Chevrolet struck gold with the Corvette when the model hit the streets in 1951. Truth be told, though, no one could have predicted the level of long-term success that ensued, success that would earn the Corvette recognition as America's premier sports car.
Anyone who loves cars loves the Corvette, from the first generation and its swoopy style, the second-generation Sting Ray and its awesome combination of style and, and into the modern era, when the Corvette sits solidly in the realm of supercar. Rumors and spy shots have even shown that the next step forward for the model is going to be a transition to legit mid-engined insanity.
However, there have definitely been ups and downs in the Corvette's history. Keep scrolling for 15 useless facts about the Corvette that fanboys seem to think are a super big deal.
15 The Grand Sport
Corvette fanboys love to bring up the Grand Sport any time they get the opportunity. And in fairness, the Grand Sport is one of the most awesome cars ever to leave a Detroit factory—but the fact remains that it was never truly tested in competition. The sky-high values are actually artificially inflated by scarcity.
14 Named After A Small Warship
The Corvette has been a part of American culture for so long that most people wouldn't think of anything but the car when they hear its name. But intense fans of the long-tenured model love to spout off that the Corvette was named after a small class of warship, fast and nimble compared to larger naval vessels.
13 Camaro Means Nothing
As soon as a Corvette aficionado finishes describing how the Corvette name came from a sick warship, they'll inevitably move on to pointing out that the Camaro nameplate really came out of nowhere. Despite the hypocrisy of trashing another Chevrolet product, they don't realize that no one cares. It's just a name, even if it is made up.
12 Independent Rear Suspension in 1963
Transverse leaf spring (stayed that way for 55 years)
Ford has taken a big step up with the recent addition of independent rear suspension as a standard feature on the Mustang. Even though Corvettes are in an entirely separate class from the Mustang, diehard fans will go out of their way to point out that the Corvette first came with independent rear suspension in 1963.
11 Transaxle Not Transmission
For Corvette fans who are deep into the engineering details of their favorite car—which they rightfully should be—one crucial aspect that sets it apart from most other Detroit products is the rear-mounted transaxle, selected instead of a transmission mounted directly behind the engine for better weight distribution. But Aston Martin and Porsche have long been producing V8-powered transaxle-featuring cars.
10 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car 14 Times
The Corvette has been the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 more than any other model in the history of the automobile. The record stands at 14 times, a figure that will, no doubt, increase over the coming years, especially with the introduction of the new generation coming right up. But this fact means absolutely nothing when it comes to actual driving performance—the Pontiac Aztek was once a pace car at Daytona.
9 Race Le Mans Before The GT40
Corvette owners love to create a false rivalry between their cars and the rest of Detroit's performance lineup. One little detail that they won't hesitate to point out is that the Corvette competed in Le Mans before the Ford GT40. But that argument falls flat as soon as any Ford fan takes the time to point out that the GT40 won Le Mans six times straight.
8 Longest Produced Car In The World
The Corvette is the longest-running vehicle model currently on the market, having been in constant production since 1953. Corvette snobs can't repeat this fact enough, despite the fact that the first generation was underpowered and flimsy, the third and fourth generations were generally awful, and a mid-engine changeup looks pretty likely today.
7 1968 LT-2 Was The Fastest Corvette
One thing that Corvette fanboys typically enjoy is repeating all the various awesome models of the Corvette that have hit the streets. And no doubt, the 1968 LT-2 was a ridiculous car for its day, running a quarter-mile in 10.86 seconds and doing 0-60 in 2.8 seconds. But those stats just make it sad that even the 2009 ZR1 could only do a quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds.
6 The Z06 Was Always Better
These days, every car that leaves the factory has a handful of options packages. Case in point would be the Camaro, which comes in SS, ZL1, 1LE, and more, as well as the Mustang and its Shelby GT350, Shelby GT500, California, and Bullitt trims. The Corvette Z06 has been solid over the years but why should buyers have to pay so much to get the performance the Corvette should always have?
5 The Grand Sport Part II
Seeing a real Corvette Grand Sport on the street is extremely unlikely. Even the car featured in Fast Five was a replica (which makes sense given that it was destroyed quite quickly). But Corvette fans need to get off their high horse about the Grand Sport and its 550 horsepower in 1963. If it was so great, Chevy would have made more of them.
4 755 Horses
The modern Corvette tops out at 755 horsepower, an impressive stat that Corvette acolytes won't be able to stop repeating. But as with most supercars, most Corvette lovers have never driven the car they love at the limit. The Dodge Challenger Demon had more straight-line grunt, after all, but Corvette snobs don't seem to realize the car is about cornering, too.
3 V8 For Life
The dudes at the local Cars N' Coffee who stand around their C3 and C4 custom jobs never stop talking about V8 engines. It's almost like Fury Road come to life—they've got about as much range of conversation as the War Boys. But despite many powerful V8 options over the years, the fact is that the original Corvette came with an inline-six and even many models in between had weaker-than-weak V8 powerplants.
2 California Corvette
The Corvette that no besotted fanboy wants to talk about is the C3 California special, which left the factory equipped with one of the most lackluster engines Detroit has ever produced. The 305ci small-block V8 had been detuned to meet emissions requirements set in place by the progressive state and only produced 180 horsepower.
1 Sting Ray
The second-generation Corvette took several huge leaps forward. Beefy engines and independent rear suspension were complemented by the quintessential Sting Ray design. But even though Corvette fanboys love to point out the design was inspired by a Mako shark caught by the car's designer, Bill Mitchell, everyone else says, "So what, just enjoy the car."
Sources: GM Parts Center, Dave Smith Motors, and Wikipedia.