I once mentioned to a C4 owner I met at a show how much I loved C4s, his response was “I love them all!”. I can sympathise with that, all Corvettes are special regardless of year, colour or condition.
Most people don’t entirely lack favouritism (or irrationality for that matter!). As such most people will have a lust for a particular incarnation of Corvette or other vehicles (do these exist? 😉 ).
For some, nothing beats the heady attraction of the early ’50s solid axle ‘vettes. The sweeping fenders, chrome strips and teeth, and the contrast painted coves bringing with it the honeysuckle air of yesteryears when live was simpler and lacked the internet, cell-phone, blackberry, mp3 driven techno-culture we exist in now. Hilary is one of these, her choice would be a horizon blue ’61 or possibly a ’57 Cherry with white coves.
For others, its the lure of the ’60s Stingrays – brash, exciting, the epitome of the youth culture of the day, street-racing, cruising round the diner or along Route 66.
The sharks were almost bipolar. In the late ’60s and early ’70s the chrome bumpered versions had much of the animalistic draw of their forerunners – later they seemed the embodiment of disco, bouffant perms and flares.
The ’80s and ’90s C4s brought the Corvette up to date for the then new digital era. Clean lines and good performance blending together in a gestalt of speed, performance and agility.
Fifth generation ‘vettes had much of the same good looks of the C4 but looked slippier and rounder, while increasing the technology and handling to new levels of refinement, sophistication and reliability.
Currently, the C6 are pulling in rave revues and are more adept with even further advanced technology and increased power levels (albeit with a larger displacement engine).
For me. There’s no contest, the C4s engender the greatest admiration. They aren’t perfect by any means, the new cars beat them technologically (though the gap is narrower than a lot of people imagine).
The C1s looked pretty but performed poorly by modern standards – both in terms of power but also handling. Many of the parts were directly taken from family sedans to reduce costs and this led to many compromises (and also resulted in the ‘vette almost never making it out of the ’50s).
The C2s I felt were always a pale imitation of the Jaguars they were pitted against. Their technology was better than their predecessors but the body shape was, to my eye, rather ungainly – particularly at the front of the vehicle.
C3 sharks looked fantastic in their chrome-bumpered early variants, butÂ were bloated and rubenesque in their later incarnations. Performance nose-dived and the chassis, suspension and drivetrain weren’t significantly different from their predecessors. By the time they were retired the basic steering and chassis of the car were almost thirty years old.
The C5s and C6s are technological triumphs and certainly have lifted the bar on technology, performance and handling, but to me have descended slowly into the swamp of blandness that is heir only to large corporate committee-ism and focus-group driven development processes. Great sports cars are built with passion – not ‘do you prefer the turquoise or pink instruments?’.
Which leaves the C4. Style, flair, performance. As goldielocks would say just before burying her right foot in the carpet, it’sÂ ‘just right’.