The 5 Best and Worst Corvettes in Years

The iconic Chevrolet Corvette has a special place in American auto history, but it’s not all that great. In the eight generations since the first Corvette was introduced in 1953, Chevrolet continuously improve its appearance and performance. The Chevy Corvette has been in continuous production for around 70 years, and that is testament to the fact that it has been consistently produced as a sports car.

Compared to big European names, the Corvette is admired for its stunning design, dashing American V8 power, and relatively affordable price tag. It has developed into a well-built engine that can make exotic cars run for their money, and for the thing, it has won many industry awards. Undeniably, the Corvette is one of the most successful and most popular sports cars to ever grace the highway. However, after exploring its long and colorful lifespan, here are five of the best and five worst Corvettes over the years.

10 Best: Corvette 2020

When the eighth-generation Corvette arrived brand new for the 2020 model year, it was nothing like the previous generation C7. For starters, the 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 490 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque is placed behind the passenger compartment, not the front.

The engine is capable of catapulting the car from rest to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds – supercar performance, even without the supercar price tag. Apart from great handling, it also offers an easy-to-use Infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen that tilts towards the driver.

9 Best: 1990 Corvette ZR-1

When Chevrolet wanted to build the fastest production car of the 1980s, it sought help from Lotus, a division recently acquired by General Motors. GM contracted Lotus to design the incredible and iconic LT5 V8 engine with a DOHC, 32-valve layout.

The 5.7-liter V8 engine, paired to a ZF 6-speed manual transmission, produces 375 hp and 370 lb-ft of torque. With a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 175 mph, the ZR-1 can easily stay on track.

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8 Best: 1969 Corvette ZL1

Just one year after the redesign that resulted in the C3 generation in 1968, the ZL1 package arrived as a mid-year engine release for the 1969 Corvette. Replacing the legendary L88, the new all-aluminum engine was about 100 pounds lighter than the L88 and featured a dry-sump oil system and stronger connecting rod.

Officially rated at 430 hp and unofficially rated at 560-580 hp, it sends the ZL1 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. However, moving the Corvette ZL1 out of showrooms was extremely difficult, thanks to its tantalizing final sticker price of around $10,000, which is double the price of the base Corvette.


7 Best: 1967 Corvette L88

With five years of refinement, the final year of the second generation Corvette (“C2”) will be the best. The ultimate version of the ’67 Corvette is powered by an engine with a 12.5:1 stratospheric compression ratio.

Replacing 427 cubic inches (7 liters), the powerhouse requires 103 octane racing fuel thanks to its extremely high compression. The fire-breathing L88 powerplant is rated at 430 hp, although it is said to produce around 560 hp at 6400 rpm. Only 20 of these race-ready Corvettes were sold, and yes, they weren’t cheap.

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6 Best: 1963 Corvette Sting Ray

Boasting a new chassis and new design, the ’63 Corvette is offered in 2 body styles, convertible and coupe with separate rear windows. Several small factory 327 cubic-inch (5.4 liter) block V8s are available for power, including the 360 ​​hp unit that was included in the package of the first Corvette Z06.

The Z06 comes with bigger brakes with cooling fans and a modified suspension, making this Corvette a pleasure to race or drive around town. Decades after its introduction, the ’63 Corvette Sting Ray remains one of the most desirable collector’s cars.

5 Worst: 1980 California 305

While the federal emissions requirements of the ’70s left a mark and a drain on American muscle cars in general, the Corvette was one of the hardest hit. The regulations are even stricter in California, where those who bought a 1980 Corvette ended up with one of the saddest Corvettes ever made.

Under the hood, instead of the 5.7-liter engine that other states have, is a 5.0-liter V8 engine that makes 180 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. To add insult to injury, the ‘famous’ engine can only be paired with a torque-sucking 3-speed automatic transmission. Needless to say, the acceleration was poor, and the car wasn’t very exciting to drive.

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4 Worst: 1979 Corvette L48

The ’79 Corvette, like other post-1974 models, is another example of how far the C3 generation has fallen. While the design is similar to the ’78 Corvette, there is no special edition like the ’78 model. Two 5.7-liter small-block V8 engines are offered for this model year, with the base engine producing 195 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque.

But despite being cursed by a lackluster base engine and 12-year-old body style, the Corvette recorded its highest sales in 1979.

3 Worst: 1984 Corvette

Fans were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the C4 generation – the excitement they showed by purchasing 51,547 units of the ’84 model. Their joy was short-lived, as the car’s design was criticized for being too restrained while the deep doorway complicated entry and exit.

Also criticized was the “Crossfire Injection” fuel delivery system, which was difficult to maintain, and the unreliable transmission options. Lastly, apart from the noisy cabin, the ride quality is too loud for daily driving due to the very stiff suspension.

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2 Worst: 1954 Corvette

The ’54 Corvette, while initially well received, soon fell under the same curse as its predecessor – a high sticker price (for 1954) that spooked the targeted youth market. Offered at a base price of $2,774, the price quickly rose to over $3,200 once some desired options were added.

Sports car enthusiasts were disappointed with the underpowered 6-cylinder engine mated to a 2-speed automatic transmission. Lastly, major leaks occurred during a rainstorm, and by year’s end, nearly 1,500 of the 3,640 built remained unsold.

1 Worst: 1975 Corvette Base Model

Advertised as a “more efficient Corvette,” the 1975 model was the lowest-ranked Corvette, thanks to strict federal emissions regulations requiring the use of power-draining catalytic converters. Gone were the big block engines, and with the elimination of lead-based fuels, the base engines experienced a half-point reduction in engine compression.

It produces an embarrassing 165 hp, and by comparison, the 6-cylinder Blue Flame engine that powers the ’53 Corvette makes 150 hp. The trip from zero to 60 mph takes a slow 7.7 seconds, and it takes 16.1 seconds to run the quarter mile at 87.4 mph.

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