Tag: Chevrolet Corvette

GM envisioned an expansion of the Corvette long before announcing the Corvette SUV – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

GM envisioned an expansion of the Corvette long before announcing the Corvette SUV – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


A four-seater ‘Vette would have taken on the bigger Thunderbird

News broke this week that GM’s considering turning the Corvette into a sub-brand rather than just another model in the Chevrolet lineup, with an electric four-door and an SUV. Details are scant at the time, but apparently GM plans to forge ahead with this for the 2025 model year and has been benchmarking Porsche’s Taycan and Cayenne. But, just as the suggestion of the mid-engine Corvette took decades to come to fruition, the idea of expanding the Corvette beyond its two-seater sports car format to keep up with the competition has been around at least since the early Sixties.

Not counting the Waldorf Nomad show car, an early take by Chevrolet on what the Corvette would have looked like as a station wagon, the earliest proposal for something other than a two-seater Corvette came in 1961, when Ed Cole asked Bill Mitchell to design a four-seat version of the pending 1963 Corvette. Mitchell, according to an article that Michael Lamm wrote for the December 1980 issue of Special Interest Autos, then turned to Larry Shinoda to make it work.

“Buick had already designed the 1963 Riviera but was still 18 months away from production,” Lamm wrote. “Design of the standard two-place Corvette for ’63 had also been completed and was being released for tooling.”

Shinoda and the special projects studio thus added six inches to the Corvette’s wheelbase, trying not to alter the car’s shape too much. The doors soaked up much of that length, which makes sense, given the need for rear-seat passengers to get in and out, but Lamm also noted an apparent stretch to the split-window glass and an increase in roof height.

It wasn’t just a clay styling study, either, getting a designation of XP-796. The special projects studio added actual rear seats that folded down as well as lengthened door panels, longer door glass, and stretched internal door hardware, judging by the fact that the doors could still be opened. The longer doors even necessitated slight reworking of the door cuts into the roof. In addition, as Lamm noted, the engineers got involved in the project, strengthening “the pickup area of the 1963 Corvette frame to accept the extra weight of a four-passenger version.”

In hindsight, perhaps Shinoda and the engineers shouldn’t have taken the concept beyond the styling study stage, however. “GM design director Charles M. (Chuck) Jordan reflects that no one at GM Styling, as it was then called, really cared for the four-seater,” Lamm wrote. “Most thought it was ungainly at best.”

Shinoda offered another reason why the four-seater Corvette never went anywhere, according to CorvetteBlogger:

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The most valuable Corvettes from C1 to C6 – Andrew Newton @Hagerty


Happy National Corvette Day! This celebration of America’s sports car, which happens to fall just four days before the 4th of July, marks 68 years since the very first Corvette rolled off the line. Chevrolet has sold over 1.75 million examples of America’s favorite two-seater since, spanning eight generations. Each of those generations is distinct, offering a wide range of looks, performance, and price. That means there’s a Corvette for nearly every taste and budget, from four-figure daily drivers to million-dollar historic race cars.

Our Valuation mavens currently track market prices of all regular production Corvettes from the first generation C1 (1953–63) to the sixth generation C6 (2005–13). The lowest #4-condition (Fair) value is $3600 and the highest #1-condition (Concours) value is $3.1M. With a gulf that wide, we can’t possibly cover them all on National Corvette Day, so we figured we would highlight the king of the collectibility hill for each generation. Strap in, Vette fans.

C1 (1953–62): 1953 Corvette Roadster

#2 (Excellent) condition average value: $224,000

The 1953 Corvette was the one that started it all, and it’s good to be first. Although its sweet looks wrote a check that its Blue Flame six engine and two-speed Powerglide couldn’t quite cash, it set the Vette down the path to becoming America’s sports car, and for that reason it will always be collectible. With just 300 built, all in Polo White, 1953 is also the Corvette’s rarest year by far.

The Corvette got more refined and quicker as the 1950s went on, so if you want a C1 to drive a later one is probably a better choice. A ’53, meanwhile, serves more to round out a collection. If you’re in love with the ’53’s smooth sides and tail fins, however, a ’54 or a ’55 is a much cheaper alternative. The ’54 is essentially the same car but GM built over 10 times as many examples and a #2-condition car can be had for under $100,000. The 1955, meanwhile, has the looks of the ’53 but introduced the small-block V-8 to the Corvette for the first time. It carries a #2-condition value of $139,000.

C2 (1963–67): 1967 Corvette 427/430-hp L88 Coupe

#2 (Excellent) condition average value: $2.5M

The C2’s five-year production run was the Corvette’s shortest, but a lot happened in that time. The car gained independent rear suspension and a coupe model in 1963, added disc brakes and available big-block engines in 1965, lost its optional fuel injection in 1966 (injection returned in 1982), and introduced what would become the most valuable production Corvette of them all–the L88–in 1967.

It’s a legend today, but the L88-powered Corvette was something of a secret back in 1967. Although it was technically available to the public, GM never actively promoted the L88, instead hoping that only serious race teams would order what was the most hardcore Corvette around. The L88 was essentially a competition engine for the road with aluminum cylinder heads, solid-lifter camshaft, and forged pistons for a 12.5:1 compression ratio. 103 octane fuel was required.

To further discourage average Joe from ticking the box for an L88, GM intentionally underrated it at 430 hp, 5 horses fewer than the cheaper L71. Selecting an L88 also added F41 suspension, Positraction, J56 heavy-duty brakes, heavy-duty aluminum radiator, and Muncie M22 four-speed while deleting a heater or radio. This was a Corvette for the track, not the turnpike.

The L88 option was only around for three years, 1967–69. The ’67 version is the only one with the more attractive C2 body. It’s also the rarest with just 20 cars built. By 1968, more people had caught on and 80 of them ordered an L88 that year. In 1969, 116 people ordered one. The last ’67 L88 to hit the open market was earlier this year at Mecum’s Glendale auction, where a Sunfire Yellow coupe sold for $2,695,000.

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Even the malaise-era Chevy Corvette is still fun to drive, and value-priced – David Conwill @Hemmings


What’s the cheapest Corvette? It’s definitely not 1953 or ’54. The low book value on those doesn’t fall much under $45,000. How about 1958, with its exuberant use of trim? It has an average retail value of nearly $51,000, so probably not. Perhaps a 1965 roadster with a carbureted small-block and an automatic? That’s still $51,500.

Prices for the early third-generation cars (“C3” to most enthusiasts) continue to trail their older siblings. A ’68 Stingray roadster has a book value of $41,800, and the coupe is only $6,700 less. Fast forward a decade, however, and some of the sting had gone out of the Stingray: Big-block engines went away after 1974, the roadster was dropped after 1975, and the Stingray name itself was last seen on a Corvette in 1976 (at least until the C7 model debuted in 2014).

The 1978 Corvette was a heavily restyled car, thanks especially to its large rear greenhouse—somewhat recalling the 1963-’67 coupes. Nevertheless, it’s still recognizably the body that arrived 10 years earlier. The similarities notwithstanding, these days the average ’78 doesn’t quite garner $14,500.

Now, in fairness, 1978 isn’t actually the cheapest third-generation Corvette. For some reason, 1976 holds that distinction—your basic Bicentennial Corvette has an average value of only $12,800. Also, the equipment and condition make all the difference: The aluminum wheels and air conditioning on our feature car, owned by Mike Richards of Peoria, Arizona, bump the average retail up by another $2,000, but it’s still an affordable car by any standard.

It’s also a capable car—despite being from the heart of the much-maligned 1973-’83 “malaise era,” when manufacturers were still struggling to catch up with emissions and safety mandates. At the time, people (mostly automotive journalists) looked down their noses at GM for keeping the basic Corvette chassis in production from 1963. The suspension architecture actually lasted right through the 1982 model year, giving General Motors plenty of time to refine it for whatever purpose it was used. Also, this is a classic car magazine, so when have vintage components ever scared us?

The third-generation Corvette’s 1960s heritage means it can be (and frequently was) turned into a capable mount for competitive road racing. The platform’s use during the brougham period of the 1970s means that it’s also capable of a more luxurious, grand-tourer type of ride. Funny folks called these disco-era ’Vettes “two-seat Buicks,” but ask yourself how much flat-out road racing you do in your muscle car, versus the amount of highway driving.

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From “Blackjack” to Stingray: The Inside Story of How the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Came to Be – Paul A. Eisenstein @TheDetroitBureau


The original prototype was a “clown suit” hiding the plan to bring out a mid-engine supercar.

Original Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov helped develop these concepts: (l-r) CERV I, CERV III and CERV II.

With the launch of the new, eighth-generation Corvette, Chevrolet finally gets what it – and many fans – have long wanted: a mid-engine design that can truly compete with some of the world’s best sports cars.

Mike Petrucci, the lead development engineer, stands alongside an early C8 “mule.”

It’s been a long time coming. Zora Arkus-Duntov, Corvette’s first chief engineer, began tinkering with the concept way back in 1960 with the CERV I concept vehicle. He described it as “a design without limit” and an “admirable tool,” contending that it showed GM “what to put in Corvette.”

Throughout the years, Arkus-Duntov and his successors would continue to tinker with the mid-engine concept, launching additional prototypes like CERV II and CERV III. But it would take until the middle of this past decade before senior management at General Motors finally gave the idea the go, according to Mike Petrucci, who served as lead development engineer on the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, or C8.

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Sequential series: Pete Vicari putting his trio of pre-production ’63 Corvettes up for sale – Larry Edsall @ClassicCars.com


Pete Vicari grew up in a family owned construction and real-estate development business in Harvey, Louisiana, just south of New Orleans. But he also grew up with a love of Detroit muscle cars and especially Chevrolet Corvettes.

His passion for such muscular machines led to the founding 25 years ago of the Vicari Auction Company, which regularly conducts collector car sales in Mississippi, Texas and Georgia. Vicari’s next sale is scheduled for April 17-18 at Biloxi, and will be followed just a couple of weeks later by an annual auction in Nocona, Texas.

While such auctions are very public events, a week ago Vicari shared some previously very privately held news: Not only had he collected three pre-production 1963 Chevrolet Corvette prototypes — and with sequential serial numbers — but he has decided it is time to sell them.

However, there is a catch:He wants the cars to stay together as a set.

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The last of the first Corvettes heads to auction in Monterey – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings


Of all the ‘Vettes you’ve loved before

It was Harley Earl that sold GM on the need to produce an all-American sports car, and to test the waters, his Special Projects team created the EX-122 concept for display at the 1953 Motorama display in New York City. Less than six months later, the car – now named the Corvette – was in production, hand-built by a team of workers in Flint, Michigan. Just 300 examples were built that year, and this August, chassis E53F001300, the final 1953 Corvette built, heads to auction at Mecum’s Monterey sale.

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