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Building Your Corvette Library

Corvette books help you restore, repair, and enjoy your car


Being a Corvette owner isn't just about the car. There's the clothing, the wall art, and of course, the books. Whether you prefer picture books for your coffee table, in-depth repair manuals smudged with grease from the last 10 jobs you did yourself, or restoration guides that detail every last tag and sticker for your numbers-matching NCRS Top Flight Sting Ray, you'll want to start building your library of Corvette books from the day you decide to buy a 'Vette.

1. Legendary Corvettes: Vettes Made Famous on Track and Screen

Legendary Corvettes
Photo courtesy of Motorbooks International

Photo books about Corvettes aren't hard to find, but can you ever really have enough of them? I know that for me there's just no possibility of passing up a good Corvette book. Yet Leffingwell's latest is more than just another book reprinting GM's stock shots from the sales brochures. Starting with #003 from 1953 - the oldest known remaining production Corvette - Leffingwell not only features fantastic photography by Dave Wendt, but also tells the story of each featured Corvette.



2. The Corvette in the Barn - More Great Stories of Automotive Archaeology

Corvette in the Barn
Photo courtesy of Motorbooks International

Tom Cotter's "in the barn" series is becoming a must-have set of books for every auto enthusiast's library - and there's a good reason for that. These are the stories you've heard in some form or another at least 100 times at car events or (more likely) on the Internet. The difference is that Cotter has done the research and verified what actually happened with the real people involved. True to the title, the book contains several good stories about people who found Corvettes in some state of neglect and saved them, including one of the 1956 Sebring Corvettes, a 1960 Briggs Cunningham Le Mans Corvette, and the only 1963 Z06 convertible ever made.

3. Illustrated Corvette Buyer's Guide

The Illustrated Corvette Buyer's Guide
By Michael Antonick

This is one of the basic must-have Corvette books for spotters and buyers. First published in 1982, there are several versions of this book on the market. Each later issue covers the Corvettes up to the publication date. Tables are included for every year that detail the available colors and options. The book includes good detail photos for most years of Corvette. This book is currently selling at very high prices online, but is often available at used bookstores for under $10.

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4. Corvette - The All American Sports Car

Corvette - The All American Sports Car
By Tony Thacker and Mike Key

This is primarily a picture book, but it's a good picture book. There are many photos here that are not usually seen in Corvette literature. The book covers Corvettes through 1991, including many of the concept and prototype cars, including the Mako Shark and CERV.

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5. The Classic Corvette

The Classic Corvette
By Richard Nichols

This is a large format “coffee table” book that is part of a series on great sports cars. There are nice pictures, and pretty standard text on the history of Corvette through the launch of the C4. Interestingly, the author talks about the forthcoming 1983 Corvettes, which never made it to market. However, there is a nice section on Zora Arkus-Duntov and Harley Earl, and an emphasis on racing Corvettes, including the 1963 Grand Sports. Worth buying if you can find it marked down in the bargain bin.

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6. Haynes - Chevrolet Corvette Owner's Manual

Haynes Chevrolet Corvette Owner's Manual

Haynes repair manuals are often derided as “heinous” manuals, but if you’re not getting in too deep, these are useful repair manuals and have handy tables of torque specs. If you took your car apart in a fit of pique and need to know how to put it back together, this book (for your year of Corvette) will help. Available in different versions for different generations of Corvette (mostly C3 and C4).  Widely available on the used book market.

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7. This Old Corvette

This Old Corvette
Various Authors

This is a really great book if you like to read stories written by some of the best in the automotive journalism business, paired with great photos (GM promo stock, mixed with unique photos) and stunningly lovely artwork. Luminaries like Peter Egan and Michael Antonick contributed stories about their loves and tribulations in the world of Corvettes. The book ends up with a story by none other than Zora Arkus-Duntov. This book is well worth seeking out if you’re a true Corvette lover.

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8. Corvette Catalogs - A Visual History from 1953 to the Present Day

Corvette Catalogs  - A Visual History from 1953 to the Present Day
By Terry Jackson

Every year, the automakers create brochures for each of their models. Terry Jackson worked at the Sacramento Bee newspaper and put together this collection of Corvette (and related Chevy) sales brochures from 1953-1991. It’s great to look up the sales brochure for your year of Corvette, and this book has great pictures from the brochures, and good informative text printed on high-quality paper and hard-bound with dust jacket. A good buy for the serious Corvette aficionado.

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9. Chevrolet Corvette Restoration Guide

Chevrolet Corvette Restoration Guide
By Lindsay Porter

This is a good general purpose purchase and restoration advice book for any car, but of course it was written with a focus on Corvette and how to get your Corvette road-ready and looking good. If you plan to restore your Corvette to show quality, you’ll want this book as well as a more specific book to spell out all the correct parts and details for your particular year and model. This book is part of the Motorbooks Workshop series, and all the books in this series are good.

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10. Chevrolet Service and Overhaul Manual Supplement

Chevrolet Service and Overhaul Manual Supplement
Published by Chevrolet

These books were published by the Chevrolet Motor Division of GM, and they cover all Chevy products of a given year. There is good information in these books as to the correct equipment and common repairs to your year of Corvette, but you may have to dig a bit to find it. The best news is that these books turn up often in used bookstores and can be purchased for just a couple dollars in most cases.

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