60 Years of the Chevrolet Corvette

We celebrate 60 years of the Chevrolet Corvette as we count down to the seventh-generation's unveiling on January 13, 2013.

December 17, 2012
In just a few short weeks, we'll witness the global debut of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7, set to unveil January 13, 2013, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The C7 will reflect the latest, seventh generation of the Chevy Corvette--the sports car that originally debuted in 1953--and the nameplate that has long since become both an American and global icon. Doubtless the C7 will be the most talked about new car debuting early next year, and as a lead up to that debut, we're revisiting previous generations, to better understand the pedigree and heritage of the Corvette. We've already introduced the storied model, and taken a look at the very first Chevrolet Corvette, the C1. Here, we're concerned with the second generation, C2. During its five years of production beginning in 1963, the Chevrolet Corvette C2 elevated the awareness and furthered the appeal of America's favorite sports car. If the C1 was the birth of the Corvette, the C2 represented the developmental years. For starters, the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray Coupe introduced the first hard-top model, as the C1 was exclusively a convertible. The C2 Sting Ray took its inspiration from two cars: one was an earlier concept, the Q-Corvette; the other was a racing version, the Stingray Special. Elements of these two models were tailored to create what became the production version of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray.
The C2 featured a more provocative design, and a divided rear window that made the coupe instantly recognizable. And while retaining the quad-headlight design, the C2 cleverly "hid" the lights. Horsepower figures were the same, as the four available small block V-8 engines were carried over from the C1, but the C2 was smaller and lighter, meaning it got more out of its horsepower. Most importantly, the C2 featured a new agility, and far improved handling and maneuverability. And two years after the 1963 Sting Ray, the 1965 model introduced a newer, more powerful engine. The previously largest powertrain offered was a 360-hp V-8 engine, that instantly took a backseat to the optional big block 425-hp V-8. Other variations would arrive, and could be mated to the two-speed automatic transmission, or both manual transmission options—a three-speed or four-speed row-your-own gearbox. For its legendary style, and for furthering the Corvette with added technology, drive-feel, and the sports car's biggest engine yet, the C2 has etched itself in Chevrolet Corvette lore.
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