Ferrari News – These Are The 5 Worst Corvettes Money Can Buy (And 5 That Are Beyond Awesome)
If you ask any gearhead to name an American sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette will likely be the first thing that pops in their mind. For more than sixty years, the mighty Corvette has been the pride of the American auto industry, serving as the domestic answer to the best European sports cars from the likes of Porsche and Ferrari. People love Corvettes for their sporty designs, powerful American V8 engines, and affordability compared to exotic sports cars.
Throughout the Corvette’s rich history, there have been some fantastic years, while others have been disappointing. Let’s explore some of the best and worst Corvettes ever produced.
10 Worst: 1953 Corvette
After World War II, Chevrolet wanted to build a two-door roadster that would appeal to former servicemen who had been exposed to European sports cars. The result was the 1953 Corvette, and while it was initially well-received, things quickly turned sour when Americans realized one major flaw – its lackluster power plant.
The 1953 Corvette was powered by the original “Blue Flame” engine with just 150 horsepower on tap. On top of that, it was equipped with repurposed sedan suspension components that gave it poor ride quality. The price was also too high for the youths for whom it was intended, which explains why it was a commercial failure.
9 Best: 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88
The 1967 Corvette L88 will always be remembered for one main reason – its powerful L88 engine. Introduced to mark the end of the second generation, the L88 came with a “race ready” 7.0-liter V8 with a compression ratio so high that it required 103-octane racing fuel.
The engine’s official output was 430 horsepower, but experts claim that it could produce around 550 horsepower at 6,400rpm. Naturally, the L88 was one of the most expensive sports cars at the time, which is why Chevrolet only built 20 examples in 1967.
8 Worst: 1975 Corvette Base Model
The federally-mandated emission requirements of the 1970s forced Chevrolet to make a significant change to the 1975 Corvette. The 270-horsepower big block engine in the 1974 Corvette was replaced with a downgraded small block that produced just 165 horsepower. This was less than some of the sedans of the day and just 15 horsepower more than the first-generation Corvette produced more than two decades earlier.
A Car and Driver test found that the 1975 Corvette took 7.7 seconds to reach 60 mph, making it one of the slowest sports cars of the 70s. Interestingly, Chevrolet still managed to sell 38,665 of these horrible cars.
7 Best: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL1
Chevrolet introduced the third-generation Corvette in 1968, and while it was mechanically similar to the previous generation, it had a sleeker, more aggressive coke bottle design. But in 1969, Chevrolet introduced one of its greatest hits – the first-ever ZL1.
The ZL1 was almost like a replacement for the L88 and came with an all-aluminum version of the 7.0-liter L88 big block producing 430 horsepower. This gave it a 0-60 mph time of just 3.9 seconds, making it one of the fastest production cars of the day. Like the L88, the ZL1 option was super expensive, adding $4,700 to the Corvette’s price. Only two ZL1s were sold, making it one of the rarest cars ever.
6 Worst: 1979 L48 Corvette
Like the 1975 Corvette, the 1979 L48 Corvette is another prime example of how terrible a performance-oriented car can be when emission restrictions are suddenly thrown into the mix. The base 1979 Corvette was powered by a 5.7-liter V8 that produced only 195 horsepower, barely enough to move the 3,372-pound car.
To make matters worse, its design was almost indistinguishable compared to the previous model, and the interior was hideous. Despite all these problems, the 1979 is still the best-selling Corvette of all time, with 53,807 sold.
5 Best: Chevrolet Corvette C8
The eighth-generation Corvette is just two years old, but it’s already good enough to earn a spot on the ‘best Corvettes’ list. There’s a lot to love about the C8 Corvette, starting with its mid-engine layout. The C8 Corvette is the first-ever production Corvette to have its engine in the middle.
Another thing to love about the C8 is its engine – a 6.2-liter V8 producing 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel the car to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. This speed, combined with the mid-engine layout, allows the C8 Corvette to be mentioned in the same vein as the latest Porsches and Ferraris.
4 Worst: 1980 California 305 Corvette
1980 was a terrible year in general – the economy was in ruins, inflation was rampant, and emission restrictions had almost killed the beloved Corvette. The situation was even worse in California, where restrictions were more stringent.
California residents who wanted to buy the 1980 Corvette had to settle for a 5.0-liter small-block engine producing just 180 horsepower. To make matters worse, the four-speed manual gearbox was replaced with a three-speed turbo-hydramatic, making it terrible to drive.
3 Best: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
When Chevrolet unveiled the 1963 Corvettes Stingray, every gearhead was excited. More than a half-century after its introduction, the Stingray is still one of the most beautiful sports cars ever built. Its iconic design featured aggressive lines, a shark-like front end, razor-sharp fender shapes, hidden headlights, and a split window back end.
The Stingray also had a brand-new chassis, specially built to ensure excellent performance both on the road and track. Several engine options were available, including a robust 360-horsepower L84 small-block V8.
2 Worst: 1984 Corvette C4
The highly-anticipated C4 Corvette ended up being a major disappointment to its fans. Although it had an all-new design, some people felt that it was ugly compared to its predecessors as it lacked defined body lines.
Another major problem with the 1984 Corvette is its harsh ride – the ultra-stiff suspension may have been great for a race car, but it was too uncomfortable for daily driving. The car also featured Crossfire fuel injection, which made it unreliable and extremely difficult to maintain. It’s no wonder that the 1984 Corvette is one of the cheapest classic sports cars available today.
1 Best: 1990 Corvette ZR-1
In the late 80s, Chevrolet wanted to build a high-performance version of the Corvette. After General Motors acquired Lotus, the Corvette division requested the British firm to help it build the fastest production car. Lotus immediately went to work and designed the iconic LT5 engine.
The LT5 engine developed 375 horsepower – 125 horsepower more than the standard C4 Corvette – allowing it to hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Lotus also assisted in the ZR-1’s steering and braking systems designs, making it one of the most fun-to-drive sports cars of the 90s.
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