Many sports cars have come and gone in the years since Chevy first introduced the Corvette in 1953. Some have been sleek, some have been fast, but none can hold a candle to the legend that Corvette has become.
Choosing the ten best Corvettes is almost like choosing the ten best candy bars. There are so many great ones, it’s hard to narrow it down to just ten. Choosing which ones to include isn’t nearly as hard as choosing which ones have to be left off. Inevitably, someone’s favorite model won’t make the cut.
While there will undoubtedly be debate about which models should or shouldn’t have made the list, here are ten Corvettes all Corvette lovers will agree kick serious butt. These are our top ten:
- 1953 Corvette. It’s not the fastest Corvette. It’s not the most stylish Corvette. Still, it is the car that started it all, and any list of the best Corvettes would be remiss without it. The 1953 Corvette was essentially a chopped Chevrolet chassis with a fiberglass body and a V6, but this humble beginning spawned the greatest of all American sports cars.
- 1978 Indy Pace Car Corvette. The ’78 was one of the more distinctive models of the Mako Shark years. Not only was it chosen as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500, but it also marked the Corvette’s 25th anniversary. The two commemorative editions offered are among the most stylish Corvettes ever offered.
- 1957 Corvette. The ’57 Vette was the first to offer fuel injection. While the new technology would be discontinued in ’69 (to be brought back later, as government economy and emissions regulations became stricter), it proved that the Corvette was ahead of its time. Many consider the ’57 Vette and its small block 283 to be the first high performance Corvette.
- 2006 Corvette Z06. One of the quickest Corvettes of all time (and the quickest at the time of production), the ’06 Z06 boasted a killer 7.0L small block that kicked out a massive 505 horses. The ’06 is arguably the best Corvette of all time on the track.
- 1955 Corvette. ’55 was the year the Vette finally got a V8, making it the first true sports car in the Corvette line. The 265 V8 put out 195 horsepower. Meager by corvette standards, but it was a start. Even with its smallish V8, the ’55 was as quick as just about anything on the road in its day.
- 1969 Stingray. ’69 brought us the reintroduction of the Stingray nameplate, billed as one word instead of two this time around. It was the second year of the shark body style, and most agree it fixed a lot of the minor issues is the ’67 Vette, notably adjusting the inside door panels to fix the lack of shoulder room the first Mako Shark was known for. ’68s equipped with the L88 427 cranked out a Corvette-worthy 500 horses.
- 1990 ZR-1. The ’80s were rough years for sports cars in general. While the Corvette fared better than others, it didn’t escape unscathed. The introduction of the ZR-1 in 1990 was hailed by many as a comeback for Corvette. The engine was designed by Lotus and cranked out 375 hp, impressive for its day. Three years later, the ’93 ZR-1 model would push this up to 405 horses.
- 2009 ZR-1. For 2009, Chevy took the ZR-1 and wedged in a 6.2L LS9 V8. Kicking out 638 horses, the ’09 ZR-1 is the fastest Vette to roll off the assembly line. It’s also the quickest off the line.
- 1967 427 Corvette. In addition to the 435 horsepower the ’67 put out, the ’67 featured a classic look that Corvette lovers can agree makes it one of the most stylish Corvettes ever. If you like chrome, this is probably your favorite Vette, as the next year saw much of the chrome stripped away. Many Corvette enthusiasts put the ’67 in a class all its own.
- 1963 Sting Ray. ’63 brought us the introduction of the Sting Ray nameplate. The split rear window, which is only available on ’63 Vettes, gives it a distinct look and ties in the look of the rear end (which was carried over from earlier models) to the redesigned front end. The newly designed suspension introduced in the ’63 Vette continued with only slight modifications all the way through 1982. The retooled body design represented an important step towards the later Shark design.
Honorable Mention: All the other Vettes.
Was your favorite Vette high on the list? If not, it’s no big surprise. The Corvette is one of the few cars with long productions of which it can truly be said that there isn’t a bad year.
The closest thing to a “bad” Corvette is the ’80 “California” model. The victim of California’s strictest in the nation emissions laws, it had to replace the already downsized 350 for a 305 that put out an embarrassing 180 hp.
In the end, any Vette is a cool Vette. Even the California.
Nick Simpson is Social Media Coordinator at Fred Loya Insurance. Fred Loya provides general car insurance as well as unique services catered specifically to customers in multiple states. Texas auto insurance is an area where they have excelled in recent years.