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Profiles Of The Most Important Corvettes In History

The Firsts, The Lasts, and The Onlys

By

They've been making Corvettes for 57 years now, and through that period, there have been well over a million great Corvettes that were the standard everyday run of the factory. But the Corvette enthusiasts among the designers, engineers, and executives at Chevy have always pushed to make special Corvettes. This list of profiles is a partial (but growing) inventory of those special cars.

Some of these Corvettes are limited editions, some of them are unique or nearly unique, some are the first year or last year of a given feature, some are just the biggest, baddest, fastest Corvettes in history. They're all special.

1953 Corvette Roadster

1953 Corvette Roadster
Photo courtesy of General Motors

The first-ever Corvette from 1953 was where it all began. Take a look at how far the fiberglass two-seater from Chevrolet has come.

1957-1965 Fuel Injected Corvette

1962 Corvette Fuel Injected Roadster
Photo courtesy of RM Auctions

The first of the Fuelies came in 1957, boosting the 283 cubic inch V8 to 283 horsepower - and it went quite a bit higher than that before the end, reaching 375 horsepower.

1961 Mako Shark Concept

1961 Mako Shark Corvette
Photos by Jeff Zurschmeide

The 1961 Mako Shark was the basis for the C2 Corvette, and shows the forward-thinking styling genius of Larry Shinoda and Bill Mitchell in the early days of the Corvette.

1963 Corvette Split-Window Coupe

1963 Split-Window Coupe
Photo courtesy of General Motors

1963 brought a host of firsts, including the first-ever Corvette coupe - a special one-year model with a split rear window.

1963 Corvette Z06

1963 Corvette Z06 Front View
Photo courtesy of Mecum Auctions

1963 was also the only year in the 1960s for the fire-breathing Z06 - a hint at the monster L88 Corvette that was yet to come.

1967-1969 L88 Corvette

1969 Corvette L88 Coupe
Photo courtesy of RM Auctions

The most powerful Corvette in history was the 1967-1969 L88 427 - with over 560 horsepower on tap, this car was made for the race track.

1968 Corvette Stingray

1968 Corvette
Photo courtesy of GM

The new C3 body style defined the Corvette for the next 14 years - the longest run of any Corvette generation.

1972 Corvette Stingray

1972 Corvette Coupe
Photo courtesy of Mecum Auctions.

The 1972 Corvette was essentially a continuation of the 1971 model year, but the cars lost 70 horsepower on paper. Find out how!

1976-1977 Corvette Stingray - Last of the Sharks

1977 Corvette
Photo courtesy of GM

1976 was the last year for the Stingray badge, and 1977 was the last year of the "small rear window" and "finback" top styles for the C3 Corvette.

1978 Corvette - Silver Anniversary Pace Car

1978 Corvette Pace Car
Photo courtesy of GM

1978 brought the last major change to the C3-era Corvettes with a new glass fastback rear window. 1978 was also the 25th anniversary of the Corvette, so a Silver Anniversary model was produced as an Indianapolis 500 pace car.

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