What Is the Best Year of Corvette to Buy?

The Chevy Corvette is known for its sporty looks, fast performance, and ability to last a long time, passing the 500,000-mile mark for some of its models. While it’s not a car for everybody, it still has quite a bit of a following. 

With all the available versions on the new and used markets, which ones should an enthusiast get? According to the New York Daily News, there are tons, but the list has been narrowed to some of the most iconic in the car’s history.

How it all began

The classic Chevrolet Corvette logo with the two flags and the gold V with 'Chevrolet Corvette' written on it.
Class Chevrolet Corvette Logo | Getty Images

The first model to hit the market was the 1953 version, which wasn’t really all that exciting. This model looked OK for a sports car, but it wasn’t much of a performer. Powering it up was a 235-cubic inch Inline-six motor that produced only 150 hp. While it was far off from the models we see today, it was still a good starting point for the design elements and performance that would come later. 

1955 Chevy Corvette V8

The first model that set the pace for performance was the 1955 version. The six-cylinder left, and the V8 stepped into its place. Chevy wouldn’t waver from the engine, but it would tweak it over the years. The 265-cubic inch motor, paired with the three-speed manual transmission, enabled it to get 8.5 seconds for a 0 to 60 mph run, which is a definite improvement from the previous engine that got 11 seconds. 

1963 Corvette Stingray Split Window Coupe

While the 1955 model brought the performance, the 1963 version brought style. This Corvette sported a split rear window, which appealed to many Corvette fans. However, it only lasted a year because of some issues drivers had with visibility from those windows. Under the hood was a 327-cubic inch V8 motor that generated 360 hp when you ordered the optional fuel injection. The new independent rear suspension was a nice bonus as well. 

1987 Chevy Corvette

This model is considered a classic with its futuristic style inspired by the exterior of the 1984 version, which looked like it came from a Star Trek movie set at the time. You could choose a coupe model, or you could go for the convertible one. According to Corvette Museum, Chevy gave it plenty of power that year with the 5.7-liter V8 engine, which puts out 240 peak hp and 345 lb-ft of torque. 

2009 Corvette ZR-1

The first ZR-1 showed up in the 1980s, but it returned for the 2009 model. Powering this one up was a 6.2-liter V8 that could produce 638 hp. It was known as one of the fastest vehicles of that time period. This model clocked a 3.5-second acceleration time for a 0 to 60 run and an 11.5-second time for the quarter-mile. 

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Chevy proved that not only was the Corvette a sweet-looking vehicle with a ton of performance, but it could also be fuel-efficient as well with this model. Dan Cummins Auto Group said the 6.2-liter V8 could deliver 30 mpg on the highway, which isn’t often seen with fast cars like this.

This version came with driver’s seat memory, Bluetooth, a touchscreen for its infotainment center, and a heads-up display. You could also get several driving modes and magnetic ride control. 

Many people think of the Corvette as legendary, and it’s held up quite well over the 60+ years it’s been around. If you’re in the market for a used Corvette, there are plenty of models to choose from besides the five listed here.