70 Years of Corvette: The 3 Greatest, Best Models to Buy, and the Future (Electric)

Happy 70th Birthday, Corvette, and this is your life. Today we’re going to look back over the last 70 years of the Chevrolet Corvette’s legacy and pull out the three greatest moments from that history (not an easy thing to do). And if you’ve been an armchair admirer of the Corvette for some time, we’re going to give you the tools to get out of that armchair and into the bolstered seat of your own American sportscar. But what about the upcoming hybrid (and gulp, all-electric) models? How can we sleep at night knowing that the last 70 years of gas and spark are coming closer to an end?

Well, Mr. Prince, how can we do all that?

Richard Prince has been immersed in the Corvette culture since the 1970s. He has owned a full Corvette restoration shop, authored several buyers’ guides, and has photographed the best of the best in both Domestic and Import. Most recently, Richard has authored one of the most detailed and pictorial satisfying books we’ve read all year, Corvette 70 Years: The One and Only.

This book covers the entire story of the Corvette, from the beginning to now, featuring many rarely published photos from GM’s archives. Even if you had no interest in the history, with the illustrations alone this book is a fantastic conversation piece for any gentleman’s cave. And we could go on about everything we liked about this book, but our intention today is more about the show than the tell, so let’s learn something useful and if you want to know more, you’ll know where to find it – in Richard’s book.

Urbasm: Hey Richard, your book covers three dozen of the most influential Corvettes in history. But what would be your three favorites from those and why?

Richard Prince: It’s nearly impossible to choose just three favorites but I’ll do my best. I’ll begin with 1953 because that’s the very first year and it’s the car that launched the legend.

Urbasm: We’re off to a good start.

Richard Prince: Next, the 1963 split window coupe, the first of the second generation cars. It introduced gorgeous styling that remains one of the most beautiful designs in automotive history and offered what was then state-of-the-art performance courtesy of its all-new chassis and potent engine lineup.

Urbasm: You had us at the split window.

Richard Prince: And third, the newest – the 2023 C8 Z06. This is the most technologically advanced and highest-performing Corvette ever built, and it sits squarely among the highest-performing production cars of any kind, selling at any price.

Urbasm: Beautiful choices; no argument here. What would be your advice for a buyer who is looking for a first-time Corvette on a tight budget?

Richard Prince: For buyers on a tight budget, it’s difficult to beat a clean, low-mileage C5 or C6 coupe. These are plentiful, wonderful to drive, reliable, and very affordable. Buyers interested in something a little older can get a very nice C4 or later C3 at a comparable price.

Urbasm: And if money was no object?

Richard Prince: If money is not a concern and someone wants a car to regularly drive I’d recommend a brand new C8 Z06. These offer true race car performance in a vehicle that’s perfectly docile and can be used to commute back and forth to work every day of the week.

Urbasm: What about vintage?

Richard Prince: If someone wants a vintage Corvette that can be regularly used and enjoyed on the road I’d suggest a 1966 or ’67 big block. These offer exemplary performance in a gorgeous package. If someone wants a price-is-no-object museum piece that can be driven but isn’t practical for regular use, go for a 1963 Grand Sport or 1967 L88-optioned car. Chevrolet made five of the former and twenty of the latter, so the biggest challenge isn’t necessarily paying for one of these – it’s finding one that’s for sale.

Urbasm: A hybrid Corvette appears to be settling in most enthusiasts’ minds. The idea of 1,000 HP plus a battle cry that still screams gasoline seems to sweeten the deal. But with talk of full-electric getting more serious… enthusiasts seem unsure about the Corvette’s future. What are your thoughts about this change that is unfolding?

Richard Prince: A significant majority of people don’t presently embrace all-electric cars because of concern for the cost of replacing their batteries after they die, their range, and other several other limitations relative to petroleum-fueled cars, and Corvette enthusiasts are no different. Adding to the resistance among Corvette lovers is the electric car’s absence of an exhilarating exhaust sound and a strong affinity for tradition.

I have many of the same concerns as everyone else, but recognize that progress and change are inevitable and trust that Corvette’s caretakers at Chevrolet will continue to keep America’s sports car at the forefront of the world’s greatest performance vehicles.

Urbasm: Right you are, Richard. Change is inevitable. Thank you for teaching us a few new tricks.

As we ponder Richard’s final comments we remember that it is not how you resist the negative, but how you embrace the positive, and instantaneous torque and throttle response are at the forefront of that argument. Now if you’re ready to immerse yourself even deeper into the Corvette’s history, we highly recommend checking out Richard’s book, published by the Quarto Group, and currently being sold at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and bookstores everywhere.

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About Dr. Eric J. Leech

Eric has written for over a decade. Then one day he created Urbasm.com, a site for every guy.

About Dr. Eric J. Leech

Eric has written for over a decade. Then one day he created Urbasm.com, a site for every guy.