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The Chevrolet Corvette has been around for over 70 years. It’s quite the tenure for a sports car model; a feat not even the iconic Porsche 911 or Ford Mustang can boast. Understandably, the Corvette has evolved over the years, from an anemic roadster to a supercar-fighting performance nameplate. However, there’s an argument to be made that the C6 Corvette did more to move the ‘Vette into the stratosphere than the mid-engine C8 did.

The sixth-generation Chevrolet Corvette was the first modern Corvette with fixed-lights, a fuel-injected LS7, a model with a 200-mph top speed, and a supercharged V8 producing over 600 hp

It’s 2005. Craig Ferguson takes over the helm of “The Late Late Show.” The internet video-sharing website YouTube launches. Oh, and the C6 Corvette hits the road with a new look and a new lease on life.

It’s good news for Chevrolet’s sweetheart sports car model. However, it’s not an instant hit for every fan– even today. Specifically, and most notably, some enthusiasts weren’t keen on the sixth-generation Corvette’s decision to ditch the rakish pop-up headlights of the previous generation. However, the C6 Corvette did a lot to modernize the already-evolved C5 into a modern rival for European and Japanese sports cars. 

A Chevrolet Corvette Z06 ZR1 shows off its rear-end styling.
A C6 ZR1 | General Motors

For instance, the C6’s fixed headlights meant no issue with vacuum or electric pop-up lights. Think back to the plight of pop-up Corvette and Miata owners. Their beloved rides might develop a squint or a wink on operation. However, with handsome fixed lights in its fascia, the new C6 Corvette didn’t have that issue. 

Moreover, the C6 Corvette Z06, which ran from 2006 to 2013, produced 505 horsepower by the end of its run. Think of it; a naturally aspirated 7.0L LS7 V8 producing north of 500 horsepower. It was the first time an NA, fuel-injected factory Corvette produced over 500 ponies before the revolutionary, six-figure 2023 C8 Z06 came along with its flat-plane LT5 V8. 

Better yet, the C6 Corvette ZR1 (2009-2013) packs one of the first factory supercharged V8s in the model’s history. The result? A 638-horsepower V8 powering the sixth-generation, range-topping Corvette to 200 mph. That’s rarified air for any performance nameplate.