No other car fits the mold of American automotive art as much as the Chevrolet Corvette, aptly named “America’s Sports Car”. In fact, many aficionados believe the lines of the 1954 Corvette, one of the earliest model in the C-1 series and a standout in this exhibit, rival in beauty those of the Ford/Shelby exhibit’s 427 SC Cobra.
Each iteration of Corvette chosen for this exhibit showcases an intriguing development, thus providing a nexus for the car’s historical evolution. Starting with 1954 and ending with the latest model unveiled for 2017, the grouping also includes a fuel-injected 1957 Corvette as well as a split-window 1963 model that recalls a time when General Motors, who built five Corvette Grand Sport race cars with a 377 cid 550 hp engine off that design, bested the then-dominant 427 Cobras at Nassau Speed Week.
Among the Big Block Corvettes in this exhibit are a 1967 (C-2) and 1969 (C-3) with a 427 engine officially capable of 435 hp (unofficially, 550 hp). During the 1970s and ‘80s, due to the Arab oil embargo and governmental regulations, Corvettes were sapped of their horse power, but 1990 marked the return of performance with the dual-overhead cam, 32 valve all-aluminum Mercury Marine-built small block engine of the ZR1 (C-4), also in this exhibit.
In 2004, the final version of the C-5 was introduced in a commemorative edition with red, white and blue livery. In 2009, a new ZR1 sported the most powerful production engine ever made for the Corvette (638 hp), only to be outdone in 2015 by a Z06 C7.R Corvette that boasted 650 hp. Both these cars are included in this exhibit, along with a 2016 C7.R, one of 500 produced, sporting Corvette Racing team colors.