With the launch of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette — the debut of the C7 generation — inching closer, we must not forget the rich and glorious history that backs its fame, making the C7 one of the most hotly anticipated vehicles in 2013.
During the last six generations of the American sports car, plenty special editions have been created by Chevrolet that let customers fight for a unique Corvette, to stand apart from other standard examples.
People may think that special-edition Corvettes have been Chevrolet’s excuse of raising the price tag. The answer there is simple, absolutely not!
Apart from the custom paint jobs or even the full makeover, they not only have a unique presence but also each special-edition Corvette has a milestone or collaboration to celebrate in its great history.
So, curtail your drooling for a few minutes here, as we show you what we feel are most sought after special edition Corvettes. Let us know in the comments if you have any you would add to the list.
Click past the jump to read out most sought-after special-edition Corvettes
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
While all the cars below were considered great legends, none of them can ever trump the status of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport.
Without authorization from G.M, Zora Arkus-Duntov (a.k.a the Father of the Corvette) built a lightweight version of the prototype Corvette C2 to compete with the menacing Shelby Cobras and for customers who wanted a hardcore Corvette just to burn the roads. To any racecar driver, the mere sight of the blue-and-white Grand Sport Corvette, lurking behind and then zipping past, was an intimidating image... That was when the term "bad-ass" was redefined.
Sadly, before the 6th example of the planned 125 examples could ever be built, GM came to know of such a program running under its nose and decided to shut it down. Thankfully, GM didn’t destroy the five Grand Sports that were fortunate enough to see the light of the day.
The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport can be termed as the "Most Desirable Corvette" ever made because this secret project showed the public that Corvettes weren’t just made to flaunt around in style but rather to be unleashed on the race track. The spirit of this true legend still powers every Corvette that rolls out of the Chevy megafactory.
1978 Chevrolet Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car
To celebrate its 25th Birthday, Chevrolet decided to pace the `78 Indy 500, which was a first time for the Bow-tie giant. Chevrolet was on cloud nine with its Corvette Pace Car, as it was the first pace car to be built from a single piece fiberglass, first to use a completely stock powertrain and the first two-seat pace car since World War II. With that many "firsts" Chevrolet has every reason to be proud of its Corvette.
Since customers were drooling over the Pace Car alone, Chevy decided to build just 6,502 replicas that, unsurprisingly, sold-out like hot cakes. To differentiate from the standard Corvette C3, each replica had a unique VIN number and the two-tone paint job with a red stripe. The paint job and the custom tires did inject some coolness into the Corvette.
1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
To pay homage to the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport that redefined the Corvette’s stance in automotive history, Chevrolet decided to build 1,000 examples of the Corvette C4 bearing the revered designation.
More than specifications, the car matches the original in spirit. Unlike the race-ready `63 Grand Sport, the `96 Grand Sport more of a stunner than a performer, as its mechanics were left alone, for the most part. It featured the Admiral Blue paint job with a broad white stripe across the center of the car. Unique Grand Sport chrome plated badges were fitted to both sides of the car and a unique chrome-plated Crossed Flags logo.
Under the hood was the LT4 V-8 engine that delivered 330 horsepower to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox. Though it wasn’t as fast as the original one relative to its era, it wasn’t a slouch either.
1963 Pininfarina Corvette Rondine
Commisioned by the Pininfarina design studio, this steel-bodied beauty was a Chevrolet Corvette C2 underneath. Designer Tom Tjaarda penned its sleek lines, which give it a distinct look, unlike the curvaceous Ferraris. Last thing they’d want is a cheap imitation of a Ferrari...
This Corvette still had its American roots though. Under the hood of this mesmerizing teal sports car was a 327-cubic-inch, fuel-injected V-8 engine that produced 360 horsepower, which was a very respectable number back in the `60s.
Surprisingly, the Corvette Rondine got a lukewarm reception when it was shown off to the public at the 1963 Paris Auto Show. So, it was safely hidden in Pininfarina’s hand until it decided to auction it in 2008 for a whopping $1.6 million.
Overall we think that the 1963 Corvette Rondine can be best described as "an American hunk in an Italian suit". For a 49 year old car, it still looks very beautiful and it has stood the test of time rather well.
Twin Turbo Callaway Corvette
Chevrolet was impresses with veteran car tuner Reeves Callaway’s work and requested him to develop an upgrade program for the fourth-generation (C4) Corvette. The RPO-B2K upgrade was thus born.
This upgrade utilized over 2000 new parts, which included an upgraded lubrication system, stronger crankshaft and four-bolt-main bearing caps to help keep that crankshaft in place and spinning freely without worry. Because emission regulations pretty much ruled the roost in the 1980s, Callaway also installed a secondary fuel-injection system to keep it within spec.
So, what did all of this translate out to? Well, the B2K package produced a peak of 382 horsepower and 562 pound-feet of torque in 1988. That’s a 137-horsepower and 222 pound-feet gain over the stock numbers. All of this could have been yours for just $19,999 to $33,000 over the base sticker price of any 1987 to 1991 Corvette – the price varied each year.
Likely the king of the B2K hill was the famed “Sledgehammer” `Vette, which housed 898 horsepower and 772 pound-feet of torque within its 5.7-liter V-8 engine. This 1988 Corvette could hit 254 mph and screamed to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. Oh what a beast it was…
While nothing significant was done to the exterior, the performance under the hood has won our hearts.