From the birth of the small-block V-8 in 1955 to the latest supercharged salvo of the current horsepower war, the Corvette has been the leading edge of Chevrolet’s performance onslaught. (Looking darn good doing it too.) It’s sometimes hard to pick a favorite, and our ultimate garage would have more than one of America’s sports car. Here are five prime selections from the Corvette’s 75-year history that we’d love to call our own, and by the way they’re all going up for bid at Bonhams Greenwich sale on June 3, so they could come home with you.
With its crossed flags and the words “Fuel Injection” proudly displayed on its contrasting side cove, this red-and-white roadster is perhaps the quintessential first-generation Corvette. Its 283-hp, 283-cu-in V-8 was the most potent available in 1957 and also marked the first Corvette powerplant to boast one horsepower per cubic inch. It’s believed that this car has seen fewer than 200 miles since its restoration more than 20 years ago, so this ’Vette deserves to be driven by its new owner.
Chevrolet rolled out the last of the first-generation Corvettes in 1962. The car’s styling had evolved quite a bit over the years, with the side scallop coming in 1956, dual headlights in 1958, and sculpted rear fenders and decklid on the Sting Ray in 1961. This mechanically and cosmetically restored Corvette comes with a four-speed manual transmission and the correct 300-horsepower, 327-cubic-inch V-8. On top of that, the hard-to-find Rochester fuel injection unit is also included in case the new owner wants to perform some period-correct hot rodding and sample one of the most striking and potent small-blocks Chevrolet ever built.
Big-block Corvettes don’t get much more desirable than a 1967 L71. There are only two other ’67 big-block powertrains that are more valuable, and this one’s Marina Blue-and-black color combo with side pipes is among the most beautiful variants. As with all L71s, this example features a four-speed manual transmission and does not have air conditioning. Bonhams’ estimate seems a bit on the low side for a nicely restored example of a true enthusiast’s Corvette.
The cream of the C4-generation crop, this era of Grand Sport Corvettes all packed a 330-hp LT4 V-8 and six-speed manual transmission. These cars were a great send-off for the C4 chassis and second-gen V-8 before the LS1-powered C5 debuted for 1997. This is one of the best-optioned Grand Sports, with red and black leather interior and Z51 suspension. It has only 2100 miles on the odometer. As a bonus, it features Corvette legend Zora Arkus-Duntov’s signature on the owner’s manual, dash plaque, and license plate insert.
Chevrolet brought the storied ZR1 option back with a sledgehammer of a Corvette. Its supercharged, 6.2-liter LS9 V-8 produced 638 hp and propelled the C6 Corvette into the same performance league as exotics. This example has shockingly low mileage, with less than 300 showing on the odometer. Ten years later, the ultimate C6 Corvette could be yours for half the original sticker price—less than a new Stingray.