Over and over again, enthusiasts continue to ask me which are the more outstanding Corvettes to invest in-which ones will stand out in the future. Well here goes my suggestions-here are 10 sure-fire winners for 2001:
1 The '57 Corvette proved to be a true milestone thanks to its combination of breakthrough performance and classy styling. The new for '57 283ci engine, when equipped with the new Rochester fuel injection, had a 283hp rating-one horsepower per cubic inch of displacement! The four-speed manual transmission was another first for an American car. Exterior design-wise, the simple clean lines that were carried over from '56 give us an enduring classic. The '57 fuelie proved to be a solid foundation for the Corvette legacy.
2 The '63 was an all new design. The totally re-engineered chassis featured four-wheel independent suspension, while a Corvette coupe was available for the first time. The '63 coupe with the L84 360hp fuel-injected 327 was-and still is-a breathtaking example of Duntov, Shinoda, and Mitchell teamwork. World recognition was sought-and achieved.
3 The '65 375hp fuelie and...
4 ...the '65 396. Yes, two '65 models. The last of the legendary fuelies, and the first of the thundering big-blocks in the same year. Take your choice: a beautifully balanced 375hp fuelie, or the 425hp, 396 "rat motor", the arrival of "Big Time Torque."
5 All '67, '68 and '69 models with the optional L88 and L89 big-blocks. The L88s were race cars not meant for street use. The L89, a L71 (435hp 427 with three-2V induction) with aluminum heads, was a super performance street motor-and much easier to live with. And the alloy heads helped make the car less nose heavy. The big-blocks' reputation is now legend.
6 The '70-'72 LT-1 cars offered a return to pure sports car heaven. The high-winding 350 re-established the solid-lifter small-block as a powerful partner to the big-blocks. Genuine (correctly documented) LT-1s are both highly recommended, and still affordable. They look good and sound better.
7 The '71 LS6 was not as famous as the L88 but will be in time. This 454ci big-block with aluminum heads is not to be confused with the new-for-2001 LS6. This is one wild "Rat" that runs on regular pump gas, and was available with either four-speed or an automatic transmission. Rare-just 188 were ordered, and certainly not for the faint of heart. The LS6 was the last of the big-block rocket sleds.
8 The '90-'95 ZR-1's. Limited production, and $70,000 price tags, kept them pretty exclusive. The "King of the Hill" Corvette will still inspire-take a couple of aspirin before using.
9 The '96 Grand Sport coupes and convertibles. A total of 1,000 (810 coupes and 190 convertibles) '96s were built with RPO Z16, and had their own unique serial number sequence. Special paint, tires and wheels, and the one-year-only 330hp LT4 350 set the Grand Sports apart from other '96s. A very nice package indeed. We can't get enough of them.
10 The '01 Z06. For less than $50,000 you can take home Chevy's most athletic C5 and, in the opinion of some Corvette pundits, the best Corvette ever offered to the public. Unlike the '63 Z06 with only 199 built, this new one will very likely be produced in too great a volume to drive up its future values. Buy this one for immediate-and intense-gratification! For over two decades Mike Kitain and his Corvette Enterprise Brokerage have been helping enthusiasts worldwide buy and sell Corvettes. They offer a complete selection of '53 through '01 models. They are available at (973) 472-7021 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.