The Chevrolet Corvette was a sports car introduced by Chevrolet in 1953 as America's first true sports car.
A corvette is a fast warship.
The first generation begins with the 1953 Corvette, which featured a V6 engine. This original corvette featured two tail light designs, the most notable being its iconic, pointy tail lights. More conservative tail lights were also available, and replaced the pointy ones on later models.
In 1956, the Corvette became larger and more powerful due to the introduction of a V8 model in 1955. The 1958 model sported four headlights. By this time the Corvette was a prime competitor in grand touring racing, especially in endurance racing such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In its final years the first generation Corvette featured a boat-tail rear end that would be carred over into the second generation.
In 1961 the chrome around the headlights was removed and that area became body colored. In 1962 the contrasting-colors option was removed. During this time, however, the rear changed to the boattail style which would be used on the Stingrays.
The second generation, introduced in 1963, saw a dramatic and revolutionary redesign for the Corvette, with incredible improved aerodynamics. The first year featured a split rear window, but this was dropped for 1964, making the 1963 model rare and highly collectible. Racecar drivers preferred the greater rear visibility of the later models.
The second generation also introduced retractable headlamps, which would become a major feature of the Corvette for many years.
This new generation also brought a new special edition known as the Gran Sport, a name also used for a performance model of the Buick Regal. This special edition would be used also in later generations.
This generation of Corvette also adopted Chevrolet's famous SS 396 big block, but only for the 1965 model.
Based on the Mako Shark and Stingray II concept cars, the third generation of Corvette featured a longer and edgier bodystyle. Lasting over fifteen years and introduced in 1968, this generation is the longest-lasting in Corvette history. Besides being entered in endurance racing, the Corvette was also first introduced into the International Motorsports Association's Grand Touring Championship, or the IMSA GT Championship. Due to the Trans American Road Racing Championship (Trans Am Series) declining into a support series for IMSA GT, the series was seeking out American muscle cars of any kind, and the Corvette was entered in the series. The Corvette won the GTO class in the first ever IMSA GT race, leading Chevrolet to a championship in its class. A 25th anniversary edition was available.
A special edition of the Corvette was also created during this time, based on the pace car of the Indianapolis 500.
The fourth generation debuted in 1984, although there was no 1983 model (the year was skipped for unknown reasons). This generation revived the Gran Sport name, and continued to participate in IMSA GT and endurance racing. The Corvette also continued to be used in Trans Am. This generation also formed the basis for an IMSA GT Prototype.
In 1997, the Corvette was redesigned to be sleeker, and competed in IMSA GT, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) World Challenge, the Grand American Road Racing Association (Grand Am) Rolex Sports Car Series, and endurance racing. Corvettes continued to be used in Trans Am. A 50th anniversary edition was available.
This generation had been based on several concept cars of the early to mid nineties.
Introduced in 2006, the sixth generation of Corvette was edgier and discontinued the retractable headlights. Such headlights had gone out of fashion due to concerns over the cost of maintenance of the mechanism. The Corvette continued to be used in the ALMS, Pirelli World Challenge, Trans Am Series, and Grand Am. A new Gran Sport Corvette was introduced as well as a revival of the classic Z06. A 427 Corvette edition was also introduced in a nostalgic return to cubic inches in favor of the now-standard liters.
This generation also formed the basis for a Daytona Prototype in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series. These prototypes were carried over into the new IMSA United SportsCar Championship.
The seventh generation was introduced in 2013 and is much edgier than the sixth but somewhat resembling the C6. A "stingray" edition has been introduced in homage to the C2.
One scene of the Disney film The Love Bug features Herbie competing in a fictional Monterey Grand Prix at actual racetrack Laguna Seca Raceway (now Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca). A late model first generation Corvette is seen in the first row. Incidentally, the 1968 Monterey Grand Prix was a Can Am race and did not feature production cars (although the event in which Herbie is participating could possibly be a support race or the event was coming up).
Lightning McQueen, the protagonist of the Pixar film Cars, is partially based on the C6. Character Jeff Gorvette is named after the Corvette.
The Corvette is popular in racing video games.
A 1963 Corvette is available in arcade games Cruis'n U.S.A. and Cruis'n World. In order to avoid licensing issues, the vehicle is named "63 Muscle Car".
In racing video game Sega GT 2002, there is a part where you use cars from the seventies in a series of racing events. The best possible starter car is a third generation Corvette.
The Forza Motorsport series features several Corvettes of all generations. The 1960 Corvette in Forza 5 features whitewall tires, strange for a sports car. Previous games in the series did not feature whitewalls on the car. Upgrading the tire compound removes the whitewalls. The 1953 Corvette can be altered to have the passenger seat covered, essentially turning it into a sports racer. A large fin can also be installed behind the driver seat. This Corvette appears in Forza 4 but not Forza 5. It returned for Forza 6. For the second generation, the Forza series uses a 1967 model and not the more popular 1963 model.
As a part of a Fast and Furious car pack, Forza 6 features a special edition of the 1963 Gran Sport Corvette.
Popular musician Prince did a song called "Little Red Corvette".
The Eiffel 65 song Blue (Da Ba Dee) mentions a blue Corvette.
The vehicle of choice for popular toy doll Barbie is a pink Corvette.
The 1963 model is the most common second generation Corvette provided by the Hot Wheels line of diecast cars.
Special edition Corvettes such as anniversary editions and Gran Sport editions have been marketed over the years. Most recently a 427 (cubic inch) edition has been introduced.
The Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca tributed the car's fiftieth anniversary in 2002 (albeit one year off, as the Corvette was introduced in 1953) and its sixtieth in 2013 (in correspondence with the special 60th anniversary edition Corvette). The event also tributed the fiftieth anniversary of the Corvette GS, which was first introduced as a special edition of the second generation Corvette in 1963 (that generation also turning fifty).
Television program American Muscle Car created a several episode special dedicated to the final 1963 Stingray ever produced.