As Chevy’s fastest Corvette ever wraps up its second model year, we’re taking a look back at the Plastic Fantastic’s history to better understand its legacy as General Motors’ leading performance machine. The Corvette you see today isn’t some juiced-up sports car made with leftover bits from the GM parts bin; it’s the culmination of decades of engineering hits and misses that, like other great vehicles, have been honed to a fine edge.
The Corvette is more than just a muscle car or a performance coupe, it’s a staple of American culture, and a really fun one at that. Today, this V8 driven juggernaut has transformed into a car that is far more affordable than one might expect, carries more luxury options than the average Jag, and is incredibly clever in both its engine management and handling departments.
For the first time in years, the current generation of Stingray has proven to be as popular with critics as it has been with customers. On top of making Car & Driver’s 10 Best List in 2014 and 2015, the Corvette was also named Automobile Magazine’s 2014 Automobile of the Year. It’s had its first back-to-back 30,000-plus sales years since 2006-’07, and with things like fuel saving cylinder deactivation and insane special edition models making the rounds, you can see why.
But before we get too deep in the joys of modern technology, let’s take a look back at what made the Vette what it is today. With a little help from our friends over at Edmunds.com, we were able to come up with eight of the most crucial Corvette developments in history, starting all the way back in 1953.