Step By Step
Here's the listing of the Top 10 Corvettes of all time, as our readers decreed in response to ballots printed in the May 2000 issue of Corvette Fever. From the beginning of the deluge, the '67 427/435hp Corvette was a shoo - in for the top honor (no surprise there). Coupling the classic lines of the mid - year era with the raw horsepower of the age gave GM the tools to produce a Corvette that was destined to become a legend. To use Michael Antonick's words about this special Corvette, "To some there are '67s and then there are the rest of 'em."
The new body design that appeared the following year was actually anticipated for the '67 model year. Due to problems connected with the body - style change, GM decided to use the mid - year body and make just enough changes to give the '67 a unique character. These changes included the deletion of unnecessary chrome, the substitution of the knock - off wheels with a bolt - on alternative (due to governmental regulations), and a new hood and side louvers. Other creature comforts and safety additions included a foam - cushioned headliner, four - way flashers, lane - change turn signals, a dual master cylinder, and folding seatback latches. Many interested in owning a Corvette decided to wait the extra year to get the new body style that was the '68 Corvette, which brings us to your next pick for the Top 10.
Following the mid - year's classic body style was going to be a difficult challenge, and GM decided to take a dramatic leap in the design of the '68. It was lower, wider, and more aerodynamic. GM had its thoughts in the right place, because any Corvette produced for the next 15 years would depict some semblance of this body style. Some of the details that set the '68 apart from the rest of the shark - era Corvettes were corrections in engineering, but this year Corvette had a personality distinct from the rest. You can notice some of these changes in the redesigned inner door panels - for more shoulder room, and the thumb button to open the door. The 427 was still available, including the L88 option that put 500 hp under the hood.
The '69 Corvette was the second year of shark production, and GM was starting to get a handle on what they needed to do to ensure a long and prosperous future for the Corvette. The Stingray emblem was re - introduced on the '69 model, combined into one word instead of two. The fender flares for stone protection would have to wait another year to be introduced on the '70 Corvette.
Like the '68, the '63 Corvette was a totally new venture in styling. The body styling from the rear was carried over from the previous year, but tied in to the rest of the body via a split rear window, inherent to this year only. The '63's early reviews were very positive, and the suspension designed for the '63 model was good enough to be used with few improvements up until the end of '82 production.
GM introduced the ZR - 1 in 1990, but the '93 ZR - 1 received a boost in horsepower with the Lotus - designed engine - from 375 to 405, thus "improving"what buyers and critics were already considering a home run.
The '60 Corvette is the last of an era. The body style that began two years earlier had been refined, and chrome usage was restrained to tasteful levels. This is the last year for the rounded taillights in the fender, and the toothy grille was replaced the following year. Horsepower was still an option with two four - barrel carburetors or fuel injection to boost the horsepower to 290. With some changes to the grille and a completely new rear, the '62 Corvette was somewhat new. The engine was bumped up to 327 ci and, while the dual 4 - bbl carburetors were not an option, the fuel - injected engines came in 300 and 360hp trim. This was the last year that Corvettes would have solid axles, and the trunk wouldn't be seen again for many years.
This was the last year for the high - compression engines which displaced 350 or 454 cubic inches. GM also introduced the LT - 1 engine in 1970 with a horsepower rating of 370. The square exhaust ports and flared wheelwells distinguish the '70 Corvette from the earlier sharks.
The Corvette had a lot to be thankful for. In 1978, GM celebrated 25 years of Corvette production, and that same year the Corvette was the official pace car for the Indianapolis 500. GM would produce two special options to commemorate each of these milestones.
Larry Shinoda once mentioned that the '73 Corvette was his favorite of the post - '67 era. And indeed, the soft nose and chrome rear bumper put this Corvette in a class by itself. While 350 or 454ci engines were available as an option, neither engine produced over 275 hp. Even so, there are still loyal followers to this combination of new and old styling.
So there you have it. Your choices for the most fabulous Corvettes to date. Some day, we'll undoubtedly see other C4s beside the ZR - 1, and C5s honored this way, but they'll have to earn their stripes, just like these glorious Corvettes have done. Thanks to all of you who participated.