If you’ve been following our blog, you have probably already read our first entry on A Brief History of the Chevrolet Corvette. In this blog, we will continue with the Fourth Generation Corvette which debuted in 1983.
Fourth Generation – C4 (1983-1996)
The first redesign in 20 years brought us the Fourth Generation Corvette, however quality issues and part delays resulted in only 43 prototypes for the year. All of the 1983 prototypes were eventually destroyed or serialized to 1984, save one which is now on public display at the National Corvette Museum in Blowing Green, Kentucky. The 1984 model had a slightly more powerful “Crossfire” V8 engine, and a new chassis featuring aluminum brake calipers and an all-aluminum suspension. Beginning in 1985, the standard Corvette engine changed to the 230 bhp L98 engine with tuned port fuel injection. In 1986, the second Corvette Indy Pace Car was released; it was a bright yellow convertible that sported a 3rd brake light. All 1986 convertibles came with an Indy 500 emblem mounted on the console. In 1988 the 35th Anniversary Edition Corvette made it’s debute, this model included a special badge next to the gear selector.
The 1992 model Corvette featured a reverse-flow cooling engine which meant the heads were cooled before the block. This allowed for a higher compression ratio. A special 40th Anniversary Edition Corvette was released in 1993. It featured a commemorative Ruby Red Color, embroiderer seat backs and 40th edition badges. The final Fourth Edition Corvette left the lines in 1996, this year also featured a Grand Sport and Collector Edition models.
Fifth Generation – C5 (1997-2004)
1997 brought the Fifth Generation Corvette, and it was reviewed by automotive press as improved in nearly every are over the previous model. This time GM redesigned the small block V8 to be all aluminum, it featured a distributor-less ignition and a new cylinder firing order. For the first year, the Fifth Generation Corvette was only available as a coupe, the following year brought the convertible and the fixed-roof coupe followed in 1999. In 2001, Z06 model replaced the fixed-roof coupe; the rigid fixed roof, upgraded brakes, and less body flex allowed for unprecedented handling.
Sixth Generation – C6 (2005-2013)
The C6 was nearly an all new car, retaining only the front engine and rear transmission design from the previous model. For the first time in over 40 years, customers saw the return of exposed headlamps. This model also included a larger passenger compartment, a new 6.0 liter engine, and reworked suspension geometry. The year 2006 brought the new Z06 with the largest small block ever offered, a 7.0 L version codenamed LS7. The Z06 was capable of 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 198 mph. The ZR1 was formally announced in December 2007, it featured a 100 bhp “LS9″ engine and a top speed of 205 mph. In 2010, GM released their latest Grand Sport edition, which was basically an LS3 equipped with a steel frame instead of aluminum. The last Sixth Edition Corvette was manufactured in February 2013.
Seventh Generation – C7 (2014- )
The latest generation Corvette has been in the works since 2007. The 2014 Corvette will use an LT1 6.2 L V8 engine with an estimated 450 bhp. Transmission choices include a 7-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters. This Corvette will feature light weight materials including a carbon fiber hood, removable roof panel and hydroformed aluminum frame. Despite the light weight material, the vehicle weight seems to remain the same as previous models. The new generation have the “Stingray” name, which hasn’t been used since 1976.
We hope you enjoyed our brief history on Corvettes. If you have any comments or additional information, please leave them below.