The Ultimate Guide to the Different Corvette Models

corvette models

What color would you pick as the most popular Corvette color? Black? Red? It must be something bold and sporty.

Wrong, it’s Arctic White at 20.3%. Even if you combine the two red options, Torch Red and Long Beach Red, they only total 20.2% of the 2018 Corvettes purchases.

There are ten different colors that Corvette owners can choose from. This is just the start of the customization options available for the different Corvette models.

Use our guide to get familiar with the history of models and which ones are in production today.

Corvette Models Through the Years

The first Corvettes rolled off the line in 1953. It quickly became the symbol of American sports car pride.

C1- The Birth of a Legend

The first Corvettes began as a display at the New York Auto Show. People loved it so much that GM made 300 of them in production.

By the second year, that number ballooned to 3.640 cars. Owners had a choice of blue, white, red, and black. These first models are highly valued and fetch high dollars when fully restored.

The models at the end of this generation had both performance and styling upgrades. 1955 brought the inclusion of the V8 engine.

Other developments included the steering wheel, headlamps, and exhaust tips. The 1962 car was the last model to be a part of this generation. It was also the last Corvette to have the wraparound windshield.

C2- The V8 Reigns

The second generation of models was in production from 1963 to 1967. The first generation were all convertibles. This one included a coupe model.

The hidden headlights made their debut during this generation. The rear suspension was also upgraded to an independent setup.

In 1965 the Rochester fuel injection system was no longer used. A 6.49 “big block” V8 engine began to be in use.

The creature comforts within the car were given an upgrade. This included AC, headrests, telescoping steering wheel, and a radio.

C3- The Iconic Body Debuts

From 1968 to 1982 the Corvette third generation remained mostly unchanged apart from some body modifications. The first removable T-top roof was made available during this generation.

In 1978 a special fastback model with upgraded interior celebrated the 20-year anniversary milestone. Other special edition models included a Silver Anniversary model and an Indy 500 Pace Car.

The body of the Corvette saw development in the 1980s. During this time the car became more aerodynamic, adopting the curves the car is famous for.

C4- 40 Years of Power

The Corvette got its first complete redesign with the coming of the fourth generation. Owners of this new generation enjoyed an LCD digital display on the dashboard.

The first cars off the line had 4-speed manual transmissions with auto overdrive in the top end gears. This was done in an attempt to satisfy fuel economy goals. But this was a huge fail, and the transmissions were changed to a 6-speed manual.

Corvette celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special model of C4. A Ruby Red model with special 40th-anniversary badges and embroidery came off the line in 1993.

C5- The Beginning of the Modern Era

Fifth generation Corvettes brought another complete overhaul of the car. These cars are closest to the models we are familiar with today. They are also the generation that experienced a boom in both OEM and aftermarket parts for customization.

Much of the technology used today began during this generation. The car received a major weight reduction with an aluminum engine and new chassis design.

Other improvements included twin fuel tanks, staggered wheel sizing, and improved fuel economy. Owners also got a choice of either the coupe or convertible design.

In 2001 the Z06 made a re-debut as the highest performing model ever. It had an upgraded rigid roof, upgraded engine and brakes. This model handled like on rails as it prowled the streets.

C6- Refining Perfection

GM shook up Corvette enthusiast’s worlds by refining the C5 model for the 6th generation release. Gone were the signature popup headlights.

This brought conflicting feelings. Some were happy to no longer deal with the notoriously faulty headlamps that often resulted in a “winking” look. Others thought that GM followed the pack of other sports car looks.

The interior brought unanimous enjoyment with improved quality and significantly more room. Under the hood got a boost with a 6-liter displacement LS2 engine.

This gave drivers a ton more horsepower, but a big decline in fuel economy. Not to rest on their laurels, GM beefed up the engine again in 2008 with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Those familiar with classic Corvette models recognized the return of the “Grand Sport” moniker. It sported the same steel frame and upgraded engine as the Z06.

C7- the Latest Corvette Model

Today the Corvette has a meaner, more angular look to its classic shape. Gone are the days of soft womanly curves. Today’s sportier look came in response to its reputation of being “an old man’s car”.

Gone are the signature round taillights, now a square shape to match the new angular look. Carbon fiber was also added to give the car a tougher, sportier look.

Owners have the option to choose from a few different corvette trim levels. This new generation has also inspired a large aftermarket industry of Corvette C7 parts.


If you are looking for a base model Corvette, then the Stingray is for you. Even being the entry to the Corvette models, it still boasts a powerful 460 horsepower and 465 torque.

The 6.2L V8 engine will take you from 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds. The performance under the hood comes paired with creature comforts and luxury in the cockpit.

Owners enjoy the heads-up display, Apple CarPlay, and bucket seating. Three different trim levels come available in the Stingray.

The 1LT gives you a 9 speaker Bose audio system, 2 8-inch HD color displays, and a driver mode selector. The 2LT adds additional interior color trim, heated/ vented seating, heads-up display, and 10 speaker audio system. The 3LT package adds custom leather and suede interior seating and trim and a performance data recorder.

Grand Sport

When buying a Grand Sport, you will get everything that comes with the Stingray, plus more. For starters, horsepower and torque get a boost to 460 and 465 respectively.

Large Brembo brakes and Michelin Pilot Super Sports give you grip and control on the road. While a Magnetic Selective Ride Control gives you real-time adjustments to your suspension letting you push performance even harder.

The same three trim levels give owners the ability to tailor the interior to their tastes. Choose from the 1LT, 2TL, and 3LT options we discussed with the Stingray.


Maybe you’re thinking, sure the Stingray and Grand Sport are nice, but I want MORE. Let me introduce you to the Z06.

This next step up in Corvette models brings you 650 horsepower and 650 torque. The Z06 is for the performance minded owner with development performed in line with the C7 R race car.

The supercharged 6.5L V8 engine will take you from 0 to 60 in a fast 2.95 seconds. Following the trend, you have three options for trim 1LZ, 2LZ, and 3LZ.

What comes with your trim varies slightly with this model. The 1LZ package includes a 9 speaker Bose audio system, heads-up display, drive mode selector, and 2 8-inch HD color displays.

The 2LZ package adds on additional interior color accenting, heated/vented seats, 10 speakers Bose audio system, and front parking cameras. The 3LZ package adds custom wrapped leather to your interior.

It also includes Napa leather seats and suede on the trim and headliner. Performance data tracking and navigation also come included.


Are you someone won’t settle for anything but the best? The ZR1 is the car for you. This model goes from 0 to 60 in just 2.85 seconds thanks to its supercharged 6.2L V8 engine.

You have your choice of a 7-speed manual or 8-speed paddle shift transmissions. Thanks to the beefed-up performance, you can expect a top track speed of 212 MPH.

Carbon fiber is present throughout the car reducing weight and pushing the car further in its one goal, performance. Features include a carbon fiber rear wing, 4 mode exhaust, carbon fiber hood venting, and 19/20-inch aluminum wheels.

The supercharger gives you 52% larger displacement and peak boost pressure of 13 psi. All of this helps you take full advantage of the 755 horsepower and 715 pounds of torque.

Carbon 65

2108 marks the 65th anniversary of the Corvette. Staying true to tradition, a special edition model celebrates the milestone.

This appearance model package comes on the Grand Sport and Z06 3LT models. This special edition package features carbon fiber accenting, racing seats, and signature grey paint.

An American Legacy Continues

Whatever generation of Corvette models you own, you can take pride in knowing you have a piece of American tradition and pride. The Corvette is a part of our culture as much as apple pie and baseball.

How do you celebrate this? By upgrading and restoring your car with OEM or aftermarket parts. The Corvette culture is rich with owners taking their cars to the next level in performance and style.

Before you can get started with modifications, you need your model’s service manual.