Every Generation of Corvette, Ranked
I must admit that I spent most of my youth in and around the garages of Werner Meier, one of the nation’s most notable Corvette collectors and enthusiasts. These garages that filled not only with its Corvettes, but also those of its customers to restore over the years. I have been incredibly spoiled seeing every Corvette it seems. With so much exposure to all these Corvettes, you quickly find your favorites and less.
Bringing me to C2, the crown jewel. While I liked the C1, the sparkling lines, which were a product of its debut in the 50s, which just didn’t vibrate. No, I liked when these lines evolved to become more elegant and daring, which gave rise to the C2.
If you’re unfamiliar with Corvette history, the C2 would be the saving grace of the moniker. While the Corvette was doing “well” in the 1950s and finally racing in 1957, GM didn’t have it and the program was nearly killed. Bill Mitchell, the chief designer of the Corvette at the time, would eventually fund the development of the C2 out of his own pocket. When I had a chance to listen to designer Peter Brock talk about Bill’s work on the C2, he mentioned GM’s conditions for keeping the car: It was not allowed to carry the name “Chevrolet” or ” Corvette”. Thus, the “Sting Ray” was born. Bill’s direct contributions would keep the Corvette going from there.
- C2: What a great second start.
- C3: There are usually two Corvettes that refer to the “iconic” Corvette that everyone (okay, really baby boomers) love, and that’s the C2 and the C3. The lines were a bit more aggressive and clean on the C3.
- C7: The C7 brought the Corvette back to a body style that mimicked the lines of its fiesty C2 and C3 brethren that designers somehow hid in the intervening decades.
- C8: While I agree the mid-engine doesn’t really look like a Corvette, it’s still a remarkably crafted vehicle, retaining the lines of the Corvette heritage, while making a mid-engined sports car approachable to almost everyone. Sometimes in design you need a place to go, and Corvette decided to go all-in.
- C4: This little door nook was near the bottom of my ranking, but after driving this guy I fell in love with the retro dash and just had to move it up. Sure, it’s a corner, but it still has sharp design lines, fun colors and probably the last time the Corvette really felt like a Corvette until C7.
- C1: lines from 1953 and later years up to C2 were just a bit too much round. The ’60-’62 started adding anglesbut still… too sparkling.
- C6: I’m embarrassed that most of my writers consider this generation their favorite, but I understand where they’re coming from when they say the Corvette of your youth is your favorite. Just mine (C4) didn’t make it that high on my list. The C6 was the continuation of the bloated look of GM’s clumsy design era, and begged to be bolder.
Which brings me to the last on the list…