gen 8

2019-10-8 | Chevy New Roads Magazine

The Book of Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette has been one of America’s most revered automotive nameplates going on eight generations now. Here’s the story of how we got here.

It all began at 1 p.m. on a cold Friday afternoon in 1953, when America got an eyeful of a sexy, windswept sports car at the Waldorf Astoria New York ballroom. It was called Corvette, named after a class of small, maneuverable warships. The occasion was the 1953 General Motors Motorama, a precursor to today’s auto shows.

 

GEN 1: THE GODFATHER

Milestone: First-ever Corvette produced

A true marriage of Chevrolet Design and Engineering, the first Corvette was an inspired idea. It was crafted largely with components from the full-size Chevrolet car, including a straight-six engine, a two-speed automatic transmission, and a solid-axle rear end. Performance was at least comparable to other sports cars of its day, and its looks absolutely stopped traffic.

 

The crusade to help the Corvette go as fast as it looked was led by engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, who was so moved by the sight of the Motorama Corvette that he applied for a job at GM just to work on it. One of the biggest single improvements was the addition of an optional small-block Chevy V8 in 1955. Fuel injection would be offered two years later, providing one horsepower for every cubic inch of displacement, a major milestone.

GEN 2: THE STING RAY YEARS

Milestone: Sting Ray is introduced

While Arkus-Duntov’s enhancements created an increasing demand for the Corvette, it would be almost 10 years before he got the chance to engineer a car that was truly all his own. Influenced by the mid-engine machines he raced in Europe, he started sketching out engineering designs for a mid-engine Corvette as early as 1957. But a new front-engine Corvette design called the Sting Ray racer was the inside favorite. The work of Design staff’s Bill Mitchell, it looked like it was going 200 mph standing still.

 

Indeed, it would set the mold for the new-generation Corvette, also called the Sting Ray. For the first time, the Sting Ray came in two body styles—the standard convertible and a new fastback coupe with a controversial split rear window. For Arkus-Duntov, an engineer and racer who prized functionality, the split window was a superfluous add-on, hampering rear visibility. He went to war with Mitchell over the split and lost—with Chevrolet chief engineer Ed Cole ruling in Mitchell’s favor, at least for the first year.

 

Despite Arkus-Duntov’s misgivings, the overall shape made everything around it look 20 years older. The Gen 2 Corvette was also noteworthy for its new ladder-style frame and an independent rear suspension that significantly elevated its road performance. The result was high demand: 1963 model year sales increased by 33 percent over 1962.

 

In 1965, Chevrolet added the first big-block to the Corvette lineup—a 396-cubic-inch, 425-horsepower engine nicknamed the Porcupine Head, based on the splayed angles of its valve stems. That same year, four-wheel disc brakes became standard equipment.

The Sting Ray racer was the inside favorite. It looked like it was going 200 mph standing still.

GEN 3: THE SHARK YEARS

Milestone: T-Tops and AM/FM radio introduced

Model year 1968 brought on a flamboyant new Corvette design, inspired by a Bill Mitchell show car called Mako Shark II. Gen 3 also saw the debut of a powerful, solid-lifter small-block engine, the LT1, which put out a healthy 370 horsepower while costing an additional $447.60—a lot of money in 1970. By 1973, Corvette performance had peaked, and the combined effects of a gas shortage and stricter emissions standards served to curtail Corvette performance. By 1975, Corvette was down to two engine options—a 165-horsepower V8 and a 205-horsepower V8.

 

Even with the performance decreases, Corvette production ramped ever upward. The 25th anniversary Corvette and the Indy pace car from 1978 were both hot sellers, the latter causing a feeding frenzy at dealers, and by 1979, Corvette production reached an all-time high of 53,807 units. Gen 3 culminated with a Collector Edition Corvette in 1982.

 

GEN 4: EIGHTIES GLAM

Milestone: ZR-1 debuts

After 15 years of Gen 3 production, an all-new Corvette hit the streets in 1983 (with the convertible returning in 1986) that had the world buzzing. It featured a wide clamshell hood showcasing an all-new chassis and a beautiful forged-aluminum double-wishbone suspension. It would be the best-cornering Corvette yet, with Z51 Performance Package models achieving 1 g on the skid pad.

 

Shortly after the Gen 4 hit the showrooms, rumors began to circulate about a new “King of the Hill” Corvette designed to beat the world’s best. The car would have a body that widened at the rear to accommodate huge rear tires and would be powered by Corvette’s first DOHC V8, developed jointly with Lotus Cars of England.

 

The ZR-1, as it came to be called, was a superstar, capable of speeds exceeding 175 mph. Said chief engineer Dave McLellan at the time of the launch: “It’s a Corvette—only more so.” Unveiled to the media in Geneva, it electrified the motoring press, with the ZR-1 owning the cover of virtually every automotive publication in the world.

GEN 5: ALL-NEW ARCHITECTURE

Milestone: Carbon-fiber hood available

Gen 5 debuted in 1997 after some uncertainty over whether GM would build a new Corvette. It employed a rear-mounted transmission and a new central-tunnel architecture surrounded by a hydroformed steel frame. As a result, Gen 5 was more than three times stiffer than its predecessor. It also enabled more advanced suspension tuning and resulted in a much more pleasing car.

 

Gen 5 was offered in coupe form in 1997, with a convertible added in 1998 and a fixed-roof coupe in 1999. The latter was to be a lower-cost, entry-level Corvette. But modest sales caused Chevrolet to back away from the low-price concept and instead use the fixed-roof car as the platform for a new high-performance Z06 in 2001. With 385 horsepower (later increased to 405), it provided ZR-1 performance for a fraction of the price.

 

GEN 6: FASTER AND LIGHTER

Milestone: Largest lineup and option availability

Breaking sharply with Corvette tradition since 1963, Gen 6 sported a new design with exposed headlamps embedded under clear lens covers for better aerodynamics. Introduced in 2005, it perfected the good things about Gen 5 while adding 400 standard horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. A new Z06 model was introduced in 2006 that contained a litany of racing technology, including the extensive use of carbon fiber and magnesium and an aluminum frame. With its 7.0-liter small block, the Z06 was capable of 505 horsepower and a top test-track speed of 198 mph.

 

Gen 6 also saw the reintroduction of the Grand Sport—modeled after a limited-production lightweight racing Corvette from 1963—as well as an even more powerful Z06 model. Topping off the sixth generation was the “Blue Devil” Corvette, officially known as the ZR1. With its supercharged 638-horsepower engine, abundant use of carbon fiber, and carbon-ceramic brakes, it set yet another new standard for Corvette performance.

GEN 7: SUPERCAR FOR THE AGES

Milestone: Stingray returns

Gen 7, which debuted in 2014, would be the last hurrah for the front-engine Corvette. But what a hurrah it was, with the return of the Corvette Stingray nameplate as the standard model. Said chief engineer Tadge Juechter: “This car had to earn the right to carry the Stingray nameplate.” And did it ever.

 

The Gen 7 design was more provocative than ever with its wide stance, graceful haunches, sharply defined lines, and a renewed focus on aerodynamics. The coupe featured a wider side window profile with the rear glass tapered to the center to echo the 1963 split-window coupe.

 

Topping off Gen 7 was the return of the Corvette ZR1, this time with a 755-horsepower supercharged V8 engine and an available high rear wing capable of 950 pounds of downforce at speed. Needless to say, it’s the fastest production Corvette ever, with a top speed of over 212 mph.

 

But there’s no such thing as too much horsepower. Remaining on top in today’s competitive sports car world requires steady progression. The new eighth-generation Corvette provides a whole new foundation to build on, ensuring that America’s sports car will continue to enchant many future generations of enthusiasts.

 

GEN 8: MID-ENGINE MOVES

The eighth iteration of the Corvette finally brings to life Arkus-Duntov’s dream. The 2020 Corvette Stingray has an available (with Z51 package) 495-horsepower LT2 V8 engine mounted in the middle, offering supercar handling with a distinctly American accent. From discovery to delivery, reserve your own Corvette at Chevrolet.com.

STORY: JERRY BURTON

Back to New Roads

*The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution

  • EPA-estimated 29 MPG city/39 highway with 5-speed manual transmission and 30 MPG city/38 highway with available Continuously Variable Transmission

  • EPA estimated with 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA estimated with 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Siri, iPhone and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See the Owner's Manual for more information.

     

  • EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Sonic Sedan with 6-speed manual transmission 27/38; with 6-speed automatic transmission 26/34; Sonic Hatchback with 6-speed manual transmission 26/35; with 6-speed automatic transmission 26/34.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See your vehicle Owner’s Manual for more information.

  • Connected Services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan, and 1 month/3 GB of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to User Terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell service and GPS signals. OnStar links to emergency services. Visit onstar.com for more details.

  • Model year 2018 and newer vehicles include: 1 month of OnStar Safety & Security Plan and 1 month of Chevrolet Connected Services which include navigation services, Remote Access Plan and 1 month or 3 gigabytes of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to user terms and limitations. Visit onstar.com for more details. Data plans offered by AT&T. Availability subject to change.

  • Connected Services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan, and 1 month/3 GB of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Data plan offered by AT&T. Services subject to user terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell service, and GPS signal. OnStar links to emergency services.  Visit onstar.com for more details.

  • If you decide to continue service after your trial, the subscription plan you choose will automatically renew thereafter and you will be charged according to your chosen payment method at then-current rates. Fees and taxes apply. To cancel you must call SiriusXM at 1-866-635-2349. See SiriusXM Customer Agreement for complete terms at siriusxm.com. All fees and programming subject to change. Sirius, XM, SiriusXM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of Sirius XM Radio Inc.

  • EPA estimate for Sonic with available 6-speed automatic transmission.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA-estimated 238-mile EV range. Your actual range may vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain, and driving technique.

  • EPA-estimated 238-mile EV range. Your actual range may vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain, and conditions.

  • Read your vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Read your vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • EPA-estimated MPG highway for Cruze Sedan with 1.4L 4-cylinder engine.

  • Cargo space for Cruze Hatch with rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA-estimated 37 MPG highway for Cruze Premier Hatchback.

  • If you decide to continue service after your trial, your selected subscription plan will automatically renew thereafter. You will be charged at then-current rates. Fees and taxes apply. To cancel you must call SiriusXM at 1-866-635-2349. See SiriusXM Customer Agreement for complete terms at siriusxm.com. All fees and programming subject to change. ©2018 Sirius XM Radio Inc. All rights reserved.

  • EPA-estimated 53-mile range based on 106 MPGe combined city/highway (electric); 367-mile extended range based on 42 MPG combined city/highway (gas). Your actual range may vary based on several factors, including temperature, terrain and driving technique.

  • EPA-estimated 53-mile range based on 106 MPGe combined city/highway (electric); 367-mile extended range based on 42 MPG combined city/highway (gas). Your actual range will vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain and driving conditions.

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Visit my.chevrolet.com/learn for vehicle and smartphone compatibility.

  • Available late 2018.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Requires available Performance Exhaust or Z51 Performance Package.

  • Requires available Performance Exhaust or Z51 Performance Package.

  • Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • EPA-estimated 28 City/39 Hwy MPG

  • With second row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • Read the vehicles Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Does not detect people or items. Always check rear seat before exiting.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google, and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android (TM) 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.

  • Service varies with conditions and location. Requires active service plan and paid AT&T Data plan. See onstar.com for details and limitations.

  • Premier shown seats seven. Standard on L, LS. Available on LT.

  • EPA-estimated with available 3.6L engine (FWD).

  • With second and third row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • The system wirelessly charges one mobile device. Some devices require an adaptor or back cover. To check for phone or other device compatibility, visit my.chevrolet.com/learn for details.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • With 5.3L EcoTec 3 engine. EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Suburban 2WD 15/22, 4WD14/21.

  • Based on GM Large SUV segment. With 5.3L EcoTec 3 engine. EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Tahoe 2WD 15/22, 4WD 15/21.

  • With second and third row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Available on all trims and standard on RS and Premier including 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Requires AWD model. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices. Map Coverage available in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

  • Dependability based on longevity: 1987–July 2017 full-size pickup registrations.

  • Model year 2018 and newer vehicles include: 1 month of OnStar Safety & Security Plan and 1 month of Chevrolet Connected Services which include navigation services, Remote Access Plan, and 1 month or 3 gigabytes of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to user terms and limitations. Visit onstar.com for more details. Data plans offered by AT&T. Availability subject to change.

  • Requires Silverado 3500HD Crew Cab 2WD DRW with fifth-wheel hitch and available Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8 engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • With available Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8.

  • Read the vehicles Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google, and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android(TM) 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.

     

  • 308 horsepower with available 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Colorado 2WD with available Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel 4-cylinder engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner's Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • 308 horsepower with standard 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner's Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • With available Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8.

  • Standard on Extended Cab and 2WD Crew Cab Short Box models.

  • Standard on 2WD Crew Cab Long Box and 4WD Crew Cab models.

  • Available on Extended Cab models

  • Available on Crew Cab models

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • Certain features require a SiriusXM subscription and the Chevrolet Connected Access plan. See siriusxm.com and onstar.com for details and limitations.

  • Do not use summer-only tires in winter conditions, as it would adversely affect vehicle safety, performance and durability. Use only GM-approved tire and wheel combinations. Unapproved combinations may change the vehicle’s performance characteristics. For important tire and wheel information, go to my.chevrolet.com/learnAbout/chevrolettires or see your dealer.

  • Premier shown seats seven. Standard on L, LS. Available on LT.

  • Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Standard on all trims:  Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Following Distance Indicator, Intellibeam Headlamps. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints.  Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint.  See the Owner's Manual for more information.

  • Read the vehicles Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Read the vehicles Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • On LS models with available front-row split-bench seat.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Read the Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity to some devices.

  • Read the Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Read the Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist and Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Requires AWD and 3.6L engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Equipment from independent suppliers is not covered by the GM New Vehicle Limited Warranty. GM is not responsible for the safety or quality of independent supplier alterations.

  • Read the vehicles Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See the Owner’s Manual for more information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Siri, iPhone and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See your vehicle Owner’s Manual for more information.

  • Connected services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan. Services subject to Terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell reception, and GPS signal. OnStar links to emergency services.  See onstar.com for details. Availability subject to change.

  • Connected services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan. Services subject to Terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell reception, and GPS signal. OnStar links to emergency services.  See onstar.com for details. Availability subject to change.

  • EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Sonic Sedan with 6-speed manual transmission 27/38; with 6-speed automatic transmission 26/34; Sonic Hatchback with 6-speed manual transmission 26/35; with 6-speed automatic transmission 26/34.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

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