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It’s no secret that V8 sports cars with a thumping grand manual transmission are in dwindling supply. As sad as it is, it makes sense; today’s automatics and DCTs are faster and more efficient than the best manual with the best rower. However, the used car market can provide your solution: a front-engine, rear-wheel drive (RWD) sports car with a (sort of) old-school V8 and a seven-speed manual transmission. That’s right; you can get a C7 Corvette with a third pedal and an odd number of gears. 

The Chevrolet Corvette C7 packed a seven-speed manual transmission as the nameplate’s last factory stick-shift

The Chevrolet Corvette and a manual gearbox go way back. In fact, every generation from C1 to C7 offered some variation of a manual. However, the dwindling number of Corvette buyers with their eyes on a three-pedal ‘Vette led Chevrolet to abstain from developing a stick for its first production mid-engine model, the C8

Still, even with the departure of the manual transmission from the Corvette lineup, there are plenty of used Corvettes with a six-speed transmission to offer. For instance, the C4, C5, and C6 generations offered base and higher-performance variants with six-speed gearboxes. However, the seventh-generation model, the C7, kicked it up a notch with a seven-speed manual transmission.

A silver Chevrolet Corvette C7 sports car flogs its V8 up a country road.
A C7 Corvette | General Motors

Now, a seven-speed box isn’t witchcraft; Porsche has been building 911s with a seventh speed for years. Naturally, the 911’s oldest foe, the Corvette, would also feature a seventh gear. However, in typical Corvette fashion, the C7 was (and is) one of the most affordable ways to get into a sports car with a third pedal and a ‘7’ on the stick. 

Better yet, the seventh-gen Chevrolet Corvette was the last of the old-breed “Plastic Fantastic.” That means a pushrod V8 up front, an available manual in the middle, and power sent to the rear wheels. A time-honored formula, indeed. Moreover, the C7’s 6.2L LT1 V8 produced 455 horsepower in standard form. However, shrewd shoppers opted for the model’s performance system, which bumped output to 460. Not too shabby.

So, while the C7 is your latest-model option for a manual ‘Vette, it’s no compromise. What’s more, determined buyers can find a manual C7 with well under 100,000 miles on the clock for under $40,000. Good luck finding something better than that for the price point.