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Old 04-08-2009, 06:30 PM   #1
Durissus
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Default How did C1, C2, C3, C4 etc designations originate?

It was a few years between owning my '67 and buying my '94 in '07. During those lean years, I admired corvettes, but didn't keep in touch with all the nomenclature. After I heard there were "families" so to speak, I still cannot understand how one lumps the '68 through '72 in with the '74-'82 as the body styles are radically different, IMHO. The '73 just falls in a class by itself; don't know where I'd put it. Someone enlighten me, please!

Last edited by Durissus; 04-08-2009 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:52 PM   #2
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I bought my first Vette in Dec. 67 so the 68 Stingray was a new car at the time. I remember that all the 53 - 62 Vettes were called Solid Axle cars, the 63 - 67s were Mid-Years, and after 68 all of the Stingrays were called Sharks. Then when the 84 came out the factory called it a C4 and that seems to have moved back to include the C1, C2, C3, etc.

Call me old school, or cranky, but the old ones will always be solid axle and mid-years to me.
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:02 PM   #3
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It is my undestanding that the "generations" share common frame, suspension, interior design etc. The difference in looks between a 68 and an 82 are body panels, but the fundamentals are the same. That's my 2 cents anyway.
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Durissus View Post
It was a few years between owning my '67 and buying my '94 in '07. During those lean years, I admired corvettes, but didn't keep in touch with all the nomenclature. After I heard there were "families" so to speak, I still cannot understand how one lumps the '68 through '72 in with the '74-'82 as the body styles are radically different, IMHO. The '73 just falls in a class by itself; don't know where I'd put it. Someone enlighten me, please!

The C3 frame origanated in the 63 vette first. Many simularities in 68 to 82 vettes. I personally like all model years of the C3. I have owned 1 68 sb, 1 68 BB, and a 1969. I think the 78 to 82 looks the best to me though.


The C3 evolved because of changes in what was accectable to Washington DC.
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Durissus View Post
It was a few years between owning my '67 and buying my '94 in '07. During those lean years, I admired corvettes, but didn't keep in touch with all the nomenclature. After I heard there were "families" so to speak, I still cannot understand how one lumps the '68 through '72 in with the '74-'82 as the body styles are radically different, IMHO. The '73 just falls in a class by itself; don't know where I'd put it. Someone enlighten me, please!
Only thing I can think of: All Corvettes before '73 had front AND rear chrome bumpers. All Corvettes after '73 had front AND rear plastic bumpers
The '73 had a rear chrome bumper and a plastic front bumper.
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:29 PM   #6
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Only thing I can think of: All Corvettes before '73 had front AND rear chrome bumpers. All Corvettes after '73 had front AND rear plastic bumpers
The '73 had a rear chrome bumper and a plastic front bumper.
Bumper changes had to do with govt. regulations.
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj1988 View Post
I bought my first Vette in Dec. 67 so the 68 Stingray was a new car at the time. I remember that all the 53 - 62 Vettes were called Solid Axle cars, the 63 - 67s were Mid-Years, and after 68 all of the Stingrays were called Sharks. Then when the 84 came out the factory called it a C4 and that seems to have moved back to include the C1, C2, C3, etc.

Call me old school, or cranky, but the old ones will always be solid axle and mid-years to me.
I could be wrong but I thought the "C" designations began with the C5 and reverted back from there.
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:40 PM   #8
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I could be wrong but I thought the "C" designations began with the C5 and reverted back from there.
I do believe, you are correct
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:49 PM   #9
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I do believe, you are correct
Somewhere in the second part of 1959, project XP-720 begins at GM Styling, to design a production Corvette based on Bill Mitchell's Sting Ray racer. It would become known as the C2 or second generation Corvette. In October of that same year, a clay mock-up of project XP-720 is completed and put on display for General Motors' management viewing. This early effort was essentially the Stingray Racer with a coupe top.

http://www.corvettes.nl/prototypes/page20/page20.html
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ambalanche View Post
I could be wrong but I thought the "C" designations began with the C5 and reverted back from there.
- prior to that, i remember solid axles, mid-years, and late models. when the 84's came out, 68-82's became known as "sharks", and the 84 generation were late models, then in 97, corvettes became c5's, and since then, the C-generation thing took over. i still refer to early corvettes as solid axles, mid-years, and sharks - later corvettes as C4's, C5's and C6's.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:35 AM   #11
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GM used the same basic body (with cosmetic changes) for for many years of a cars production. The C1 was the first Corvette body. 1953 was the first year Corvette. Only 300 were made and they were all hand built.
1954 the first regular production C1 bodies came off the line. The frame and body remained basicly the same through 1962.
1963 saw a major body change. The shark nose Vette. This basic body style only lasted a few years until 1967. The C2 body style had the shortest production run, making it a very collectable car.
The C3 or StingRay came out in 1968. This is the car that most people came to view as the Corvette. This ran until 1982.
1983 - no Corvettes!
1984, the C4 came out. First "world class" GM sports car. This was an other long running body style, until 1996.
1997 - The C5 came out. Another major body style change and ran until 2004.
2005 - C6 body. Looks a lot like the C5 but there were major changes to the frame and body. The interior is larger and the headlights are fixed position.
So there you have it. C1 through C6. C=Corvette 1-6=basic body type.

FYI - in 1953 GM used fiberglass on the Corvette body because it was cheaper than making steel body molds. The car had a 231 cid in-line six and a two speed automatic transmition. No carpet-lanoliuim floors. I've only seen one. Looked kind of homemade, but it was the very first Corvette. The fiberglass body turned out to be light weight and popular, GM has kept with the plastic body on the Corvette ever since. The original plan was to have a steel body for the 1954 Corvette.

GM designates this the Y body car (I think early cars were designated E, but I'm not sure). The C1-C6 is used by writers and Corvette owners as a short cut to car generation identification. GM does not use the C1-C6 designtion.

Last edited by dlb435; 04-09-2009 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj1988 View Post
Then when the 84 came out the factory called it a C4 and that seems to have moved back to include the C1, C2, C3, etc.
This is not correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambalanche View Post
I could be wrong but I thought the "C" designations began with the C5 and reverted back from there.
This is correct.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:20 AM   #13
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I never heard of a "C5" until I read it in a magazine. The same magazine said the "C" referred to "Chassis". Don't know how true it is, but I don't drive C4's, I drive a '93 and a '95 which when I was growing up was always called the "new" vette.

I think GM went with the "C" designations for C5 and C6 to give it a more European flair.

Not many European cars have names(yes a lot do, but not all).

Mercedes are all SL, CLK etc with numbers after them, BMW's are all numbers followed by letters, same for Audi.

They think the Europeans would rather drive a "C6" than a Corvette.

Same goes for Cadillac, no more names, just letters that stand for what the names were.

Also, the Z06 and ZR1 were always RPO's until they decided to make the 1990 Corvette with the LT5 a ZR1 model. Same for the Z06 in 2001 and the current ZR1, also I don't give a crap if I left the hyphen out of the name, it's still a RPO to me.
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:34 AM   #14
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The old ones will always be solid axle and midyears followed by the sharks but then I guess that makes me one of the old guys.
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambalanche View Post
I could be wrong but I thought the "C" designations began with the C5 and reverted back from there.
If you read Corvette Fever magazine in the early to mid 90s they were still referring to 62-67 as mid year cars and the earlier ones as solid axle. The C4 was the current generation or late model generation. Around 1996 when the C5 was released C5 was used to describe the generation. And the previous generations were labeled C1-C4. That is how I remember it but I've also been known to be wrong.
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ambalanche View Post
I could be wrong but I thought the "C" designations began with the C5 and reverted back from there.
Seemed to be a marketing thing for the "C5".

This also seemed to be the introduction of a negative view of an outgoing model. The marketing at the time was less a "building on the greatness of previous models" type thing, and more a "if you liked that old POS, then you'll be blown away by this new 'vette" type of thing.

I don't recall that being the case when the 1984 model came out, though to be fair I was only about 8 years old then.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambalanche View Post
I could be wrong but I thought the "C" designations began with the C5 and reverted back from there.


GM started using the "C" designation with C5s.

I still call them solid axles, midyears and sharks.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:59 PM   #18
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GM started using the "C" designation with C5s.

I still call them solid axles, midyears and sharks.


My source says : The C business is a design studio designation. The design exercise where designated C for corvette.

Example : C4 was started in 1977 and had dozens of C4---- designs.

Same cor C3 and C2 .

C1 is a little cloudy. NCRS guys may know that one.


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Old 04-10-2009, 04:19 PM   #19
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If Chevrolet was calling the XP720 a C2 then it appears Chevrolet was doing the C naming many years ago way before 84 or 97. Its just become more popular since the into of the C5.
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurora40 View Post
Seemed to be a marketing thing for the "C5".

This also seemed to be the introduction of a negative view of an outgoing model. The marketing at the time was less a "building on the greatness of previous models" type thing, and more a "if you liked that old POS, then you'll be blown away by this new 'vette" type of thing.

I don't recall that being the case when the 1984 model came out, though to be fair I was only about 8 years old then.
I agree. Every catalog I read about the C5 when it first appeared explained why you should buy one because of how much better it was than the C4. I mean from a technological standpoint they were right but I mean come on. Other car makes that the Corvette is compared with don't take a dump on their previous generation designs to push the new one.

But that's the Corvette marketing motto: the next generation is always suppose to be bigger and better than the last. Come to think of it, I guess every car maker these days follows that philosopy but they keep it low key.
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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