Few cars have overcome the test of time and the fickle finger of fashion with greater resilience than the Chevrolet Corvette. For more than 60 years the Corvette has been the darling of the US motor industry. The legend started in 1953 at the New York Auto Show and by 1956, thanks to a styling update that included a new front end and striking side coves, the model had become an icon.
The American public’s love affair with the Vette endured, too. When the second generation (dubbed the C2) arrived in 1963, the car had changed immeasurably, yet still managed to capture the imagination. The Mako shark-inspired Sting Ray was smaller and more streamlined than the earlier cruisers, while the headlamps were hidden and engine options included the now legendary L88 engine – packed with 430 of the strongest ponies this side of Lake Huron.
A third generation followed, based on the Mako II concept and boasting a thunderous 560bhp in ZL1 trim – good for a 10.89sec quarter mile and enough to hold the interest of the public, interest boosted by the model leading the pack at the Indianapolis 500 as a pace car.
There were dark years, of course. The fourth generation, which spanned the 1980s and'90s lacked the individuality of the earlier cars, and it would take until the turn of the millennium for pride in the badge to be restored.
A creature with many masks, then. But which to pick? It’s a problem that will face eager bidders at the Scottsdale auctions next year, helped by Gooding & Company, which has assembled a fantastic selection of nine examples for the country’s largest classic motoring sale in Arizona.
Does an early boulevard cruiser beat a fire-breathing Z06? We’ll let you be the judge.
1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe $700-800,000
1965 Chevrolet Corvette 327/375 Fuel-Injected Roadster $140-180,000
1957 Chevrolet Corvette $160-200,000
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe $375-450,000
1969 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 Roadster $175-225,000
1967 Chevrolet Corvette 327/350 Coupe $70-90,000
1963 Chevrolet Corvette 327/340 Split-Window Coupe $175-225,000
1956 Chevrolet Corvette SR1 Tribute $125-175,000
1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 Roadster $175-225,000
Photo credit: Brian Henniker and Mathieu Heurtault courtesy of Gooding & Company