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  • The first Corvette is the slowest, taking 11 seconds to reach 60 mph
  • America’s mid-70s gas crisis hamstringed the C3 Corvette
  • Since the C4 Corvette ZR1, the sports car has gotten exponentially faster

The newest C8 Chevrolet Corvette is one fast Chevy. With 495 hp, the sports car has absolutely no issue dashing to 60 mph in a mere 2.8 seconds. Not so long ago, that was Ferrari territory. Now, a $70,000 ‘Vette manages it over and over again. But things weren’t always that way. So, I thought we could look back at the other end of the scale: the slowest Chevy Corvettes ever.

A dark green C3 Chevrolet Corvette shot from the front 3/4
The C3 | Sjoerd van der Wal via Getty Images

1981 C3 Chevrolet Corvette

Let’s start with the C3. This ‘Vette had a particularly tough time. Launched in 1968, this sports car came onto the scene just in time for the gas crisis of the ’70s. As a result, models from the mid-70s made just 168 hp. Chevrolet did their best to help out the strangled C3 Corvette’s performance, but it still took 7.7 long seconds to get to 60 miles per.

1966 split-window Corvette

A white split-window Corvette from '63
The split-window Stingray | National Motor Museum via Getty Images

If we turn the clock back to pre-gas crisis America, we’ll find that the Chevrolet Corvette got faster. Still pretty slow by modern standards, however. With a massive 5.4L Chevy small block wedged under that uber-pretty sheet metal, the ’63 split-window Corvette got to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Evidently, it was significantly faster than the above ‘Vette due to tighter emissions and fuel economy standards present during the gas crisis.

The original Chevrolet Corvette was slow as hell

A red 1961 Chevrolet Corvette
The O.G ‘Vette | National Motor Museum via Getty Images

Let’s turn the clock back even further to the 1953 Chevrolet Corvette. Obviously, this was going to be the slowest. Combustion engines made huge leaps in the mid-1900s and the O.G Corvette didn’t benefit from any of it. Despite a super-light fiberglass body, the 1953 model was severely hampered by its transmission. Back then, stick cars were faster than automatics, and this one came with a two-speed Powerglide. As a result, it struggled to hit 60 mph, clocking in at 11 seconds.

C4 Corvette: Honorable Mention

A white C4 'Vette shot from the front 3/4
The C4 Corvette | Mike Powell via Getty Images

By the time the C3 Chevrolet Corvette ended production, the Bowtie Brand was still playing catchup with the tech in the new C4 Corvette. Thankfully, the C4 was at least lighter and now took 7 seconds to get to 60 mph. 1985 saw the introduction of a 230 hp V8 that helped things a little more, dropping the 60 time down to 6.6 seconds.

This is where the Corvette started to get seriously fast. The C4 ZR1 added more than 100 hp to the model and made it a serious competitor. And there the Corvette has stayed. The upcoming Z06 promises to keep that going, and you certainly won’t find it on this list any time soon.


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