I have to admit that I spent most of my youth in and around the garages Werner Meier, one of the country’s most notable Corvette collectors and enthusiasts. Those garages that over the years have been filled not only with his Corvettes, but those of his clients for restoration. I was incredibly spoiled to see every Corvette it seems. With this amount of exposure to all of these Corvettes, you’ll quickly find your favorites and least.
Take me to the C2, the crown jewel. While I liked the C1, the bubbly lines that were a product of its debut in the ’50s, the just didn’t set the mood. No, I liked it as those lines evolved to become sleeker and more angular, giving birth to the C2.
If you’re unfamiliar with Corvette history, the C2 would be the nickname’s saving grace. While Corvette ran “okay” in the ’50s and eventually competed in racing from 1957, GM had none of it and the program almost ended. Bill Mitchell, the Corvette’s chief designer at the time, ended up financing the development of the C2 out of his own pocket. When I had a chance to listen to designer Peter Brock talk about Bill’s work on the C2, he mentioned GM’s conditions on keeping the car: it wasn’t allowed to bear the “Chevrolet” or “Corvette” name. Thus the “Sting Ray” was born. Bill’s direct contributions would keep the Corvette running from there.
- C2: What a nice second beginning.
- C3: There are usually two Corvettes that refer to the “iconic” Corvette that almost everyone (okay, really Boomers) loves, and that’s the C2 and the C3. The lines were a bit more aggressive and smooth on the C3.
- C7: The C7 brought the Corvette back to a body style that mimicked the lines of its fiery C2 and C3 brethren that designers somehow hid over the decades in between.
- C8: While I agree, the mid-engine doesn’t feel very “Corvette-like,” but it’s still a superbly designed vehicle that maintains the lines of Corvette heritage while making a mid-engine sports car accessible to almost everyone. Sometimes you have to go somewhere in design, and Corvette chose to go all out.
- C4: This little door wedge used to be near the bottom of my rankings, but after driving this guy I fell in love with the retro dash and just had to move it up. Sure, it’s a wedge, but there’s still sharp design lines, fun colors, and probably the last time Corvette really felt like a Corvette until C7.
- C1: The lines from 1953 and the following years up to C2 were just a little too much rounded. The ’60-’62 started adding some anglesbut still… too bubbly.
- C6: I’m embarrassed that most of my writers considered this generation their favorite, but I understand where they’re coming from when they say the Corvette of your youth is your favorite. Only mine (C4) wasn’t that high on my list. Continuing the inflated looks of the clumsy GM design era, the C6 begged to be edgier.
Which brings me to the last on the list…