Corvette History

 
   

While the style of a car may be just as important to some as to how well the car runs, it was not until 1927, when General Motors hired designer Harley Earl, that automotive styling and design became important to American automobile manufacturers. What Henry Ford did for automobile manufacturing principles, Harley Earl did for car design. Most of GM's flamboyant "dream car" designs of the 1950s are directly attributable to Earl, leading one journalist to comment that the designs were "the American psyche made visible." Harley Earl loved sports cars, and GIs returning after serving overseas in the years following World War II were bringing home MGs, Jaguars, Alfa Romeos, and the like. In 1951, Nash Motors began selling a two-seat sports car, the Nash-Healey, that was made in partnership with the Italian designer Pinin Farina and British auto engineer Donald Healey. Earl convinced GM that they also needed to build a two-seat sports car. Earl and his Special Projects crew began working on the new car later that year, which was code named "Opel." The result was the 1953 Corvette, unveiled to the public at that year's Motorama car show. The original concept for the Corvette emblem incorporated an American flag into the design, but was changed well before production since associating the flag with a product was frowned upon.

Taking its name from the corvette, a small, maneuverable fighting frigate (the credit for the naming goes to Myron Scott), the first Corvettes were virtually hand-built in Flint, Michigan in Chevrolet's Customer Delivery Center, now an academic building at Kettering University. The outer body was made out of then-revolutionary fiberglass, selected in part because of steel quotas left over from the war. Underneath the new body material were standard Chevrolet components, including the "Blue Flame" inline six-cylinder truck engine, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, and drum brakes from Chevrolet's regular car line. Though the engine's output was increased somewhat, thanks to a triple-carburetor intake exclusive to the Corvette, performance of the car was decidedly lackluster. Compared to the British and Italian sports cars of the day, the Corvette was underpowered, required a great deal of effort as well as clear roadway to bring to a stop, and even lacked a "proper" manual transmission. Up until that time, the Chevrolet division was GM's entry-level marque, known for excellent but no-nonsense cars[citation needed]. Nowhere was that more evident than in the Corvette[citation needed]. A Paxton supercharger became available in 1954 as a dealer-installed option, greatly improving the Corvette's straight-line performance, but sales continued to decline.

GM was seriously considering shelving the project, leaving the Corvette to be little more than a footnote in automotive history, and would have done so if not for two important events. The first was the introduction in 1955 of Chevrolet's first V8 engine (a 265 in {4.3 L}) since 1919, and the second was the influence of a Soviet migr in GM's engineering department, Zora Arkus-Duntov. Arkus-Duntov simply took the new V8 and backed it with a three-speed manual transmission. That modification, probably the single most important in the car's history[citation needed], helped turn the Corvette from a two-seat curiosity into a genuine performer. It also earned Arkus-Duntov the rather inaccurate nickname "Father of the Corvette."

Another key factor in the Corvette's survival was Ford's introduction, in 1955, of the two-seat Thunderbird[citation needed], which was billed as a "personal luxury car", not a sports car. Even so, the Ford-Chevrolet rivalry in those days demanded that GM not appear to back down from the challenge. The "T-Bird" was changed to a four-seater in 1958.

There have been six generations of the Corvette so far, sometimes referred to as C1 through C6.

Chevrolet Corvette C1
 
1958 Chevrolet Corvette roadster.The first generation is most commonly referred to as a "solid-axle", based on the fact that independent rear suspension (IRS) was not available until 1963. The first generation started in 1953 and ended in 1962.

With limited production due to the fact that they were all hand built and assembled, the 1953 Corvette, with a total of only 300 copies produced, is the rarest and most sought after Corvette model year. With few changes except for color choices and production numbers, the 1954 is the last Corvette to have a 6 cylinder engine. 1955 saw the introduction of the V-8 engine, replacing the underpowered "Blue Flame" in-line 6. Aside from the engine, the 1955 model can be differentiated by its logo -- the "V" in Corvette is enlarged and gold colored, signifying the V-8 engine under the hood.

In 1956 a new body was designed for the car which changed it from a country club style sports car to a true American hot rod. One noteworthy addition of optional fuel injection in mid-1957 (also available on Chevrolet Bel Air). Fuel injection first saw regular use on a gasoline engine two years prior on the Mercedes-Benz 300SL "gullwing" roadster. Although the Corvette's GM-Rochester injection used a constant flow system as opposed to the diesel style nozzle metering system of the Mercedes', it nevertheless produced about 290 hp (216 kW) (gross). The number was listed by Chevrolet's advertising agency for the 283 hp/283in (4.6L) "one hp per cubic inch" slogan, making it one of the first mass-produced engines in history to reach 1 hp/in. Other early options included power windows (1956), hydraulically operated power convertible top (1956), four speed manual transmission (late 1957), and heavy duty brakes and suspension (1957).

The 1958 Corvette saw another body freshening and more options available. This year had the most exterior chrome and was the heaviest of the C-1s. From its quad headlights and hood louvers to its twin trunk spars and bumper exiting exhaust, it was the flashiest Corvette ever built. 1959-60 saw little changes except ever decreasing chrome and increasing HP. For 1961 a complete change to the rear of the car was made, with hints of things to come. It had a "boat tail" rear with the first year to have 4 tail lights. In 1962, the GM 283 small block was enlarged to 327 CID (5.4 L) and produced a maximum of 360 hp (268 kW) making it the fastest of the C-1s and by now almost completely devoid of chrome.

1962 was the last year for many things: curved windshield, solid rear axle, convertible only, 4 wheel drum brakes. The trunk and exposed headlights disappeared for decades, returning in 1998 and 2005, respectively.

Chevrolet Corvette C2 is a sports car designed by Larry Shinoda under the styling direction of Bill Mitchell, and produced between 1963 and 1967. It is the second generation or mid-year Chevrolet Corvette built and marketed by Chevrolet.

1963 would see the introduction of the new Corvette Sting Ray coup with its distinctive split rear window and fake hood vents as well as an independent rear suspension. The split rear window was discontinued in 1964 due to safety concerns. Because they made the design too busy, the hood vents were also cut. Power for 1963 was at 360 hp (272 kW) hitting 375 hp (280 kW) in 1964.

Four-wheel disc brakes were introduced in 1965, as well as a "Big Block" engine option: the 396 in (6.5 L) V8. Side exhaust pipes appeared on the 1965 Sting Ray. Chevrolet would up the ante in 1966 with the introduction of an even larger 427 in (7 L) version of the "Big Block," creating what would be one of the most collectible Corvettes ever. 1967 saw an L88 version of the 427 introduced, which was rated at 430 hp (321 kW), although unofficial estimates place the actual output at 550 hp (410 kW) or more. Only twenty such engines were placed in the 1967 Corvette, and the cars can fetch US$600,000 or more at auction today. From 1967-1969, the 1282 cfm Holley triple two-barrel carburetor, or Tri-Power, was available on the 427. The 1967 model was originally intended to debut the C3 generation Corvette, however due to delays, the C3 had to be put off until 1968; as such, the C2 carried over for an additional model year. Other early options available on the C2 included AM-FM radio (mid 1963), air conditioning (1963), leather upholstery (1963), telescopic wheel (1965), head rests, presumably to prevent whiplash (1966).

The 1965 introduction of the 425 hp 396 c.i. "Big Block" was ultimately the harbinger of doom for the Rochester fuel injection system. The 396/425 hp option cost $292.70 whereas the 327/375 hp "fuelie" option cost $538.00; few people could find a way to justify spending $245 more and receiving 50 hp (37 kW) less. When only 771 "fuelie" cars were built in 1965, Chevy discontinued the program in what some believe was a display of short-sightedness. Chevy was way ahead of its time in offering a fuel-injected sports car, and had they continued the option, every car that now touts Lucas or Bosch fuel injection may have instead been using Rochester. Indeed, as of this writing GM does not offer any carbureted vehicles.

In 2004, Sports Car International named the Sting Ray number five on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s.

The design of this generation had several inspirations. The first was the contemporary Jaguar E-Type, one of which Mitchell owned and enjoyed driving frequently. Bill Mitchell also sponsored a car known as the "Mitchell Stingray" in 1959, because Chevrolet no longer participated in factory racing. This vehicle had the largest impact on the styling of this generation, although it had no top and didn't give away what the coupe would look like. The third inspiration came from nature: a mako shark that Mitchell caught while deep-sea fishing.

Chevrolet Corvette C3 is a sports car patterned after Chevrolet's "Mako Shark II" (designed by Larry Shinoda), produced between 1968 and 1982. It is the third generation of Chevrolet Corvettes built and marketed by Chevrolet.

This generation has the distinction of being introduced to the motoring public in an unorthodox and unintended fashion. 1968 marked the introduction of Mattel's now-famous Hot Wheels line of 1/64-scale die cast toy cars. General Motors had tried their best to keep the appearance of the upcoming car a secret, but the release of the Hot Wheels line several weeks before the Corvette's unveiling had a certain version of particular interest to Corvette fans: the "Custom Corvette", a GM-authorized model of the 1968 Corvette.

In 1969, GM enlarged their small-block again to 350 in (5.7 L) and the ZL1 option was offered, with an aluminum 427 big-block engine listed at 430 horsepower (320 kW) but generally accepted as delivering at least one hundred horsepower (75 kW) more than that.[citation needed] This option cost $1,032.15, and only about 100 were ever built.[1]

In 1970 the 427 big-block V8 was enlarged to 454 in (7.4 L). Power peaked in the 1970 and 1971 models, with the 1970 LT-1 small-block putting out 370 hp (276 kW) and the 1971 454 big-block having its last year of big power with 425 hp (317 kW). In 1972, GM moved to the SAE Net measurement for power (away from the previous SAE Gross standard), which resulted in lower values expressed in reported horsepower. Along with the move to unleaded fuel which required lower compression ratios, emission controls, and catalytic converters, power continued to decline and bottomed out in 1975 the base L48 engine put out 165 hp (123 kW), and the optional L82 engine put out 205 hp (153 kW). This was the lowest power Corvette since the first year of production. Nevertheless, Car and Driver magazine found the Corvette to be the fastest accelerating American car for 1976, with a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds. Power remained fairly steady for the rest of the C3 generation, ending in 1982 with the 200 hp (149 kW) L83 engine.

Styling changed subtly over the generation. In 1973, the Corvette dropped the front chrome bumpers for a urethane-compound "5 mph" bumper but kept the rear chrome bumpers. In 1974, The rear chrome bumpers became urethane, too, making 1973 the last Corvette model year with any chrome bumpers. 1975 was the last year for the convertible, and 1978 saw the introduction of a glass bubble rear window to "freshen" the car appearance for it's 25th Anniversary. Corvette production hit its peak in 1979, at 53,807.[2] In 1980, the Corvette got an integrated aerodynamic redesign that resulted in a significant reduction in drag. 1980 was also the introduction of many weight-saving components such as thinner body panels and an aluminum Dana 44 IRS differential (instead of the previously used but arguably stronger iron GM 10 bolt IRS diff).[3]

Chevrolet Corvette C4 is a sports car introduced at the close of 1982 production as a 1984 model and ended in 1996. This means that there are no 1983 model year Corvettes (though 44 prototype or pre-production 1983s were built, of which #23 survives today and is housed at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green). It is the fourth generation of Chevrolet Corvettes built and marketed by the Chevrolet division of American automaker General Motors.

The C4 Corvette is known for its sleek look. Instead of fiberglass, it was made from reaction injected molding plastics, a sheet molding compound. The C4 coupe also is the first Corvette to have a glass hatchback (except for the 1982 Collector's Edition) for better storage access. It also had all new brakes with aluminum calipers. The Corvette C4 came standard with an electronic dashboard with digital liquid crystal displays for speed and RPM. The C4 was a complete redesign of the previous generation, and the emphasis was on handling. The C4 Corvette was proclaimed the best handling car ever when it was released[citation needed]. This handling came at the cost of a solid, uncompromising ride. The unit-body frame used in the C4 was prone to rattles and squeaks due to minimal sound deadening. Also due to the external unit-body frame, the door sills were quite deep and entry and exit have been likened to a "fall in and climb out" experience. The emergency brake, located between the door sill and the drivers seat, was moved lower and toward the rear of the car in 1988 for easier entry and exit.

From 1984 through 1988, the Corvette was available with a Doug Nash "4+3" transmission - a 4-speed manual coupled to an automatic overdrive on the top three gears. This unusual transmission was a synergy that allowed corvette to keep a stout 4 speed, but add an overdrive. As technology progressed, it was replaced by a modern ZF 6-speed manual. However, the C4 performance was hampered by its L98 250 hp (186 kW) engine until 1992, when the second-generation LT1 was installed, markedly improving the C4s performance. 1996 was a high point of small block Chevrolet development and the 330 hp (246 kW) LT4 was installed in all manual transmission cars.

The 1986 Corvette is notable for being the first car with an electronic anti-theft system. GM had created the Pass Key I, where each key contained a special pellet that could be detected and identified by the car's computer system by detecting electrical resistance. Being early in the rollout of this new technology, there were only 15 different resistance values available.

In 1986, the Corvette team approached Lotus, then a GM subsidiary, with the idea of developing an ultra-high performance vehicle based on the C4 Corvette. With input from GM's "Corvette Team" of engineers and designers, Lotus designed a new engine to replace the traditional pushrod L98 V-8 that powered the standard C4. The result was the LT5, an aluminum-block V-8 with the same bore centers as the L98, but with four overhead camshafts and 32 valves. Lotus designed a unique air management system for the engine to provide a wider power band by shutting off 8 of the 16 intake runners and fuel injectors when the engine was at part-throttle, while still giving the ZR-1 375 hp when at wide open throttle. As Chevrolet had no facility available which could manufacture the new LT5, construction of the engines was subcontracted to Mercury Marine, a company in Stillwater, Oklahoma which normally specialized in high-performance marine engines.

Lotus also aided in the development of the ZR-1's standard "FX3" active suspension system, which would provide the basis for active suspension systems found (as optional equipment) on all Corvettes since.

In 1990, the ZR-1 set a 24 hour speed endurance record at the Firestone test track in Fort Stockton Texas using a near-stock LT5 engine with only minor modifications, including removal of the catalytic converters. The Tommy Morrison racing team averaged 175 MPH, including time for re-fueling and several driver changes.

In 1991, all Corvettes received updates to body work, interior, and wheels. The convex rear fascia that set the 1990 ZR-1 apart from the base model was now included on L98 Corvettes, making the styling of the expensive ZR-1 even closer to that of the base cars. The most obvious difference remaining between the base and ZR-1 models besides the wider rear wheels was the location of the CHMSL (center high mounted stop lamp), which was integrated into the new rear fascia used on the base model, but remained at the top of the rear-hatch on the ZR-1's. All corvette ZR-1's had a interesting feature, a power key. It was mounted underneath the radio and using a key you could turn the power from "full" which means all the horsepower and "normal" which disabled the secondary intake ports cutting the power to 200hp. This system is commonly referred to as a "valet key", and was reset to "normal" after the engine was shut off.

Further changes were made in 1992: ZR-1 badges were displayed on both front fenders and traction control was added as a standard feature. In 1993, Lotus redesigned the cylinder heads and valve-train of the LT5, resulting in a horsepower increase from 375 to 405. In addition, a new exhaust gas recirculation system improved emissions control. Production of the ZR-1 ended in 1995, after 6,939 cars had been built.

Chevrolet released the Grand Sport version in 1996 at the end of C4 Corvette production. The "Grand Sport" moniker was a nod to the original Grand Sport model produced in 1963. A total of 1,000 Grand Sports were produced. The 810 coupes and 190 convertibles were produced with a special VIN sequence to differentiate them from the other 1996 C4 models. The 1996 Grand Sport was equipped with the LT4 engine, which produced 330 hp (246 kW) and 340 lbft (461 Nm) of torque. All LT4-powered Corvettes included a Grand Sport nameplate on the engine's throttle body. The Grand Sport came only in Admiral Blue with a white center stripe, distinctive black five spoke wheels, and two red hash marks on the hood above the left front wheel. Interior colors were black and red only. A hardtop option was not available with Grand Sport convertibles. They also added rear wheel arch extensions on the body, as the Grand Sport utilized the same rear wheels as a ZR-1.

To commemorate the final year of the C4, Chevrolet reissued a Collector Edition. Also produced in low numbers, all CE's were painted Sebring Silver, a color reminiscent of the 1963 Sting Ray and later retained for the C-5 color lineup. A near mirror image of the Grand Sport, if properly equipped, it also got the 5 spoke "A mold" wheels in matching silver, bigger ZR-1 brakes, and a myriad of standard features. Like all production 1996 Corvettes, the LT-4 received the ZF 6-speed gearbox thought by many to be the strongest GM transmission ever[citation needed]. Automatics were an option, and still retained the LT-1. CE's were also available in a convertible with 3 interior color choices, red, silver and black. On all four sides of the car, a special set of "Collector Edition" flags were appointed, and also embroidered in the seat backs.

Production of the C5 Corvette began in 1997 and ended with the 2004 model year. The C5 was a major change from the long-running C4. The transmission was moved to the rear of the car to form an integrated rear-mounted transaxle assembly and was connected to the engine by a driveshaft. Gone were most of the squeaks and rattles of the C4. The new C5 was judged by the automotive press as improved in nearly every area over the previous Corvette design.

Also introduced with the C5 was GM's new LS1 small block. This third-generation small block was a completely new design, including a distributor-less ignition and a new cylinder firing order. It was initially rated at 345 horsepower (257 kW) and 350 ftlbf (470 Nm) torque, but was increased to 350 horsepower (260 kW) in 2001.

For its first year, the C5 was available only as a coupe, even though the new platform was designed from the ground up to be a convertible. The convertible returned to the lineup in 1998, followed by the predecessor to the Z06, the fixed-roof coupe (FRC), in 1999.

The Corvette's 50th Anniversary was celebrated June 20-21, 2003, in Nashville, Tennessee. The venue provided a bonanza of flawlessly restored Corvettes. Also, a worldwide caravan of over 10,000 Corvettes gathered at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. with every model year of the Corvette along with engineering and restoration seminars. Participants were also invited to visit the factory located across from the museum, with special tours not provided to the general public. The anniversary also brought some Chevrolet Concept Vehicles into focus including the approved-for-production Chevrolet SSR. Also on hand were several Corvette race cars, including the Corvette SS built by Zora Arkus-Duntov and the C5-R that won its class at Le Mans. Among the many displays were examples of the 2003 50th Anniversary Edition as well as a few 2004 "Commemorative Edition" and Indy Pace Car Corvettes.

Recently, the factory has expanded to build the Cadillac XLR roadster, which shares its platform with the sixth-generation Corvette. Bowling Green is also home to the Corvette Museum, which celebrates this American automotive icon by displaying in chronological order the various regular production models as well as some unique one-off versions created by Chevrolet. Bowling Green is also the home of the National Corvette Homecoming, a large annual gathering of Corvettes and their owners.

The building in Flint in which the first cars were assembled was spun off with GM's Delphi Electronics division and later donated to GMI/Kettering University in the late 1990s. The building has since been remodeled and is now the C.S. Mott Engineering and Science Center, housing the Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry programs. In the garage housing the school's Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) club is a plaque commemorating it as the place where the first Corvette was built.

Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06 is a high-performance version of the C5 Corvette sports car[1]. Introduced by Chevrolet as their corporate and performance flagship, production began in 2001 and ended with the 2004 model year.

The successor to the ZR-1 made its debut in 2001as the Z06, giving a nod to the high performance Z06 version of the C2 Corvette of the 1960s (See the history below). Instead of a heavy, double-overhead cam engine like the ZR-1, the Z06 used a high-output, tuned version of the standard LS1 Corvette engine (designated LS6), which initially produced 385 hp (287 kW). Although its total horsepower output was less than that of the last ZR-1, the Z06 was much lighter, and could out-perform the ZR-1 in every category except top speed. It also cost substantially less money than the ZR-1.

Like with the ZR-1, Chevrolet found that increasing the power output did the C5 platform little good without additional modifications to bring the rest of the car up to par. Starting with the most structurally rigid body style offered, the hardtop or "fixed roof coup" (FRC), an uprated FE4 suspension, larger wheel rims and tires, revised gearing ratios, and functional brake cooling ducts became part of the total package. The Z06 is 38 pounds lighter than a standard C5 hardtop thanks to weight-saving measures such as a titanium exhaust, thinner glass, lighter wheel rims, non-EMT tires, reduced sound proofing, fixed rear radio aerial, and a lighter battery. Starting with the 2002 model year, the LS6 engine was uprated to 405 hp (302 kW) thanks to a larger volume air intake, stiffer valve springs, lighter sodium filled valves, more aggressive cam phasing and lift, revised pistons, and revised block. While Chevrolet officially claimed that the ultimate power output of the LS6 was 405 hp (302 kW), many dynamometer tests have shown that Chevrolet underrated the engine by 20 hp (15 kW), giving it an actual total of 425 hp

The C5-R racer was built by Pratt & Miller for GM Racing. It was based on the C5 road car but had a longer wheelbase, a wider track, an enlarged engine and more aerodynamic bodywork with a rear wing and exposed headlamps. It took part in the American Le Mans Series in the GTS Class and competed in five 24 Hours of Le Mans races as a Corvette Racing entry.

1999 The car's debut racing season. Initially it was powered by a 6000 cc version of the 5700 cc Corvette V-8 engine but after four races the engine capacity was increased to 7000 cc.
2000 The car's first victory and first year at Le Mans.
2001 The racing season produced eight victories in ten races, including an overall win in the 24 Hours of Daytona and a 1-2 finish in the GTS class at Le Mans.
2002 In 2002 the C5-R repeated its 1-2 victory in the GTS class at Le Mans and also dominated the GTS class in the American Le Mans Series. A new transaxle unit replaced the previous year's separate transmission and differential. Corvette faced stiff domination from the new Privateer Non-Ferrari backed Prodrive-built Ferrari 550, which led many laps at Le Mans, but the Ferraris suffered problems late in the race, resulting in another Corvette GTS class victory.
2003 In 2003, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest placed additional restrictions on all 24 Hours of Le Mans competitors, reducing power by 10% in an attempt to slow the cars. At the 2003 season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring, the C5-Rs remained in winning form, with one of them finishing first in class and eighth overall. Also in 2003 a special red, white, and blue color scheme was introduced to celebrate the Corvette's 50th anniversary. At Le Mans the Prodrive Ferraris took first place and spoiled the anniversary and GM's effort for a three-peat in the GTS class.
2004 The C5-R was again victorious in the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. One of the Privateer Prodrive Built Ferraris led most of the race. About halfway into the event, both Prodrive cars suffered mechanical problems, causing them to pit and lose laps. The Corvettes went on to finish 1-2 in their class.
In 2005, the factory Corvette Team began racing the C6.R to coincide with the new sixth generation (C6) Corvette being released to the public. Private teams, primarily in Europe, continued to race the C5-R.

2005 In the FIA GT Championship, the GLPK-Carsport team won races at Imola, Italy and Zhuhai, China, and finished on the podium on several occasions. In the ALMS, Pacific Coast Motorsports scored several podium finishes behind the new factory C6-R cars. SRT fielded a C5-R in the Belcar series in Belgium, and PSI Experience did the same in the FFSA GT Championship in France.
2006 The C5-R returned to Le Mans for the first time as a non-factory entry, run by Le Mans regular Luc Alphand. It finished 3rd in the GT1 class behind the C6.R and Prodrive Aston Martin. C5-Rs were run in Belcar and FFSA GT once more.
2007 GLPK-Carsport and SRT run C5-Rs in FIA GT, while Luc Alphand runs a Corvette for the Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Chevrolet Corvette C6 is the sixth and current generation of Chevrolet Corvettes. It was introduced in 2005, and according to several issues of Motor Trend magazine, will be superseded by the C7 Corvette in the 2012 calendar year.

Compared to the fifth generation, the "C6" gets an overhaul of the suspension geometry, all new bodywork with exposed headlamps (for the first time since 1962), a larger passenger compartment, a larger 6.0 L engine, and a much higher level of refinement. Overall, it is 5.1 inches (13 cm) shorter than the C5, but its wheelbase has increased by 1.2 inches (3 cm). It is also one inch (2.5 cm) narrower. Chevrolet hopes the new design will attract buyers of comparable European sports cars like the Porsche 911, but some purists dislike the new styling. The 6.0 L LS2 V8 produces 400 hp (298 kW) at 6000 rpm and 400 ftlbf (542 Nm) of torque at 4400 rpm.

With an automatic transmission, the Corvette achieves 18/26 mpg (city/highway)[citation needed], and the manual transmission with 18/28 mpg. The Corvette's manual transmission is fitted with Computer Aided Gear Shifting (CAGS), obligating the driver to shift from 1st directly to 4th when operating at lower RPMs. While this boosts the EPA's derived fuel economy, thus allowing the buyer to avoid paying the "gas guzzler" tax, it is an open secret that more than a few savvy sixth-generation Corvette owners with manual transmissions simply have a $20 aftermarket part (CAGS eliminator) fitted to their vehicle to re-enable a normal 1-2-3-4-5-6 sequence at any RPM.[citation needed]

For the 2008 model, the Corvette receives a new engine, the LS3. With displacement increased to 6.2 liters, power is increased to 430 hp (321 kW) and 424 lbft (575 Nm) of torque, or 436 hp (325 kW) and 428ftlbf/tq with the optional vacuum actuated valve exhaust.[citation needed] The manual transmission also has improved shift linkage along with the replacement of the previous T56 transmission with a new TR6060, while the automatic is set up for quicker shifts giving the C6 Automatic a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds[citation needed], faster than any other production automatic Corvette. The steering has also been tightened up for much improved feel. The wheels were also updated to a new five-spoke design.