10 Best and Worst Corvettes of the Past 64 Production Years

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worse corvettes

The current C7 Chevy Corvette may be a wonderful, powerful, and striking machine, but we have to remember the humble beginnings of America’s iconic sports car.

While the Corvette continuously ups its game to bring some heat to Europe’s finest, not all Corvettes have been as pretty, reliable, or even enjoyable as the last couple of generations. Let’s take a minute to highlight the 10 best Corvettes, as well as the 10 worst Corvettes in history according to our loyal forum members.

10 Worst Corvettes

1953 Corvette

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Lingenfelter Collection

I personally disagree with this choice, due to its striking beauty. The very first Corvette has been called the best and also the worst Corvette ever. Built from parts belonging to other Chevrolet passenger cars at the time, the first Corvette was slow, unreliable, and featured poor fit and finish.

1958 Corvette

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Historic Motorama

While it retained some of the design queues of the original car, the 1958 model is considered one of the worst Corvettes due to the addition of unnecessary chrome fixtures, and the transition to a quad-style headlamp that ruined its elegant look.

1975 Corvette Base

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Hoosier Classic Motorcars

For 1975, the Chevy Corvette gained catalytic converters for the first time, it lost half a point of compression, and decreased the total power output to a depressing 165 horsepower. Not only that, but it featured a 3-speed automatic transmission that contributed to an embarrassing naught-to-60 mph time of 7.7 seconds. The Malaise Era was hell, and 1975 was the pitts.

1979 Corvette L48

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The base L48 version of the 1979 Corvette had a heavy 5.7-liter V8 that managed to crank a miserable 195 horsepower, which was barely enough to get the 3,372-pound ‘Vette up to speed. The interior was trimmed in a hideous monochrome scheme that extended the disco-era upholstery colors to the door panels and dashboard. Funny enough, this is one of the best-selling Corvettes to date.

1980 Corvette 305

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Corvette Story

The year 1980 was lousy. Inflation was rampant, the economy was in the doldrums, and the Corvette was awful, especially in California. Chevrolet gave up trying to certify the Corvette’s 350-cubic-inch V8 for that state’s more stringent emissions requirements. So if you wanted a new Corvette that year in, say, Los Angeles or San Francisco, you had to settle for one with a 305-cubic-inch V8 and a 3-speed automatic transmission.

Today, this Corvette ranks as a top candidate for an electric drivetrain swap because even an LS motor would be depressed touching engine mounts that were once tainted by a 305.

1982 Corvette Collector Edition

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Ron Susser

This is the year when the already-outdated C3 Corvette was made for one more year entirely as an afterthought, only to give Chevrolet some more time to finalize the C4 Corvette that was coming down the road. This is the year in which the Corvette was only available as an automatic. Horrifying, right?

1987 Callaway Corvette Twin Turbo

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: MCG Ohio

Available through Chevy dealers using the regular production option (RPO) code B2K, only about 500 units of this beauty were ordered. Rumor has it that the bolt-on, twin-turbocharged and twin-intercooler kit from Callaway was simply too much for the new C4, and it proved very unreliable.

1988 Corvette Commemorative Edition

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: The Examiner

Long story short: there was nothing commemorative with this Corvette. Unless you count the “special” white leather, white door panels, white steering wheel, white wheels, etc.

Hey, at least Dale Sr. owned one.

1995 Corvette Pace Car

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Super Chevy

There was nothing mechanically awful about the 527 replicas built of the Corvette Convertible that paced the 1995 Indianapolis 500. But they looked like white cars that a couple of lunatics in the GM design studio had drawn all over with Magic Markers.

1998 Corvette Pace Car

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Rare Vettes

Perhaps one of the most popular Indy 500 pace car Corvettes. It simply looked too much like Barbie’s Corvette.


10 Best Corvettes

1953 Corvette

Again, it was crap, but it was the Corvette that started it all.

1955 Corvette

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Corvette Blogger

It was the year of the introduction of the Chevrolet small-block V8 engine. Although a mere 265 cubic inches (4.3 liters), the first small-block was rated at 195 horsepower, which was thrilling for that time and size of vehicle.

1957 Corvette Fuel Injection (’57 Fuelie)

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Lingenfelter Collection

With Zora Arkus-Duntov guiding Corvette development as chief engineer, Chevrolet’s two-seater finally gained performance points via Rochester mechanical fuel injection and a small-block good for 283 galloping horses.

1963 Corvette Fuel-Injected, Split-Window Coupe

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: King of Fuel

One of the most iconic Corvettes, this razor-sharp design, sleek front and rear end, and wide fender arches made the ’63 model a huge hit. This year you could also add a Z06 option that stiffened the suspension, modified the gear ratios, and featured bigger drum brakes. This baby had a whopping 360 horsepower!

1967 Corvette 427 L88

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Barrett Jackson

Basically a race car for the streets. Stand next to one, and you can practically feel the big Holley 850 carburetor fighting to pull the air out of your lungs. After a few moments, the engine settles into a vicious idle, and the heat coming from the exhaust begins to roast your nostrils. This is what dreams are made of!

1970 Corvette LT-1

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: BSC Corvette

With a 370-horsepower, 350-cubic-inch small-block V8, this Chevy Corvette was finely tuned, and ready to play gentleman racer or dragway bruiser. You choose. It looks stunning in this shade of green, too.

1984 Corvette C4

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Classic Car History

It was the eighties, and this looked like the future. The C4 brought much-needed fresh blood to showroom floors, and this model could even keep up with Porsches on the handling course, even though it only produced 205 horsepower out of its heavy 5.7-liter V8.

1990 Corvette ZR-1

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Wallpaper Up

The all-time favorite for one of our editors, this Corvette went high-tech with a Lotus-designed, Mercury Marine-built, DOHC, 32-valve LT5 V8 under the clamshell hood of the ZR-1. The LT5 motor produced 375 horsepower (405 hp in later years), and blasted to 117 mph in 13 seconds.

1997 Corvette C5

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Curbside Classic

Perhaps one of the most commonly encountered Corvettes on the streets nowadays, this was the first truly well-rounded Corvette with which you could live everyday. The LS1 5.7-liter V8 produced 345 horsepower, allowing the car to reach 60 mph from zero in just under five seconds.

The seats were under-bolstered, but comfortable, the driving position and interior ergonomics were excellent, even though the C5 has the cheapest-quality interior in all of Corvette history.

It wasn’t a perfect generation, but to this day, it remains an excellent car.

2009 Corvette ZR1

worse corvettes

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

Nicknamed the “Blue Devil,” until the C7 Z06, this was the most powerful Corvette ever, and it could surpass the 200-mph mark courtesy of its 6.2-liter supercharged LS motor with 638 horsepower. This particular model also played protagonist during the National Corvette Museum sinkhole disaster.

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

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