I decided to add this page for all you Trivia buffs out there, plus CCCC Members can use this page to study for any upcoming questions that will be asked for the monthly Trivia question during each CCCC meeting!
In 1951 a group of Harley Earl’s “Special Projects” crew began work on a GM sports car. Bob McLean designed a general layout for the car.. The project was code named, “Opel”.
William Durant, the founder of GM, said a wallpaper pattern he saw in a Paris hotel in 1908 inspired the bow tie logo. Supposedly, he ripped off a small piece of it and brought it back to Detroit.
The man who named the Corvette was Myron Scott… Then Chevrolet’s Chief photographer.
The Jaguar XK120 is believed to have been the inspiration for the first Corvette.
The Corvette was the first and last car with a “Wrap-Around” windshield.
Corvette was not the first to be made with a fiberglass body, but it was the first to be built by a company the size of Chevrolet.
Corvettes have been assembled in three different cities. Flint, St. Louis, and Bowling Green.
“Turbojet” as first used on Corvette engine air cleaners with a horsepower rating of greater than 390hp.
C1 – 1953 to 1962
The original front emblem and horn button on the “Autorama” Corvette featured crossed American and Checkered flags. It was discovered that using an American flag on a product trade mark was against the law and the emblem was changed before the New York Motorama.
The hash faces up on front fender molding of the “Autorama”, 1953 Corvette and on the actual production car it faces down.
On Tuesday, June 30, 1953 Corvette #1 Serial Number E53F001001 rolled of the assembly line, and Corvette production began.
Want the rarest Corvette ?- In 1953 the first two Corvettes, VIN Numbers 1 and 2 were said to have been destroyed, but no records prove that fact, and there are no witnesses to the destruction.
The first Corvettes were actually “rolled” off the assembly line. Chevrolet was not prepared for grounding to a fiberglass body; the cars would not start.
The first five Corvettes to come off the assembly line did not have an outside rear view mirror.
The only thing really new on the 1953 Corvette was the fiberglass body. Everything else was directly off the Chevrolet parts shelf. Because of this, the first Corvette was essentially a regular 1952 Chevrolet that looked like a million dollars!
Of the 314 Corvettes hand built in 1953 only 183 were sold because of “average” performance at such a high price, $3513 the Jaguar Xk120 sold for $3345, $168 less than the Corvette.
There are 13 vertical bars or “teeth” are in the grill of 1956 Corvettes.
One of the few ways to differentiate between a 1956 and 1957 Corvette without opening the hood is to look at the inside rear view mirror. On the 1956 model, it adjusts with a thumbscrew, on the 1957 adjustment requires a wrench to loosen the locknut.
The “Polo White” color was last used in 1957.
1957 was the first year a limited slip differential was offered as an option.
1958 was the LAST year of the tach with the “cumulative engine revolution counter” which first appeared in the 1953 Corvette. In 1958 the tach was used on 230, 245, and 250 hp cars and NOT on the 270 and 290 hp cars. The Part number is #1548631 for 1958.
Optional engines in 1956 had nine fin alloy valve covers, 1957 had seven or nine fin alloy valve covers, and the 1958 had seven fin alloy covers on optional engines.
Before 1958, the only Acrylic lacquer paint used was on the “Inca Silver” Vettes.
Sun visors became a Corvette option in 1959.
Nylon belted tires first became available on the 1960 Corvette, prior to 1960 only cotton was offered.
The 1961 Corvette was the last year to feature “Wide Whitewall” tires.
The 1961 Corvette was the first to not have the “round” nose emblem.
In 1961, the big grill teeth disappeared forever, replaced by a fine mesh.
1962 Was the last of the solid rear axle Corvettes and the last year for the power top on the roadster.
C2 – 1963 to 1967
The earliest serial number air conditioned Sting Ray has a production build date in October, about 6 months before the rest of the AC cars. The reason? The owner was a GM executive and the car returned to Chevrolet for refitting with AC.
An error was made in creating the roof panel mold in 1963, using the wrong side of the dimensions, such that all roof panels were too small. This left a gap seen in the door pillar above the door latch in all but a few 1963’s to 1967. The ones where it is not found were cosmetically covered up with body filler.
Power steering was first available in the 1963 Corvette.
Bill Mitchell and Zora Arkus-Duntov argued over the “Split” rear window for the new Corvette. Bill Mitchell won out for the 1963 Model, but it was removed for 1964 never to be seen again.
The 1963 Grand Sports, while originally looking much like the production coupes, had no body parts in common. The fiberglass body panels were roughly half the thickness of production panels to save weight.
The 1963 Grand Sports originally were released without fender flares, using the stock look. However, they were wider to allow a wider tire 8.25×15 rather than the stock 6.70×15 tire.
Only the driver’s side vent on the 1964 Corvette is functional.
The first major tire size change in Corvette history occurred in 1965. Tire size changed from 6.70×15 to 7.75×15
While the 427 was developed first, the 396 went into the Corvette, Chevrolet, and Chevelle in 1965 due to a GM policy restricting them to less than 400 cubic inches.
The 396ci 425hp engine lasted only one year 1965.
1965 was the first year to have two separate hoods – the smooth small block hood and the bulge of the big block hood.
The 1966 Corvette was not eligible in SCCA Trans Am, due to the upper limit of 5.0 liter on engine displacement. Chevy’s only eligible car was the Corvair.
1967 was the first year to have three hoods: the small block hood, the big block hood, and the L-88 hood, even though externally the L-88 looked like the regular big block hood.
In late February and early March, 1967, some small blocks received the big block hood due to an industrial accident with the small block hood mold. These were not given the hood stripe.
The “GM Mark of Excellence” sticker appeared in one year only- 1967.
Federal law mandated the removal of spinners from wheels in 1967, so the knock off wheel of 1963-66 was replaced with a bolt on wheel.
1967 was the first year “Vinyl” was offered as an optional exterior covering for the hardtop.
The ’67 model was the first to have the “tank sticker”, or the build sheet, attached to the gas tank.
The maximum install fuel tank capacity was offered in the Corvette from 1963 to 1967, 36 gallons.
An option was offered in 1967 that lasted for only three production years.. A speed warning indicator.
The ’67 LeMans Racer was “DRIVEN” to the track from the airport (in place of being trailered) was because the trailer was chuck full of parts!
C3 – 1968 to 1982
Pontiac almost beat Chevrolet to the Coke bottle design body, with their 1965 Banshee, a two seater convertible sports car that would have been hefty competition for the Corvette. GM stopped it, and then Pontiac president John DeLorean later became president of Chevrolet.
T-top does not refer to the shape of the roof, but rather it is short for Targa Top. The original design was a pure Targa but body flex demanded the center bar, discovered late in the design.
Due to policy changes in Chevrolet, Corvette was treated like all other car lines for the first time, and quality dropped drastically. With bad publicity in most magazines, policy was re-thought and Chevrolet quickly restored independence and quality to Corvette within a few months, but all 1968s carry the stigma of being “the worse quality” of all Corvettes.
All big block manifolds were redesigned to actually sink into the lifter valley as the hood clearance was less than in ’67 and back. As such, a 1965 to 1967 big block intake manifold won’t fit in a 1968 or newer Corvette with a stock hood and air cleaner.
The exception to the above was the L-88. It retained the high rise manifold and also received a special hood, which was externally different this time.
Emission control equipment was installed on the first 1968’s in the fall of 1967 even though the federal law required it only as of January 1, 1968.
1968 was the first year AM/FM stereo was offered as an option.
1968-1972 the coupe’s rearwindow was removeable for more of a true convertible experience
The Sting Ray name was not used on the 1968 Corvette, but returned in 1969… Spelled Stingray.
Corvette had its first all aluminum engine in 1969 as the ZL-1. It was not the first GM automobile to do so, beaten by the Corvair in 1960 and the Buick 215 V8.
In 1969, the ignition lock was moved from the dash to the steering column. It would remain there until 1997 when it was returned to the dash.
The LS7 engine option, which was never installed in the 1970 Corvette was $3000.
No Corvettes were painted Black at the factory from 1970 to 1976.
The only outside difference between the 1971 and a 1972 Corvette is the appearance of the amber front turn signals and vertical chroming on the egg-crate grills both on the 1972 – that’s it. Minor stuff most people miss.
1972 was the only year for Corvette “Big Block” engines in the 1968 to 1972 range to have no horse power sticker on the air cleaner lid.
“Pewter Silver” was only offered as an exterior color in 1972.
The 1970 – 1972 Corvettes were the last to feature chrome bumpers front and rear. In 1973, the front bumper changed to body-colored flexible plastic. In 1974 the rear bumper followed suit.
In 1973, aluminum wheels were again available as an option, but the same problem that plagued the 1963 aluminum wheels, the inability to hold air, kept these out of the hands of customers until 1976.
The rear view mirror in the 1974 Corvette was increased to a width of 10″.
The last true dual exhaust was installed in 1974, after that, everything went through a catalytic converter.
1974 rear bumper was 2 pieces, 1975-1982 used a one piece unit.
The awesome 454ci engine was only offered for 5 years.. 1970, 71, 72, 73, and 1974
Gymkhana Suspension was first introduced in the 1974 Corvette.
1974 was the last year the Corvette would be produced to run on “leaded” gasoline.
1975 first year for HEI distributor.
1975 was lowest production year for convertibles for those years that offered both convertibles and coupes.
1976 Corvette used the same steering wheel as a Chevrolet Vega for the “Sport Wheel” Option.
1977 last year for the notch back shark.
In 1977 crossed flags returned to the nose and sides of the Corvette.
1977 saw the redesign of the center console to accept standard Delco radios, the first year that Corvette didn’t have a Corvette only radio.
The ’78 Pace Car was “Black and Silver” was because it photographed well. Back then, most magazine articles and ads were still done in Black & White!
The body in 1978 was widened in the rear fender area. This was discovered by customizers when converting ’78 and newer coupes to convertibles after the convertible production ended in 1975.
1979 Corvette’s highest production year.
By Federal mandate, the 1980 Corvette was the first Corvette to have an 85 MPH speedometer.
1981 the first Corvette to use a computer.
The 1981 Corvette had two cooling fans to increase engine power.
In 1981, Corvettes were produced with two different types of paint. Lacquer was applied at the St. Louis plant, and enamel was applied at the new Bowling Green plant.
In 1982 fuel injection reappeared in the Corvette after a 17-year hiatus.
C4 – 1984 to 1996
A total of 43 – 1983 model Corvettes were built, but there were so many quality problems with them it was decided to halt production until they could be corrected. By the time the problems were corrected, it was so late into the model year that the car was brought out as a 1984 model which was run for a year and a half. The 1983,s were never sold to the public and the only one that is known to still exist is in the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY
The 1984 Corvette was the first American production car to have a 64% windshield angle.
A single transverse plastic front and rear spring first made it’s appearance on the 1984 Corvette.
Twenty 1986 Corvettes were sent to Lotus in England to be converted into LT5 powered prototypes for the ZR1 project.
In 1986, Corvette offered the “Malcolm Konner Commemorative Edition” with two transmissions. A manual 4-speed and an automatic. Only 20 4-speed manual transmissions were installed at the factory.
In 1987 you could buy a Corvette without an engine installed by the factory.
A total of 30,632 Corvettes were produced in 1987. 184 of these Corvettes were Callaways, and 121 of the Callaway’s were coupes.
1982 and 1987 Corvettes had something in common, 16 exterior colors were available.
The last year a CB radio was offered as a Corvette option was 1985.
In 1988 a thirty-fifth anniversary edition Corvette package was available for coupes only. It featured a two tone exterior of white with black roof bow, white leather seats, steering wheel, special interior and exterior accents, a console-mounted anniversary plaque, special emblems and other special features. Sales totals 2,050 cars.
In 1988, Corvette started using a unidirectional 17″ wheel as an option with RP0 Z51 and Z52. New six slot 16×8.5 were standard with P255/50ZR16 Tires.
In 1989, the ZR1 was produced to approximately 80 cars, however, none were sold to the public. The last of these ZR1s were shipped out of the factory on Dec. 22, 1988
1991 was the 10th anniversary of Corvette production at the Bowling Green, KY plant
The LT4 exhaust system has a distinguishing feature from the LT1 system. It has a balance tube incorporated into it!
96 Grand Sports: There is a small area behind the hatch roof and in front of the panel that attaches to the rear window that is taped, not painted. It is 1″ long and the tape is about 18″ wide. This change was early in production. The purpose is to eliminate a problem area in the paint booth during manufacturing.
96 Grand Sports: The Grand Sport’s stripe is not the same width all the way back. It gets wider as it goes up the hood, and the top is narrower, and then it gets somewhat wider in the back end.
C5 – 1997 to 2004
The first 200 production C5 Corvettes were painted Red, not the traditional color for the first production run.
The 1997 Corvette C5 is the first Corvette designed from the ground up to be a Corvette.. Not borrowing parts from other cars. One of the few “Off the Shelf” parts – the exterior door handles, same ones used on the Oldsmobile Aurora.
The first use of a transaxle in a production Corvette occurred in the ’97. However, the first plans for one were in the Q-Corvette in 1958, planned for the 1960 model. Transaxles showed up in Corvette prototypes in the mid ’60s in running models.
The first 4 speed in a Corvette was built by Borg Warner in 1957. The first transaxle in a production Corvette was also built by Borg Warner, forty years later in 1997. Both were introduced late in the model year.
Borg Warner has produced a transmission for each generation of Corvette: C1 – 1957 to 1962, C2 – 1963, C3 – 1980 to 1981, C4 – 1984 to 1988, and C5 – 1997 to 1998.
The 1997 Corvette is the first Corvette to have windshield wipers that sweep in the same direction instead of opposing directions.
November 4, 1997 – The 9752nd 1998 Corvette rolled down the assembly matching the total 1997 Model production run.
The last “Fairway Green” C5 a 1998 Model came down the assembly line November 10, 1997. The color was discontinued.
It takes 55 hours to build the new C5 Corvette, down from 70 hours for the previous C4 model.
For the first time in history, the 1999 Corvette is available in three disctinct body styles… Coupe, Convertible, and Hardtop (aka, “Fixed Roof Coupe”).
The performance axle ratio for C5 Corvettes with automatic transmission is 3.15:1 (the standard ratio is 2.73:1).
The 2000 Corvette featured new color choices to celebrate Y2K… Millenium Yellow and Dark Bowling Green Metallic… plus a new Torch Red interior option.
2001 will forever be remembered as the year the Z06 performance hardtop was introduced with its 385HP LS6 engine and 6 speed manual transmission.
Corvette’s use of a titanium exhaust for the Z06 was the first ever for a mass production automobile.
Active Handling became standard equipment in 2001.
The 2002 Corvette featured a new color, Electron Blue Metallic, and an upgraded 405HP LS6 engine for the Z06.
The 2002 Z06 windshield was thinner than that used in the coupe models, shaving 2.65 pounds per car. The lighter windshield was shared with convertibles equipped with the Heads Up Display (HUD) option, which was standard on 2002 Z06 models.
The 2003 Corvette heralds the 50th anniversary with a special edition in Anniversary Red with Shale interior and a new, high-tech magnetic suspension option for all models but the Z06, which continues essentially unchanged from the 2002 model year.
In addition to Anniversary Red, Medium Spiral Gray Metallic was a new color in 2003.
The Magnetic Ride Option offered in 2003 uses a magnetic fluid which adjusts shock damping 1,000 times per second, roughly equivalent to reacting to each inch of road surface at 60 mph.
2004 marks the last of the extremely successful fifth generation Corvette and was celebrated with the special Commemorative Edition Corvettes in Lemans Blue with special badging, graphics and interior appointments.
C6 – 2005 to 2013
2005 marks the introduction of the sixth generation Corvette… the C6.
A major styling change for the C6 Corvette is non-pop up headlights… not seen on a Corvette since 1962.
The base engine for the 2005 Corvette was the 400 HP LS2, only 5 HP less than the LS6 engine of the previous year’s high performance Z06 model.
2005 was the first year for keyless access and start.
The Convertible model was a late introduction in 2005 with no Z06 available this year.
One factory-painted Torch Red 2005 Corvette actually carried the Precision Red paint code (27).
2006 saw the re-introduction of high performance Z06 model, weighing only 3132 pounds with a 427 cubic inch dry sump engine producing 505 HP.
A six-speed paddle shift automatic transmission was introduced as an option in 2006.
Daytona Sunset Orange Metallic, a popular color choice in 2005 & 2006, was was replaced by Atomic Orange in 2007, an extra cost color choice.
Two special editions were introduced for the 2007 model year… the Arctic White Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Z06 (399 built) and an Indy Pace Car replica convertible in Atomic Orange (500 built).
Jetstream Blue Metallic was announced as a new exterior color option for the 2008 model year, also avaiable on the Z06.
For 2008, a 427-Limited Edition Z06 was made available in Crystal Red Metallic paint with all 505 units hand signed by retiring Corvette Assembly Plant Manager, Wil Cooksey.
The total 2009 Corvette production run of only 16,956 cars was the lowest since 1962’s production run of 14,531 units (not counting 1997’s run of 9,752 cars due late introduction of the new C5).
The 2009 ZR1 was the first 200+ mph production Corvette ever made.
The 2009 ZR1 was the first production Corvette ever built with a roots-type supercharger as standard equipment, developing 630 horsepower.
The 2009 ZR1 was the first production Corvette to retail for over $100,000.
The 2009 ZR1’s LS9 engine develops 630 horsepower but actually has less displacement than the Z06’s 505 hp LS7 engine (376 vs 427 cubic inches).
In 2009 consumers had their choice of nine different Corvette configurations including coupe, convertible, Z06, ZR1, Competition Sport, and GT1 Championship editions.
2010 saw the return of the legendary Grand Sport model nomenclature but with less exclusivity than the 1996 limited edition of only 1,000 special VIN-sequenced, uniquely painted blue & white cars.
The 2010 Grand Sport model replaced the Z51 performance handling option and features the base LS3 engine but is equipped with the wide body panels, larger wheels/tires, and other parts derived from the Z06.
Two Z06 exclusive options debuted in 2011. The CFZ Carbon Fiber package featured black carbon fiber splitter, rockers, roof panel and body-color ZR1 style full-width rear spoiler while the Z07 Performance Package had Brembo ceramic brakes, Magnetic Ride Control, larger Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires and competition gray 20-spoke wheels.
The ULZ Carbon Limited Edition package for the 2011 Z06 was created to celebrate Corvette’s 50th anniversary at LeMans.
Carlisle Blue was a new color added to the lineup in 2012, retiring the popular Jetstream Blue Metallic color.
To celebrate its 100th birthday, Chevrolet created a racing inspired Centennial Edition appearance and suspension package for the entire line of 2012 Corvettes. Available on all models, it features Carbon Flash Metallic paint with Centennial Satin Black wheels and red brake calipers.
Black was not available as an exterior color in 2012 in favor of the special Carbon Flash Metallic paint featured on the Centennial Edition.
The 2013 model year marked Corvette’s 60th Anniversary and the final year for the C6 generation.
To celebrate Corvette’s 60th Anniversary, GM offered a special 60th Annivesary package available on all 2013 Corvette models plus a 427 Convertible Collector Edition.
The 2013 60th Anniversary Package featured an Arctic White exterior with Blue Diamond leather-wrapped interior with suede accents. An optional graphics package added full-length racing stripes in Pearl Silver Blue and a tonal stripe stitched into the convertible top.
The 2013 Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition was the fastest, most capable convertible in Corvette’s history, blending elements from both the Z06 and ZR1 models.
C7 – 2012 to ?
The NEW C7 Logo released October 18, 2012.