1958 Chevrolet Corvette roadster.
The first generation is most commonly referred to as a "solid-axle", based on the fact that independent rear suspension (IRS) was not available until 1963. The first generation started in 1953 and ended in 1962.
With limited production due to the fact that they were all hand
built and assembled, the 1953 Corvette, at 300 produced, is the rarest
and most sought after year. With few changes except for color choices
and production numbers, the 1954 is the last Corvette to have a 6
cylinder engine. In 1955 a milestone was made in Corvette history. It
was the introduction of the first V-8 Corvette. With GM almost dropping
the underpowered "Blue Flame" in-line 6 Corvette, this was like a new
beginning for the car. The easiest way to differentiate the 1955 is the
"V" in Corvette is enlarged and gold colored signifying the V-8 engine
under the hood..
In 1956 a new body was designed for the car which changed it from a
country club style sports car to a true American hot rod. One
noteworthy addition of optional fuel injection in mid-1957 (also available on Chevrolet Bel Air). Fuel injection first saw regular use on a gasoline engine two years prior on the Mercedes-Benz 300SL "gullwing" roadster. Although the Corvette's GM-Rochester injection used a constant flow system as opposed to the diesel style nozzle metering system of the Mercedes',
it nevertheless produced about 290 hp (216 kW) (gross). The number was
listed by Chevrolet's advertising agency for the 283 hp/283in³ (4.6L) "one hp per
cubic inch" slogan, making it one of the first mass-produced engines in
history to reach 1 hp/in³. Other early options included power windows
(1956), hydraulically operated power convertible top (1956), four speed manual transmission (late 1957), and heavy duty brakes and suspension (1957).
The 1958 Corvette saw another body freshening and more options
available. This year had the most exterior chrome and was the heaviest
of the C-1s. From its quad headlights and hood louvers to its twin
trunk spars and bumper exiting exhaust, it was the flashiest Corvette
ever built. 1959-60 saw little changes except ever decreasing chrome
and increasing HP. For 1961 a complete change to the rear of the car
was made, with hints of things to come. It had a "boat tail" rear with
the first year to have 4 tail lights. In 1962, the GM 283 small block
was enlarged to 327 CID (5.4 L) and produced a maximum of 360 hp
(268 kW) making it the fastest of the C-1s and by now almost completely
devoid of chrome.
1962 was the last year for many things: Curved windshield, solid
rear axle, convertible only, 4 wheel drum brakes, open headlights only
brought back for the C-6, A trunk, until 1998
C2 (1963-1967 Sting Ray)
1963 Chevrolet Corvette split-window coupe
The second generation, or mid-year, was designed by Larry Shinoda
with major inspiration from a previous unproduced design called the "Q
Corvette" by Peter Brock and Chuck Pohlmann, and under the styling
direction of Bill Mitchell, started in 1963 and ended in 1967. 1963 would see the introduction of the new Corvette Sting Ray introducing the first year for a coupé with its distinctive split rear window and non-functioning hood vents as well as an independent rear suspension.
The split rear window was discontinued in 1964 due to safety concerns.
Because they made the design too busy, the hood vents were also cut.
Power for 1963 was at 360 hp (268 kW) hitting 375 hp (280 kW) in 1964.
Four-wheel disc brakes were introduced in 1965, as was a "big block" engine option (the 396 in³
(6.5 L) V8). Side exhaust pipes became optional on the 1965 Sting Ray
and persisted through 1967, then again for 1969. Chevrolet would up the
ante in 1966 with the introduction of an even larger 427 in³
(7 L) version, creating what would be one of the most collectible
Corvettes ever. 1967 saw an L-88 version of the 427 introduced which
was rated at 430 hp (321 kW), but unofficial estimates place the actual
output at 550 hp (410 kW) or more. Only twenty such engines were placed
in the 1967 Corvette, and the cars can fetch US$1,000,000 or more in
auction today. From 1967 to 1969, the 1282 ft³/min Holley triple two-barrel carburetor, or Tri-Power,
was available on the 427. The 1967 Corvette originally was going to be
the first of the C3 generation; however, due to delays the C3 had to be
put off until 1968. This was also the first year to introduce the L-88
motor option with 560 bhp (420 kW). Other early options available on
the C2 included an AM-FM radio (mid 1963), air conditioning (1963), a
telescopic steering wheel (1965) and headrests, presumably to prevent
1965 Corvette 327/375 hp Fuel Injected Roadster
The 1965 introduction of the 425 hp 396 in³ big block was ultimately
the harbinger of doom for the Rochester fuel injection system. The
396 in³ option cost $292.70 while the fuel injected 327 in³ engine cost
$538.00. Few people could justify spending $245 more for 50 hp (37 kW)
less. When only 771 fuel-injected cars were built in 1965, Chevrolet
stopped the program.
In 2004, Sports Car International named the Sting Ray number five on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s.
The design of this generation had several inspirations. The first was the contemporary Jaguar E-Type,
one of which Mitchell owned and enjoyed driving frequently. Bill
Mitchell also sponsored a car known as the "Mitchell Sting Ray" in
1959, because Chevrolet no longer participated in factory racing. This
vehicle had the largest impact on the styling of this generation,
although it had no top and did not give away what the coupe would look
like. The third inspiration was a mako shark that Mitchell had caught while deep-sea fishing.
In 1961 the Corvette finally sold over 10,000 vehicles per year, hitting a number of 10,947 in that production year.
In 1962 Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov came up with a
lightweight version of the C2. Concerned about Ford and what they were
doing with the Shelby Cobra, GM planned 100 Grand Sport Corvettes. The
plans never came about and only five were built. They were driven by
historic drivers such as Roger Penske, A. J. Foyt, Jim Hall, and Dick Guldstrand
among others. The Grand Sports, however, had many issues; the aero
package made for a very frightful driving experience to say the least. Delmo Johnson said it was "the only car I ever drove that would lift the front wheels off the ground in all four gears." Dick Thompson was the only driver to drive the Grand Sport to victory. He won a Sports Car Club of America race at Watkins Glen.
Today there are only five left, cars 001-005 all held by private
owners. They are among the most coveted and valuable Corvettes ever
The popular Z06 performance package on the C5 and C6 model Corvettes
is named after a Z06 performance option dating back to the 1963 model
C3 (1968-1982 Stingray)
1982 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe
The third generation, patterned after Chevrolet's "Mako Shark II" (designed by Larry Shinoda),
started in 1968 and ended in 1982. This generation has the distinction
of being introduced to the motoring public in an unorthodox — and
unintended — fashion. 1968 marked the introduction of Mattel's now-famous Hot Wheels
line of 1/64-scale die cast toy cars. General Motors had tried their
best to keep the appearance of the upcoming car a secret, but the
release of the Hot Wheels line several weeks before the Corvette's
unveiling had a certain version of particular interest to Corvette
fans: the "Custom Corvette", a GM-authorized model of the 1968 Corvette.
In 1969, GM enlarged their small block again to 350 CID (5.7 L), and
in 1970, the 427 big block was enlarged to 454 CID (7.4 L). Power
peaked in the 1970 and 1971 models, with the 1970 LT-1 small block
putting out 370 hp (276 kW) and the 1971 454 big block having its last
year of big power with 425 hp (317 kW). In 1972, GM moved to the SAE Net
measurement for power (away from the previous SAE Gross standard),
which resulted in lower values expressed in HP. Along with the move to
unleaded fuel, emission controls, and catalytic converters, power
continued to decline and bottomed out in 1975 — the base ZQ3 engine put
out 165 hp (123 kW), and the optional L82 engine put out 205 hp
(153 kW). Power remained fairly steady for the rest of the C3
generation, ending in 1982 with the 200 hp (149 kW) L83 engine.
Styling changed subtly over the generation. Minor trim changes
occurred through the 1972 model. In 1973, the Corvette dropped the
front chrome bumpers for a urethane-compound
"5 mph" bumper but kept the rear chrome bumpers. In 1974, the rear
chrome bumpers became urethane as well, resulting in the first ever
chrome-less production Corvette. 1975 saw the last year for the
convertible, which did not return until 1986. In 1968 the "Sting Ray"
name was not used, but returned in 1969 as a single word "Stingray"
until 1976, the last year in which the name was used. 1978 saw a 25th
"Silver Anniversary" edition, the first Corvette Indy Pace Car, the
introduction of a "fast back" glass rear window, and the highest
production number until the C-5. In 1980, the Corvette got an
redesign that resulted in a significant reduction in drag. In 1982, an
opening rear hatch was offered for the first time on the Corvette
available on the Collectors Edition model only. A new engine featuring
cross fire injection, a fuel injection carburator hybrid, was also
introduced that year as the L83. It was the only engine available in
1982, and was not offered with a manual transmission.
A C4 Corvette competing at an autocross
The fourth generation Corvette began production in March 1983 as a
1984 model. The 1983 model year was skipped due to production problems,
although 44 prototype 1983 models were completed. All 44 1983 model
year prototypes assembled were crushed except for one (the 23rd
produced), which is displayed at the National Corvette Museum in
Bowling Green, Kentucky. The C4 production started in 1984 and ended in
This first year model of the C4 carried over the L83 engine from the previous generation of Corvette. The L83
engine had a unique fuel delivery method, named "Crossfire", a
dual-throttle-body injection system. The C4 was praised for its sleek
styling and its groundbreaking aerodynamic design .
With the first major body, chassis and suspension change since 1963,
the new C4 coupe incorporated a rear glass hatch for much improved
cargo access, all new brakes with aluminum calipers, all aluminum frame
and suspension for weight savings and rigidity, and the first one piece
targa top with no center reinforcement . The Corvette C4 came standard
with an electronic dashboard with digital liquid crystal displays
for the speedometer and tachometer. The 1984 C4 was a complete and
total redesign except for its engine, and the emphasis was on handling
with the introduction of the front transverse composite leaf spring
(still used today on new Corvettes). This handling focus came with the
penalty of a harsh, uncompromising ride.
The 1984 and 1985 were the only C4's to lack the third brake light
(CHMSL, Center High Mounted Signal Light) which was required by federal
law beginning in 1986. From 1984 through 1988, the Corvette used an
unusual "4+3" transmission — a 4-speed manual coupled to an automatic
overdrive on the top three gears. It was designed to help the Corvette
meet U.S. fuel economy standards. The transmission was problematic and
was eventually replaced by a much more modern ZF
6-speed manual gearbox in 1989. This new transmission was also the
first to feature Computer Aided Gear Selection (CAGS), which used a
solenoid to lock out 2nd gear during certain driving conditions. This
allowed the Corvette to maintain EPA fuel economy ratings high enough
to avoid the "gas guzzler" tax. Beginning in 1985, the 230 horsepower
(170 kW) L98 engine with tuned port fuel injection was installed in
most Corvettes, replacing the throttle body fuel injected powerplant.
In 1986 Corvette saw its 2nd Indy Pace Car, this time a convertible.
First drop top since 1975, the pace car was available in several
colors, but not in a coupe. It was also touted as the first pace car
not to be modified for Indy Pace duty.
1988 saw the 35th Anniversary Edition. A limited production of cars
were made, each with an ID number on a special badge next to the gear
selector. These Corvettes were easily identified as they were all white
on white on white, with white wheels, T-tops, and exterior trim.
Inside, seats, rugs, shifter and steering wheel etc. were all white.
For the 1992 model year, the 300 horsepower (220 kW) LT1
engine was introduced, which significantly improved the performance of
the base C4 cars. Also introduced in 1992 was Acceleration Slip
Regulation (ASR), a form of traction control which utilized the
Corvette's brakes, spark retard and throttle close-down to prevent
excessive rear wheel spin and possible loss of control. The traction
control device could be switched off if desired.
1993 became the Corvette's 40th anniversary. This time the C4 had a
special commemorative Ruby Red color, badges and embroidered seat
backs, it was available in any body style and option level. The 1993
Corvette also marks the introduction of GM's first Passive Keyless
In 1996, the final year of C4 production had a few special Corvettes
and options. The Grand Sport, Collector Edition, OBD II (On-Board
Diagnostics) run flat tires, and the LT-4 engine. The 330 hp (246 kW) LT4
V-8 was installed in all manual transmission equipped Corvettes. All
1996 Corvettes with automatic transmissions still utilized the LT1.
The C4's handling characteristics and cornering ability allowed it to dominate SCCA events and races during the 1980s and 1990's
The C4 had plenty of firsts: EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection),
transverse front leaf spring, ABS, Airbags, traction control, aluminum
frame suspension and engine, digital gauges, highest HP engine,
overhead quad-cams, 6-speed transmission, computer controlled; climate
control, seats, windows, locks, gauges etc. The C4 was the last
Corvette with a centrally located fuel filler (1963), opposing
windshield wipers (1953), cast iron engine block (1953), 4 round
taillights (1961), fiberglass body panels (1953), distributor ignition
B2K Callaway Twin-Turbo
In 1987, the factory B2K option became available from the factory.
Corvette was a Regular Production Option (RPO B2K), the only time in
Chevrolet's history a specialist manufacturer was entrusted with a
technically advanced high performance RPO. The B2K option was
eventually replaced by the ZR1 option, though they coexisted from
1990-1991. The early B2K's produced 345 hp (257 kW) and 450 ft·lbf
(610 N·m) of torque. The later B2K's produced 450 hp (336 kW) and 613 ft·lbf (831 N·m) of torque.
In 1986, the Corvette team approached Lotus,
then a GM subsidiary, with the idea of developing an ultra-high
performance vehicle based on the C4 Corvette. With input from GM, Lotus
designed a new engine to replace the traditional pushrod L98 V-8 that powered the standard C4. The result was the LT5,
an aluminum-block V-8 with the same bore centers as the L98, but with
four overhead camshafts and 32 valves. Lotus designed a unique air
management system for the engine to provide a wider power band by
shutting off 8 of the 16 intake runners and fuel injectors when the
engine was at part-throttle, while still giving the ZR-1 375 hp when at
wide open throttle. Lotus also aided in the development of the ZR-1's standard "FX3" active suspension system.
A 1990 ZR-1 set a 24 hour speed endurance record at the Firestone
test track in Fort Stockton Texas using a relatively stock LT5 engine
with modification that included removal of catalytic converters. The
Tommy Morrison racing team averaged 175 MPH, including time for
re-fueling and several driver changes.
In 1991, all Corvettes received updates to body work, interior, and
wheels. The convex rear fascia that set the 1990 ZR-1 apart from the
base model was now included on L98 Corvettes, making the styling of the
expensive ZR-1 even closer to that of the base cars. The most obvious
difference remaining between the base and ZR-1 models besides the wider
rear wheels was the location of the CHMSL (center high mounted stop
lamp), which was integrated into the new rear fascia used on the base
model, but remained at the top of the rear-hatch on the ZR-1's.
Further changes were made in 1992: ZR-1 badges were displayed on
both front fenders and traction control was added as a standard
feature. In 1993, Lotus redesigned the cylinder heads and valvetrain of
the LT5, resulting in a horsepower increase from 375 to 405. In
addition, a new exhaust gas recirculation system improved emissions
control. Production of the ZR-1 ended in 1995, after 6,939 cars had
Grand Sport (1996)
1996 Corvette Grand Sport
Chevrolet released the Grand Sport version in 1996 at the end of C4
Corvette production. The "Grand Sport" moniker was a nod to the
original Grand Sport model produced in 1963. A total of 1,000 Grand
Sports were produced. The 810 coupes and 190 convertibles were produced
with a special VIN sequence to differentiate them from the other 1996
C4 models. The 1996 Grand Sport was equipped with the LT4
engine, which produced 330 hp (246 kW) and 340 lb·ft (461 N·m) of
torque. All LT4-powered Corvettes included a Grand Sport nameplate on
the engine's throttle body. The Grand Sport came only in Admiral Blue
with a white center stripe, distinctive black five spoke wheels, and
two red hash marks on the hood above the left front wheel. Interior
colors were black and red only. A hardtop option was not available with
Grand Sport convertibles.
Collector Edition (1996)
To commemorate the final year of the C4, Chevrolet reissued a
Collector Edition. Also produced in low numbers, all CE's were painted
Sebring Silver, a color reminiscent of the 1963 Sting Ray and later
retained for the C-5 color lineup. A near mirror image of the Grand
Sport, if properly equipped, it also got the 5 spoke "A mold" wheels in
matching silver, bigger ZR-1 brakes, and a myriad of standard features.
Like all production 1996 Corvettes, the LT-4 received the ZF 6-speed
gearbox thought by many to be the strongest GM transmission ever
Automatics were an option, and still retained the LT-1. CE's were also
available in a convertible with 3 interior color choices, red, silver
and black. On all four sides of the car, a special set of "Collector
Edition" flags were appointed, and also embroidered in the seat backs.
2003 Chevrolet Corvette Coupé
1998 Corvette Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Replica
Production of the C5 Corvette began in 1997 and ended with the 2004
model year. The C5 was a major change from the long-running C4. The
transmission was moved to the rear of the car to form an integrated
assembly and was connected to the engine by a driveshaft. Gone were
most of the squeaks and rattles of the C4. The new C5 was judged by the
automotive press as improved in nearly every area over the previous
Also introduced with the C5 was GM's new LS1
small block. This third-generation small block was a completely new
design, including a distributor-less ignition and a new cylinder firing
order. It was initially rated at 345 horsepower (257 kW) and 350 ft·lbf
(470 N·m) torque, but was increased to 350 horsepower (260 kW) in 2001.
For its first year, the C5 was available only as a coupe, even
though the new platform was designed from the ground up to be a
convertible. The convertible returned to the lineup in 1998, followed
by the predecessor to the Z06, the fixed-roof coupe (FRC), in 1999.
The Corvette's 50th Anniversary was celebrated June 20-21, 2003, in Nashville, Tennessee.
The venue provided a bonanza of flawlessly restored Corvettes. Also, a
worldwide caravan of over 10,000 Corvettes gathered at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. with every model year of the Corvette along with engineering and restoration
seminars. Participants were also invited to visit the factory located
across from the museum, with special tours not provided to the general
public. The anniversary also brought some Chevrolet Concept Vehicles
into focus including the approved-for-production Chevrolet SSR.
Also on hand were several Corvette race cars, including the Corvette SS
built by Zora Arkus-Duntov and the C5-R that won its class at Le Mans.
Among the many displays were examples of the 2003 50th Anniversary
Edition as well as a few 2004 "Commemorative Edition" and Indy Pace Car
Recently, the factory has expanded to build the Cadillac XLR roadster, which shares its platform with the sixth-generation Corvette. Bowling Green is also home to the Corvette Museum,
which celebrates this American automotive icon by displaying in
chronological order the various regular production models as well as
some unique one-off versions created by Chevrolet. Bowling Green is
also the home of the National Corvette Homecoming, a large annual gathering of Corvettes and their owners.
The building in Flint in which the first cars were assembled was
spun off with GM's Delphi Electronics division and later donated to GMI/Kettering University in the late 1990s. The building has since been remodeled and is now the C.S. Mott Engineering and Science Center, housing the Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry programs. In the garage housing the school's Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) club is a plaque commemorating it as the place where the first Corvette was built.
A successor to the FRC C5 made its debut in 2001 as the Z06, a nod
to the high performance Z06 version of the C2 Corvette of the 1960s.
The Z06 models replace the FRC hardtop (1999-2000) models as the
highest performance C5 Corvette. Instead of a heavier double-overhead
cam engine like the ZR-1, the Z06 used an LS6, a high-output version of
the standard LS1 Corvette engine producing 385 hp (287 kW). Although
the Z06's total power output was less than that of the last ZR-1's, the
Z06 was lighter and therefore quicker than the ZR-1. Despite these
specifications, the ZR-1 still had a higher top speed, thus maintaining
its "King of the Hill" status.
As with the ZR-1, Chevrolet found that added power output did the
Z06 little good without platform modifications to bring the rest of the
car up to par. A hardtop body, upgraded suspension, larger wheels and
tires, a new six-speed manual transmission, along with improved gearing
and functional brake cooling ducts, all became part of the total
package. The Z06 is 38 lb (17.3 kg) lighter than the previous hardtop
C5 thanks to a titanium exhaust (from the catalytic converter back),
thinner glass, lighter wheels, and a lighter battery. From 2002 onward,
the Z06 produced 405 hp (302 kW) thanks to minor engine modifications
including a more aggressive camshaft profile, lightweight sodium filled
exhaust valves, stiffer valve springs, and deletion of the precats.
Many dynamometer test have proven that Chevrolet underrated the engine by 20 hp (15 kW) giving it a total of 425 hp.
The 2002 Z06 also received revised rear shock valving and steel
links to replace plastic ones of the 2001 model. An Electron blue color
replaced Speedway white. The HUD became standard, and the previous
forged wheels were replaced by lighter spun cast ones. The fender Z06
badges bear "405 hp" on them. The 2003 models received special silver
50th anniversary badges and revised headliner. Later 2003 models
received a more durable steel shift fork instead of aluminum.
GM claimed that 405 hp (302 kW) versions of the Z06 could make the
0-60 run in 3.9 seconds and through the quarter mile in 12.4 seconds.
In the hands of experienced drivers the 2002-2004 Z06 has made 11
The current quarter mile record is 11.7. The car's top speed of 176 mph
(283 km/h) was achieved in 5th gear at 6,500 rpm(redline), as 6th gear
was an overdrive/economy gear. It proved to be a well rounded track
vehicle as well, with the ability to do more than simply accelerate.
Thanks in part to its upgraded suspension system, the Z06 is capable of
holding its own against contemporary versions of the Dodge Viper, Ford Mustang Cobra R, and even the Porsche 911 around a road track.
The 2004 Z06 Commemorative Edition came with a carbon fiber hood
which saved some weight and also received polished aluminum wheels. In
addition it was equipped with a Nürburgring-tested suspension tuning to
improve handling, along with an exclusive Le Mans blue color.
The C5-R racer was built by Pratt & Miller
for GM Racing. It was based on the C5 road car but had a longer
wheelbase, a wider track, an enlarged engine and more aerodynamic
bodywork with a rear wing and exposed headlamps. It took part in the American Le Mans Series in the GTS Class and competed in five 24 Hours of Le Mans races as a Corvette Racing entry.
- 1999 The car's debut racing season. Initially it was powered
by a 6000 cc version of the 5700 cc Corvette V-8 engine but after four
races the engine capacity was increased to 7000 cc.
- 2000 The car's first victory and first year at Le Mans.
- 2001 The racing season produced eight victories in ten races, including an overall win in the 24 Hours of Daytona and a 1-2 finish in the GTS class at Le Mans.
- 2002 In 2002 the C5-R repeated its 1-2 victory in the GTS
class at Le Mans and also dominated the GTS class in the American Le
Mans Series. A new transaxle unit replaced the previous year's separate
transmission and differential. Corvette faced stiff domination from the
new Privateer Non-Ferrari backed Prodrive-built Ferrari 550,
which led many laps at Le Mans, but the Ferraris suffered problems late
in the race, resulting in another Corvette GTS class victory.
- 2003 In 2003, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest placed additional restrictions on all 24 Hours of Le Mans competitors, reducing power by 10% in an attempt to slow the cars. At the 2003 season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring,
the C5-Rs remained in winning form, with one of them finishing first in
class and eighth overall. Also in 2003 a special red, white, and blue
color scheme was introduced to celebrate the Corvette's 50th
anniversary. At Le Mans the Prodrive Ferraris took first place and
spoiled the anniversary and GM's effort for a three-peat in the GTS
- 2004 The C5-R was again victorious in the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
One of the Privateer Prodrive Built Ferraris led most of the race.
About halfway into the event, both Prodrive cars suffered mechanical
problems, causing them to pit and lose laps. The Corvettes went on to
finish 1-2 in their class.
In 2005, the factory Corvette Team began racing the C6.R to coincide
with the new sixth generation (C6) Corvette being released to the
public. Private teams, primarily in Europe, continued to race the C5-R.
- 2005 In the FIA GT Championship,
the GLPK-Carsport team won races at Imola, Italy and Zhuhai, China, and
finished on the podium on several occasions. In the ALMS, Pacific Coast
Motorsports scored several podium finishes behind the new factory C6-R
cars. SRT fielded a C5-R in the Belcar series in Belgium, and PSI Experience did the same in the FFSA GT Championship in France.
- 2006 The C5-R returned to Le Mans for the first time as a non-factory entry, run by Le Mans regular Luc Alphand. It finished 3rd in the GT1 class behind the C6.R and Prodrive Aston Martin. C5-Rs were run in Belcar and FFSA GT once more.
- 2007 GLPK-Carsport and SRT run C5-Rs in FIA GT, while Luc Alphand runs a Corvette for the Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Chevrolet Corvette C6 Convertible
The new C6 gets an overhaul of the suspension geometry, all new
bodywork with exposed headlamps (for the first time since 1962), a
larger passenger compartment, and a larger 6.0 L engine. Overall,
shorter and narrower than the C5, in response to criticism that the C5
Corvette looked too wide. The 6.0 L LS2 V8 produces 400 hp (298 kW) at
6000 rpm and 400 ft·lbf (542 N·m) of torque at 4400 rpm. Its redline is
increased to 6500 rpm.
2006 Chevrolet Corvette C6 Coupe
The C6 retains the relatively good fuel economy of the C5, due in part to its relatively low drag coefficient and low weight, achieving 18/27 mpg
(city/highway) when equipped with an automatic transmission. The manual
version is slightly better at 18/28, and is fitted with Computer Aided
Gear Selection (CAGS), has been included in all manual transmission
Corvettes since 1989 to improve fuel economy by requiring drivers to
shift from 1st gear directly to 4th when at lower RPM's.
For 2008, the Corvette received a mild freshening: a new LS3
engine with displacement increased to 6.2 liters, resulting in 430 hp
(321 kW) and 424 lb·ft (575 N·m) of torque. The manual transmission
also has improved shift linkage, while the automatic is set up for
quicker shifts giving the C6 Automatic a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds,
faster than any other production automatic Corvette. The wheels were
also updated to a new five-spoke design.
2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The new Z06 arrived as a 2006 model in the third quarter of 2005. It
has a 7.0 L (7,008 cc/427.6 in³) version of the small block engine
codenamed LS7. Officially certified output is 505 hp (377 kW). Its performance is significantly better than the Ford Mustang and comparable to the Dodge Viper SRT-10.
Official performance figures indicate that the Z06 can reach 60 mph
(97 km/h) in just 3.8 seconds from a standing start in first gear,
hitting 0 - 100 in about 7.8 - 8.2, with a quarter mile time of 11.7
and a top speed of 197 mph (electronically limited). In the summer of
2005, GM and Corvette Racing driver Jan Magnussen brought the new Z06 to the Nürburgring in Germany. Magnussen drove the Z06 to a time of 7:42.99. In their March 2007 comparison, Car and Driver selected the Corvette Z06 as the winner of their three-way comparison test of performance cars, with the Porsche 911 GT3 finishing second and the Lotus Exige S third.
In addition to the larger engine, the C6 Z06 has a dry sump
oiling system, ensuring proper engine lubrication during periods of
high (lateral) acceleration and allowing the engine to be mounted low
inside the chassis. Connecting rods made out of titanium further lighten the reciprocating mass of the engine while being stronger than the steel rods they replace.
In a radical departure from anything Chevrolet has ever done before, the primary structural element of the C6 Z06 is aluminum instead of steel as on the non-Z06 cars. The hydroformed
aluminum frame remains dimensionally identical to its steel brethren
but is significantly lighter. The front fenders are made of carbon fiber
to reduce weight, while wider rear fenders allow for the wider tires
necessary to deal with the engine's increased power. For an additional
mass savings of 6Kg, the Z06 replaced the base model's aluminum engine
cradle with one made from high pressure die cast magnesium.
The Z06 officially weighs 3132 lb (1421 kg), giving it a power to
weight ratio of 6.2 lb/hp (3.8 kg/kW or 361 bhp (269 kW) per tonne).
The C6 Corvette Z06 is the first 500+ hp production car to avoid the
U.S. government Gas Guzzler tax.
The Z06 was the official pace car for both the 2006 Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 race. The special Pace Car edition Z06 was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January. It was also awarded to St. Louis Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein as his prize for being the 2006 World Series MVP, although Eckstein does not know how to drive a stick. The 2007 Z06 was also one of Automobile Magazine's "Automobile All-Stars" for 2007.
2007 Z06 had minor changes including retuning of the suspension
after some magazine test drivers announced the suspension did not
perform up to their original estimates. Chevrolet announced the models
were pre released, and for 2007 they would retune the damping. In more
recent tests the Corvette has shown improved driveability and track
2008 Z06 received the new TR6060 six speed manual transmission which
replaces the T-56. The steering rack was improved, and the interior
plastic bezel was improved. An optional full leather interior (option
3LZ) also became available in limited quantities due to constraints.
The Corvette variant, now officially known as the ZR1 was first
reported by several print and online publications who were speculating
that Chevrolet was developing a super high performance production
version of the Corvette and were internally calling it Blue Devil
(named after GM CEO Rick Wagoner's alma mater, Duke University).
Wagoner is quoted as saying, "I wonder what they can do for 100,000
dollars?" during a GM board meeting speaking about Chevrolet designers.
The production version is expected to debut at the 2008 North American International Auto Show and be available as a 2009 model.
Corvette ZR1 at 2008 Chicago Auto Show
The ZR1 was formally announced in a December 2007 press statement by
General Motors, where it was revealed that their target of 100
horsepower/liter has been reached by a new "LS9" engine, a Eaton supercharged
6.2-liter engine producing a confirmed 638 hp (476 kW) and
604 foot-pounds force (819 N·m) of torque with a sticker price of about
Top speed is 205 mph (330 km/h). Along with an improved motor, the ZR1
also comes with extensive carbon-fiber body parts including (but not
limited to) wider fenders, the hood, roof panel, roof bow, front fascia
splitter and rocker moldings. However, the car is heavier and more
front weight biased than the Z06 because of the supercharger, with a
weight distribution of 52% at the front and 48% at the rear. Tires were
also increased in diameter and width, along with bigger and stronger
brakes, adjustable suspension, and optional chrome wheels and a premium
Spy photos from recent hot laps at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, following
the 2007 American Le Mans Series final race, show the ZR1 to have
carbon-ceramic brakes, extensive carbon fiber (front quarterpanels, A-
and B- pillars, as well as the roof and possibly other body panels),
and a full-width rear lip spoiler.
- 2005 The C6.R was unveiled for its first race at the 2005 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race of the American Le Mans Series. Later, in the 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans,
it made up for Sebring by placing first and second in the GT1 car class
(5th and 6th overall) after a lengthy duel with the Aston Martin team's
DBR9 racers. Corvette C6.R went on to win its class at every race it
entered in the 2005 ALMS season.
- 2006 In 2006 Corvette C6.R won both American Le Mans GT1 Championships: Teams and Manufacturers.
- 2007 On March 17, 2007 the C6.R won the GT1 class in the 12
Hours of Sebring. For Le Mans 2007, there were four C6.R's on the entry
list, as the two Corvette Racing entries were joined by single entries
from the Luc Alphand Adventures and PSI-Motorsport teams. However, the
Corvettes could not equate their increased numbers into a GT1 class
win, as Corvette Racing finished second in class, one lap behind the
class-winning DBR9 entered by Aston Martin Racing.
According to several issues of Motor Trend magazine, a C7 Corvette will debut in the 2010 calendar year.
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