With the introduction of the new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show, we at AOL Autos, along with the editors over at Edmunds.com, have been hit with a bit of nostalgia.
The Corvette is one of the most iconic cars in American automotive history. Its genesis was way back in 1953 and the famous sports car is now on its seventh generation. It has remained a staple of American muscle and is perhaps the most recognizable car that the U.S. produces.
Over the past 60 years, Chevrolet has produced a lot of Corvettes -- more than 1.3 million across six generations, in fact. During that time, it has set the tone of the entire Chevy line and given the Americans a car to compete with the Porsches, Audis and Mercedes-Benzes that often dominate the sports car conversation. All in all, it has been and continues to be a very important vehicle.
So, in celebration of the all-new Corvette, the Edmunds.com editors compiled a list of the ones that they think are the absolute best. And, of course, since they can't all be winners over such a long run, they compiled a list of the worst Corvettes of all time as well.
Click on through for a brief tour of the Corvettes that are the most memorable and those that are forgettable. Do you agree with the choices?
Because the 1979 Corvette L48 did not come in with any available fancy exteriors packages like the 1978, it showed how bad the C3 Corvette had become over the years. Edmunds put it on their list because of its poor interior and weak engine.
"The base L48 version of the 1979 Corvette had a 5.7-liter V8 that made only 195 hp, barely enough to keep the 3,372-pound lump moving. Meanwhile the interior was a relentless, hideous monochrome that extended the disco-era upholstery colors onto the door panels and dashboard," Edmunds complained.
Despite its flaws, however, the 1979 Corvette is actually the best selling Corvette of all time.
The 1998 Corvette Pace Car was an absurd eyesore. Just look at all that purple and highlighter yellow!
"Whoever signed off on this rolling monument to bad taste should have been hanged, or better yet, forced to drive one. It would have been more painful," Edmunds vented.
One word can describe the 1980 Corvette 305: Weak. The car's V8 produced just 190 hp and even the high-performance L82 only produced 230 hp.
If you were in California, it was even worse. Because of new emissions standards, you were stuck with "a lousy, lazy 180-hp, 5.0-liter lump of small-block agony. It couldn't pull out a dangling baby tooth."
Though Edmunds also included the original Corvette on its "best" list, corners that were cut in order to actually get the Corvette into production resulted in a bad suspension and a terrible two-speed automatic transmission.
The first Corvettes were actually built in a place that wasn't intended for vehicle production, resulting in cars that were, as Edmunds put it, "crude."
The 1975 Corvette Base was, simply put, very slow. As Edmunds explained, Chevrolet switched engines for this model year and it went very, very badly. Most Corvettes in the 1975 model year produced just 165 hp.
"This is the Corvette at its lowest and yet Chevy managed to sell 38,665 of them anyhow. That's 1,164 more than it did of the '74 and, up until that time, the most Corvettes Chevy had ever sold during a model year. Go figure," Edmunds said.
Edmunds picked the 1997 Corvette C5 for the number 5 spot on its "best" list because it "mixed both performance capability and true touring comfort. The C5 was the first Corvette that was as comfortable crossing the country as dicing for position on a racetrack."
The C5 also employed an all new aluminum V8 engine, which was truly brilliant. With a manual transmission, this Corvette could go 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds.
1955 was the first year that a V8 engine was available in the Corvette. Though the horsepower numbers weren't that great, it still made for a solid car.
All in all, Edmunds explained that "the '55 Corvette wasn't that fast. But it's the Corvette that made fast Corvettes possible."
The 2009 Corvette ZR1 was an absolute beast. With a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine, the ZR1 could go from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. That is furiously fast.
"Even as the ZR1 was leaving production just as 2013 began, it was still winning comparison tests and burning down tires befitting the legend it had established. This is the fastest, most capable Corvette ever built," Edmunds said.
Though it wasn't the fastest Corvette in the sprint or the best handling, the 1990 Corvette ZR1 made Edmunds' list due to its incredible midrange acceleration. The ZR1 could go from 60-100 mph in just 4.8 seconds.
"The C5 and C6 Corvettes have chased and surpassed the old ZR-1. But that doesn't diminish the achievement the ZR-1 represents," Edmunds claimed.
Edmunds said that the 1963 Corvette Fuel-Injected Coupe is the best Corvette ever made due to its incredible and "alluring" design. Its new chassis and suspension helped to solidify the Corvette as a true sports car, but the fact that it was simply a truly beautiful vehicle landed it at the top of the list.
"Razor-sharp fender shapes, a tapered tail and a sharklike mouth make it both gorgeous and aggressive. This was the first fixed-roof Corvette coupe and it remains the most beautiful," Edmunds said.
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