Highway to Heaven: Corvettes
Like Its Ancestor on TV's "Route 66," a New Breed of Corvette Is Prowling the American Road
Paul A. Eisenstein
From the Print Edition:
Denzel Washington, Jan/Feb 98
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The C3 (1968-1982)
The longest-lived design in Corvette history saw relatively few design changes. Despite a pair of oil-price shocks, demand topped 50,000 in 1977, setting an all-time record. The convertible was abandoned in 1975. Buyers had to make do with the T-top, produced since 1968. In 1981, production shifted from St. Louis to the current plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The C4 (1984-1996)
The car's swoopy curves were softened to make the car more aerodynamic, but it was still clearly a Corvette. The new model was loaded with technological updates, including a digital instrument panel and, later, antilock brakes and air bags. In 1986, the convertible returned. The "ultimate," the ZR-1, joined the lineup in the early 1990s. Dubbed the "King of the Hill," it boasted a Lotus-tuned, twin-cam V-8 churning out a blistering 375 hp. In July 1992, a year short of its 40th birthday, the millionth Corvette rolled off the assembly line.
The C5 (1997-?)
The fifth-generation Vette was supposed to debut in 1993, and came within a heartbeat of being scrapped. But the new car is being hailed as a world-class competitor, and initial sales have more than met GM's expectations. For the 1997 models, only a coupe was offered. A redesigned convertible debuted with the '98 models last fall. The '98 coupe starts at $38,060 and the convertible starts at $44,990. --PE
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