5 Slowest, Least Sporty Corvettes by Generation

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There are no bad C5, C6, or C7 Vettes really.


1. 1953-54 C1 Corvette (150hp 6 Cylinder, Powerglide)

C1 Corvette

The first Corvettes are also some of the worst performing models. Of course, it is easy to see why: they all were stuck with a 2-speed Powerglide automatic and 150 hp Blue Flame stove bolt six. Estimates are that it took 11 seconds to get to 60 mph and nearly 18 seconds to run a ¼ mile. That made it slower than a Jaguar XK120, but compared to the typical American passenger car (the Belair for instance), it was quicker, faster, sportier, and 800lbs lighter. To put it in perspective, one of the slowest cars tested by MotorTrend in 2015, the Nissan Versa, went 0-60 in just 10.3 seconds, likely handles better than the C1 Vette, and no doubt stops much better. But there is no competing with the original American sports car on style.


2. 1963 C2 Corvette Stingray (250hp 327 ci V8, Powerglide)

fm personal Automotive Brochure Coillection

The C2 Corvette was so much better than the C1 version, that even the worst performing model was better than many of the early top of the line cars. The base model with a mild 327 small block and 2-speed automatic would still go from 0-60 in about 9 seconds, and the ¼ mile in less than 16 seconds. The independent rear suspension and revised front suspension vastly improved the handling too. Of course, you were still stuck with drum brakes for another few years, but even those were improved when compared to the first generation. The comparable 2015 performer would be a Honda Fit, or VW Golf diesel, both of which have a 9-second 0-60. Nothing could touch the sex appeal of the split window Stingray coupe then, and some would argue that even the lowliest 1963 Vette is one of the most attractive cars ever.


3. 1980 C3 Corvette California Emissions (180hp 305ci V8, 3-speed automatic)


Some would argue that the 1975 model, rated at just 165hp from the 350ci small block motor is worse, or just as bad at the least, but that motor could be had with a manual transmission. If you were in the state of California and wanted a new 1980 Corvette, you were stuck with a 305ci motor and a 3-speed automatic transmission. It was about as slow as those first years before the V8. These were the bad old days of big 5 mph bumpers, strict smog laws and fuel economy standards, and the 55 mph speed limit. Luckily, fuel injection, the C4, and the end of the cold war were fast approaching.


4. 1983 C4 Caprice Wagon Test Mule (350ci V8, 4-speed automatic)


Okay, argue with me if you want, but Chevy didn’t really make any production 1983 Corvettes. They did have several of these 1983 Caprice wagons outfitted with Corvette running gear, brakes, interior pieces and some other stuff. They were used to pile test miles on various C4 Corvette parts without having to drive the new Vettes out on the roads where the public could see them. Later the new TPI motors were installed in them for the same purposes and they were driven extensively all over the place. They also served as chase vehicles, carrying engineers and equipment when the development team was out on the road in actual Corvettes testing them. The last one was sold at Barrett-Jackson years ago when GM cleaned house.


5. 1984 Corvette C4 (205hp 350ci, 4-speed automatic)

Corvette C4

The 1984 C4 Corvette was head and shoulders above the antiquated C3 car it replaced in every way except power. While the later cars would get the excellent TPI motor with modern port fuel injection and over 300hp, that first year they had to make due with the same old Cross-Fire Injection the previous car had. For this reason, 1984 Corvettes are still a serious bargain on the used car market, and if your smog laws will allow upgrades, an easy platform for serious performance upgrades. The brakes, handling, and shape are all 21st century modern; even 30 years later, all you need to do is to swap in an LS motor and a 6-speed transmission.


For more information, DIY articles, and How-to guides, visit https://www.corvetteforum.com/how-tos.

Bryan Wood is a longtime car and motorcycle enthusiast who writes for Harley-Davidson Forums and Corvette Forum, among other auto sites. Plus, he runs his own blog, Pilez & Driverz.

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