT-5) with four overhead camshafts and 32 valves. It was made of aluminum and produced 375hp. The engines were assembled and manufactured by Mercury Marine in Stillwater, Oklahoma and then sent to the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The ZR-1 was nicknamed “King of the Hill.” All 1990 Corvettes had an improved dashboard and driver side airbags.

    The rear exterior of the 1991 Corvette was restyled, and the front incorporated wraparound fog lights. The ZR-1 was continued and sold for $64,138 - the first GM automobile to carry a price above $60,000. The 1992 Corvette had minimal exterior changes, but the base engine was the LT1, a new generation small block which produced 300hp. The millionth Corvette, a white 1992 convertible, was built on July 2, 1992.

    A 40th Anniversary Package was optional for all models in 1993. The package included a Ruby Red exterior and leather interior, a power driver seat, special wheel center trim and emblems. The ZR-1 boosted its horsepower from 375 to 405hp and an airbag was added for passengers in the 1994 Corvette. In 1995, the side grills were restyled. For the third time, Corvette paced the Indianapolis 500 race, and 527 dark purple and white convertible pace cars were produced to commemorate the event. 1995 was also the last year for production of the ZR-1.

    In 1996, Chevy offered two unique editions to mark the end of the C4 production. The first was a "Collector's Edition" which was available as a coupe or a convertible and included special emblems, five-spoke wheels and Sebring Silver paint. The second unique edition was the Grand Sport which featured blue-with-white-stripe paint and the LT4 engine which produced 330hp. After 13 years, GM was ready to move on to the fifth generation Corvette.


    CORVETTE C5 1997 to 2004


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    The C5 (1997-2004)

    The 1997 Corvette was the most completely redesigned Corvette since its inception. A new engine, along with completely redesigned interior, exterior, and suspension components, was introduced with the C5 Corvette. Unlike previous Corvettes in which the transmission was directly behind the engine, the transmission was placed between the rear wheels to offset the weight of the engine in the front. The wheel base was increased, and a new 346ci LS1 engine with 345hp was introduced. The 1997 Corvette featured the familiar hidden headlamps and quad tail lamps but had a much rounder exterior than its predecessor. Only 9,752 coupes were produced. The C5 was well received, and in one review Motor Trend stated "As if anyone doesn't know it already, the new Corvette is unfathomably good."

    A convertible was added in 1998, and for the first time since 1962, the design featured a trunk with outside access. An Indianapolis 500 pace car replica featured a purple exterior, black and yellow leather interior, yellow wheels and special accents. In 1999 a fixed roof coupe, lighter in weight than either the hatchback coupe or convertible, was introduced. Also added as an option was the Head Up display that projected instrument readouts onto the windshield, which allowed for viewing information without shifting vision to the dashboard.

    Two new exterior colors were available in 2000: Millennium Yellow and Dark Bowling Green Metallic. Additionally, a thin-spoke wheel design became standard. In 2001 Chevy introduced a Z06 model powered by the LS6 385hp engine. Z06 models also had titanium exhaust systems in contrast to the standard stainless steel system. The LS1 engine’s output was increased to 350hp.

    In 2002 the LS6 output was increased to 405hp. A 50th Anniversary Edition was offered in 2003 as a coupe or convertible with an LS1 engine. This Edition featured dark red paint, a new Magnetic Selective Ride Control system, painted aluminum wheels, and emblems. The last C5 generation Corvette was produced in 2004. A Commemorative Edition Z06 coupe featured LeMans Blue exterior paint, unique wheel centers, and special emblems. The next chapter in Corvette history was set to begin in January 2004 when the C6 was introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan


    CORVETTE C6  2005 to 2013

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    The C6 (2005-2013)

    The new 2005 coupe and convertible were very well received. The 2005 Corvette featured a new exterior, interior, chassis and dimensions. The front-engine rear-transmission layout of the C5 was retained. The most dramatic change for the 2005 Corvette was the return of the exposed headlights, not seen since the 1962 model. The car’s length was decreased and the wheelbase increased. A new cockpit was created with options including DVD-based navigation, satellite radio, heated seats, and side air-bags. A small block 400hp LS2 engine was standard.

    The Z06 engine returned in 2006. This LS7 engine provided the same 427 cubic-inch displacement as the big block 1966-69 Corvettes but was small block based. The front fascia of the Z06 body was unique with a larger grille and cold-air scoop. A power convertible top was offered as an option. In 2007 the power top became standard. Two special editions were offered in 2007. The Ron Fellows ALMS (American LeMans Series) was produced to honor the famed racer and was the first signed limited edition in Corvette history. The production was limited to 399 cars. An Indianapolis 500 convertible pace car replica in Atomic Orange with Ebony seats was offered, and 500 were produced.

    In 2008 the base engine was the new LS3 with 430hp. An optional dual exhaust system was offered. The interior was restyled with a new console trim plate, a brushed aluminum shifter, and new metal door sill plates. The LS3 engine remained standard in the 2009 Corvette. The Z06 was offered with a 7 liter LS7 V8 engine with 505hp. The ZR1 with a 6.2 liter 638hp LS9 engine was another option. The ZR1 featured brakes with carbon ceramic matrix rotors, an aluminum frame and a magnesium roof structure. The base price of the 2009 ZR1 was $105,670.

    The 2010 Corvette lineup added the Grand Sport, available as a coupe or convertible. The Grand Sport included special styling features, suspension tuning, brakes, and transmission gearing. These models have a 430hp 6.2 liter V8 engine.

    In 2011 Chevrolet added a new package to fill the gap between the Z06 and ZR1. The Ultimate Performance package for the Z06 added the ZR1's adaptive dampers, carbon-ceramic brakes, wheels and tires.

    Both the base Corvette and the Grand Sport models continued with the 6.2-liter 430-horsepower (321 kW) 424 lb.-ft. of torque (575 Nm) LS3 V-8 engine in 2012. The 2012 Centennial Edition Corvette featured Carbon Flash Metallic paint, satin-black graphics, satin-black wheels, unique badges, special-trimmed interior and Magnetic Selective Ride Control.


    CORVETTE C7 2014 to now 

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    The C7 (2014-Present)

    The C7, introduced for the 2014 model year, is radically new with breathtaking design changes. In particular, the tail lamps, although continuing the quad lens tradition, are rhomboid shaped. There are a quartet of exhaust pipes. The hood and roof are constructed of carbon fiber. Under the hood is a 6.2 liter LT1, V8 engine with 450hp. The transmission options are a six-speed automatic or seven-speed Tremec manual.

    This new Stingray has many features and refinements allowing it to compete with the most highly regarded sports cars in the world. The 2014 Corvette has been well received by critics, winning Automobile of the Year honors from Automobile Magazine and Car of the Year honors at the Detroit auto show.

    The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray included a new eight-speed automatic transmission making the sports car faster and more fuel efficient than the 2014 six-speed automatic-equipped version. A new Appearance Package featuring a body-color spoiler and five-spoke silver alloys was available. Two new paint colors, Shark Gray Metallic and Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic, replaced Lime Rock Green Metallic and Cyber Gray Metallic.

    In 2016 the ultra-limited-production Z06 C7.R Edition was added to the lineup. Three new design packages were introduced along with a new flat bottomed steering wheel and two tone GT seats.

    Two new packages, the Grand Sport Heritage Package and the Grand Sport Collector Edition, were added in 2017. Changes in exterior and interior color options were also made.

    There are more than a dozen small changes for the Corvette in 2018, including a new wider-angle lens for the backup camera, a new exterior paint color, and a new accent color for the interior trim stitching. Also, only 9,700 2018 Corvettes are estimated for production, which falls short of normal production totals by a large margin.