Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A couple is getting out of a silver 2021 Chevy Corvette Stingray that is parked on a ferry and shown from the front.

Sleek Performance from Past to Present: The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Speed, performance, power, and agility all come together in the eighth generation 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Despite its humble beginnings in the early 1950s as a way for Chevrolet to generate more sales during a slump, the Corvette has evolved into one of the most iconic vehicles ever made. So, what makes the Corvette so powerful, so agile, and so incredibly special? You can see the Corvette’s beauty and experience its power in person at your local Chevrolet car dealership, but to fully appreciate the model, it’s important to learn about its history and how much it’s evolved over the last six decades.

The 1950s: The Corvette Is Born

Chevrolet experienced a dramatic slump in sales in the early 1950s, which is what inspired the manufacturer to design a sports car with the hopes of attracting new buyers. Dubbed “Project Opel” and inspired by European sports cars, the first-generation Corvette came to life with a fiberglass body complete with a 3.9-liter six-cylinder engine and a 2-speed automatic transmission under the hood. Chevrolet revealed the design at the 1953 Motorama show in New York City, where its unique fiberglass construction instantly caught the public’s imagination.

However, the original Corvette was somewhat underpowered, and its fate remained in question until 1955 when Chevrolet replaced the 3.9-liter I6 engine with a 4.3-liter V8 capable of delivering 195 horsepower when paired with the 3-speed manual transmission. This finally put the Corvette on the map and inspired Chevrolet to make several redesigns over the next few years, all of which were well-received, especially when Chevrolet boosted the engine to a 4.6-liter V8 in 1957. With the Corvette producing 290 horsepower, a star was born among sports car enthusiasts.

An Icon on the Road: America’s Sports Car Builds Its Reputation

A closeup shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen in a 2021 Chevy Corvette Stingray with a red interior at a local car dealership.

By the 1960s, the Corvette delivered an impressive 360 horsepower and featured its iconic taillight design. The second generation, which introduced both the Stingray name and the Z06 trim, debuted in 1963. The engine received another upgrade to the 6.5-liter in 1965, and, for the first time in Corvette history, it delivered over 400 horsepower. This was only the beginning as Chevrolet released several upgrades over the next few years before debuting the C3 or third-generation Corvette in 1968.

The third-generation Corvette was in production until 1982 and featured minor aesthetic redesigns and upgrades throughout its 15-year lifespan. Two of the most notable changes came in 1973 and 1978. Chevrolet redesigned the front bumper to better withstand collisions in 1973 and turned its attention to the rear in 1978 by debuting a new fastback rear bumper. Unfortunately, power from the Corvette declined during this period, but this had little impact on sales thanks to Corvette’s loyal fans and drivers.

Chevrolet returned to the drawing board in the early 1980s and redesigned the Corvette for its fourth-generation debut in 1984. Over the next 13 years, the C4 continued to improve, with Chevrolet reintroducing the convertible top in the lineup in 1986. During this time, Chevrolet released the highly anticipated ZR-1 in 1990. The ZR-1 was a special production and featured a 5.7-liter V8 engine and 6-speed manual transmission capable of going 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds.

Chevrolet continued introducing new Corvette generations over the next two decades. The C5 or fifth generation was in production from 1997 to 2004, the C6 from 2005 to 2013, and the C7 from 2014 to 2019. Chevrolet improved the Corvette’s overall design and performance throughout these redesigns, perfecting the car’s weight-to-power ratio with an increase in power under the hood. This was a huge selling point for buyers as Corvette retained its title as America’s sports car.

2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Chevrolet introduced the eighth-generation Corvette in 2020, which brings us to the latest in the C8 lineup – the 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. A far cry from its humble beginnings, the newest Corvette is a revolutionary mid-engine design that offers even more power and the most advanced technology for a sports car. Let’s see just how far it has come from its debut nearly seven decades ago.

Power and Performance

Committed to continuously improving the Corvette’s power and design, Chevrolet revamped the small block engine and delivered an impressive 6.2-liter LT2 V8 engine. When paired with the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, the small block engine screams with power delivering up to 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. This combination produces a top track speed of 194 mph and the capability of reaching 0 to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds. With performance like this from the base model, it is difficult to imagine just how fast the upcoming performance versions will be.

A red 2021 Chevy Corvette Stingray convertible is parked against a clear blue sky.

Trim Options

Designed with speed and performance in mind, Chevrolet gives drivers three trim options on the 2021 model. The base model is the 1LT, which starts at $58,900 and offers drivers a great introduction to the Stingray. The 1LT Coupe features a removable roof panel, power GT1 seats with Mulan leather, safety features like Rear Park Assist, an HD rear vision camera, and a premium 10-speaker Bose audio system.

The 2LT takes the Stingray to the next level with a starting price of $66,200. The 2LT offers the same features as the 1LT in addition to a few more luxury and convenience options, including heated and ventilated seats and power fold mirrors. The 2LT adds four more speakers to the Bose audio system as well as additional safety features like Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The model also features a color head-up display, navigation, and a performance data recorder.

The top tier option is the 3LT, which starts at $70,850 and features all the options on the 1LT and the 2LT. The 3LT, however, raises the bar for luxury and includes a leather-wrapped interior with 13 different color options. The interior also boasts a custom leather-wrapped instrument panel and doors as well as Nappa leather seats that offer the utmost in comfort and luxury to drivers willing to spend a little more.


Chevrolet’s 2021 Corvette comes standard with the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system, which is housed on an 8-inch color touchscreen display. Drivers also benefit from the 12-inch reconfigurable digital instrument display that can be customized with different themes to display vital information like speed, tire status, oil pressure, and fuel economy. This works with the head-up display, which gives drivers all the data needed without taking their eyes off the road. Additional tech features include an Enhanced Navigation system with a 3D view, simplified Bluetooth pairing, an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for internet connectivity, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Get Behind the Wheel

Chevrolet calls the 2021 Corvette Stingray “a dream 68 years in the making,” and it’s easy to see why considering the Corvette’s humble beginnings. Now recognized as America’s iconic sports car, the 2021 Corvette offers the most power and luxury ever seen in a Corvette. Don’t believe it? Head over to your local Chevrolet car dealership to see for yourself. You won’t want to miss seeing this beautiful car that’s been nearly seven decades in the making.