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25 Unique Corvette Models That Will Go Down In History

Cameron EittreimOctober 14, 2019

1963 Sting Ray "Split-Window" Via Hot Rod
1963 Stingray “Split-Window” via Hot Rod

24. 1963 Stingray “Split-Window”

If there’s one Corvette that stands out from the crowd for a unique look, it’s the 1963 Stingray “Split-Window.” This one-of-a-kind variation of the Corvette was manufactured in very low numbers. In fact, these stand to be one of the most expensive versions. The carbureted V8 engine was very fast and had a unique interior. The C2 Split-Window was designed by Bill Mitchell and Pete Brock.

1963 Sting Ray "Split-Window" Via Hot Rod
1963 Stingray “Split-Window” Via Hot Rod

The thing that makes the split-window stand out other than the unique styling is the fact that it was only made for one year. Getting your hands on a split-window Corvette is no easy task. The resale value of this model is extremely high and with good reason. The split-window Stingray is even rarer.

Corvette Grand Sport Via The Drive
Corvette Grand Sport Via The Drive

23. 1963 Grand Sport

There’s just something about the styling of the C2 that makes it one of the most amazing Corvettes to ever roll off the lot. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because there was a special edition built for speed. The 1963 Grand Sport was dubbed the aluminum Corvette and was built for the races. The tubular frame and aluminum body were built to achieve insane amounts of speed to the point no other sports car could match it.

Corvette Grand Sport Via The Drive
Corvette Grand Sport via The Drive

Unfortunately around this time, GM instituted a competition ban which means that there were only five examples of the 1963 Grand Sport produced. Obtaining an original Grand Sport is one of the hardest things a Corvette lover can do. The car is not easy to come by at all and most of the original variations are in museums.

Corvette L88 Via Motor Trend
Corvette L88 via Motor Trend

22. 1967-1969 L88

The competition ban was a thorn in the side of the Corvette developers, so much so that the cars were limited on horsepower. Nevertheless, the 1967-1969 L88 was introduced to try and give shoppers a competitive vehicle they could take to the track. The L88 was advertised as only having 435HP, which at the time was still a monstrous amount. In reality, the big block motor was pushing about 550HP, a substantial amount even by today’s standards.

Corvette L88 Via Motor Trend
Corvette L88 via Motor Trend

Only 216 L88 models were produced during this time frame. The car was one of the most race-ready Corvette models to date. It’s a wonder why GM didn’t produce more of them, as the L88 was a popular option that made the Corvette a lot more fun to drive.

Corvette ZR-1 Via Motor Trend
Corvette ZR-1 Via Motor Trend

21. 1990-1995 ZR-1

The 90s Corvette was a step in a new direction for GM. The styling was a bit more modern and gone was the digital dashboard and all of the eighties styling. The 1990-1995 ZR-1 was a car that could take on a Ferrari with ease while still maintaining that calm and cool demeanor. The ZR-1 came in a few color combinations, and there were substantial luxury upgrades over a standard model. But where the ZR-1 shines to this day is its performance. The ZR-1 hit the market at a time when GM was trying to revamp its performance image.

Corvette ZR-1 Via Motor Trend
Corvette ZR-1 Via Motor Trend

The optional Targa top was a nice touch, or you could get the standard Corvette Convertible. The ZR-1 did a lot of things right, and production numbers were higher which means that you can still find one of these for a fairly reasonable price.

Corvette C5-R via Pit Lane Spares

20. 1999-2004 C5-R

Competition is something that the Corvette has always done well, and the C5-R is an example of that. You might have seen the C5-R on the track at some point, and it was sponsored by quite a few racing companies. The C5-R did something that no Corvette had done before and introduced a racing style to the vehicle. The lightweight fiberglass body and the ground-effects make the C5-R a standout vehicle, to say the least. These models were not sold to the general public, so getting your hands on one isn’t going to be easy.

Corvette C5-R via Flickr

The C5-R stands out for several reasons, but the race-ready design was the first and perhaps the largest. The car had a great deal of success racing in the Le Mans. After this generation of Corvette, Chevrolet was taken more seriously in the racing world.

2004 Z06 Via Car And Driver
2004 Z06 via Car And Driver

19. 2000-2004 Z06

Anybody who remembers the C5 knew that it was something special when it hit the market. But by the 2000 model year, the mystique of the car had worn off. So GM decided to infuse some new life into the C5 and introduce the Z06. Incorporating a new light pair of rims and a supercharged engine. The Z06 was fast, extremely fast. You could only get this Vette in a few color combinations, and the waitlist was long. The Z06 was legitimate competition for the Dodge Viper at the time.

2004 Z06 Via Car And Driver
2004 Z06 via Car And Driver

Aside from a few exterior enhancements, there wasn’t a lot that told you what exactly the Z06 was. But when you sit inside of a Z06 for the first time, you feel all the difference in the world. This Corvette is something special, and there are still quite a few of them around with low mileage.

2006 Z06 Via Motor Trend
2006 Z06 via Motor Trend

18. 2006-2013 Z06

This next-generation Corvette was even flashier than before, and that’s a good thing. The Z06 was on a mission to prove that it was the best sports car in the world. For years GM hadn’t put much effort into their sports car division, but the C6 added a new level of refinement and technology. Sure, the interior was still lackluster at best. But the real prize came from the 505 HP engine that was under the hood. This generation of Z06 was also active in the racing world as well, making it a highly coveted vehicle for professional drivers.

2006 Z06 Via Motor Trend
2006 Z06 via Motor Trend

The Z06 is still considered a modern incarnation of the Corvette, so you can expect to fork over a pretty penny for one. But on the bright side of things, you’ll be getting your hands on one of the most advanced Corvette models to date.

2009 ZR1 Via Motor Trend
2009 ZR1 via Motor Trend

17. 2009-2013 ZR1

When it comes to the world of modern Corvettes, the most common upscale model is going to be the Z06. But there’s another model that doesn’t quite get the recognition. And that’s okay because it’s more than most can handle. The ZR1 was a supercharged monster of a sports car that took things to the next level. If you have never experienced true supercharged power, the ZR1 will take you there. Interior enhancements included real racing seats and a more refined dashboard which included a navigation system. The car’s purpose was speed but it’s still nice to have its comforts.

2009 ZR1 Via Motor Trend
2009 ZR1 via Motor Trend

The ZR1 offered many other enhancements over the average Corvette which included a carbon fiber hood. There was also a pair of upmarket wheels on this Corvette which made it a whole lot more intimidating to look at.

2015 Z06 Via Motor Trend
2015 Z06 via Motor Trend

16. 2015-Present Stingray

The current generation of Corvette is one of the most magnificent to look at yet. The car looks like something out of a movie, with cultivated lines and a demeanor that screams speed. The Stingray is the upmarket version and it packs a serious punch. The supercharged engine is one of the most dazzling to come out of a GM factory, and the insane amount of horsepower is enough to make even the most seasoned Corvette lovers drool. This Stingray carries on the tradition of excellence with a bold new style.

2015 Z06 Via Motor Trend
2015 Z06 via Motor Trend

Even with the increased price tag, the current Stingray is the fastest production Corvette to come out of the factory. If you’ve been wanting to drive one of the most precision-built Corvette models to hit the market, 2019 is a special edition Corvette that fits the bill.

2015 C7.R Via Car And Driver
2015 C7.R via Car And Driver

15. 2015-Present C7.R

The C5 Corvette dominated the professional racing circuit, and now the C7 has continued to carry on the tradition. In addition to having one of the best sounding engine notes in the entire racing circuit, the C7 is a force to be reckoned with, winning Le Mans, Daytona, and Sebring. The C7 stands out from the crowd with one of the most award-winning bodies that any race car has possessed. The C7.R, of course, is not a production model, but the overall design is still one of the most phenomenal to come out of GM.

2015 C7.R Via Car And Driver
2015 C7.R Via Car And Driver

The C7.R stands out as perhaps the most technologically advanced Corvette model to date. GM has always placed a large emphasis on various racing circuits such as Nascar, so it’s only natural that the C7.R is a unique addition. With the current generation Corvette breaking all kinds of horsepower barriers, it’s nice to see that a C7 can still get some love as well.

1969 ZL1 Via Meccum Auctions
1969 ZL1 via Mecum Auctions

14. 1969 ZL1

The 60s were a trying time for GM as the company went off in various new directions. The ZL1 was a limited edition Corvette known for its powerful engine and lightweight body. The car which bored the Stingray distinction was a far cry from the Corvettes before it. The cultivated body and the rally rims were just a small indication of what was in store. Everything about the Stingray ZL1 was unique, and it offered a wonderful blend of performance and styling to make it show up on every Corvette owner’s wish list.

1969 ZL1 Via Meccum Auctions
1969 ZL1 via Mecum Auctions

The ZL1 Stingray is very rare, and if you find one you’re going to pay a pretty penny. This car was made at a time when GM had no competition clause in full effect. As such, the ZL1 was produced in very limited numbers and is by far one of the rarest C3 Corvette models around.

1971 ZL1 Via Meccum Auctions
1971 ZL1 via Mecum Auctions

13. 1971 Corvette ZR1

When it comes to race-inspired Corvettes, GM is no stranger to designing them. The ZR1 for 1971 featured a race-inspired setup that included a 371 HP engine and a plethora of other options that made it stand out from the crowd. The little brother of the ZR2, this Corvette had a nice setup that included rally wheels and a no-frills design that drivers were appreciative of. The M22 rock crusher 4-speed was a standout option, while the J56 Heavy duty power brakes did a good job of stopping the car.

1971 ZL1 Via Meccum Auctions
1971 ZL1 via Mecum Auctions

There were only eight 1971 Corvette ZR1 models that ever hit the road, so this car is considered extremely rare. The 1971 ZR1 was produced at a time when vehicles had to be ordered with certain options.

L89 Via Autoweek
L89 via Autoweek

12. 1967 Corvette L89 Convertible

Convertible Corvettes don’t get enough attention for their rarity. Because of how the frame is designed, hardcore speed enthusiasts don’t take the convertible seriously. But the L89 was so rare that it stands out from the crowd. The L89 option only landed on 16 cars, which makes it extremely rare. The L89 Convertible came with the coveted aluminum heads as well as a big block L71 motor. Powerful is an understatement, and what made this package so fun the convertible model.

L89 Via Autoweek
L89 via Autoweek

The weight reduction in the L89 is a whopping 75 pounds, which makes the front end of this convertible even lighter than the Stingray. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on an original L89 Convertible, you’re in for something special.

1971 Corvette ZR2 Via Mecuum
1971 Corvette ZR2 Via Mecum

11. 1971 Corvette ZR2

The 70s were a tough time for muscle car enthusiasts as gas prices and emissions laws were causing automakers to reduce horsepower dramatically. Although the 70s were the start of GM de-tuning their engines, the ZR2 somehow made it past. This Corvette was one of the few models that got to keep all of its horsepower. The big motor gave the ZR2 a whopping 460 horsepower, and there were options with the ZR2. The convertible ZR2 is the rarest as only two were produced. There were only 10 coupes produced as well, making this one of the rarest Corvettes.

1971 Corvette ZR2 Via Mecuum
1971 Corvette ZR2 Via Mecum

If you’re lucky enough to get a hold of a ZR2, you’ll be treated to one of few Corvette models that managed to slip through the cracks during the smog regulation. This was a tough time for GM, and it’s a wonder the ZR2 managed to slip through the cracks.

Grand Sport Roadster Via Motor Week
Grand Sport Roadster via Motor Week

10. 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Roadster

During the 60s, there was a rare sports car known as the Shelby Cobra. The lightweight race car was designed by Carroll Shelby and was winning all kinds of different races around the world. So never one to be outdone, GM decided to build their own version. GM utilized the Corvette chassis and introduced the world to the 1963 Corvette Grand Sport. The rare sport coupe only weighed a total of 1,900 pounds, propelled by that powerful V8 engine. This Corvette was truly a monster on the track, and a total of five were built.

Grand Sport Roadster Via Motor Week
Grand Sport Roadster via Motor Week

Finding one of these Corvette models is a rarity, but if you do come across one it’s going to cost a lot of money. The 1963 Grand Sport was GM’s answer to Shelby, and this is a little-known performance car that demands respect. The Grand Sport stands out from the crowd and left an imprint on the Corvette lineup forever.

Copper Corvette Via Bing
Copper Corvette via Bing

9. 1986 Corvette “Copper Metallic”

The 1986 model of the Corvette was often panned by critics for its lackluster 305 V8 engine, but there was a rare variation of the vehicle. The “copper metallic” version of the 1986 Corvette was so rare that only four were made. It was a test color for GM and four owners had opted for the model. This particular color is a difficult one for GM to get on the Corvettes of this era and there were a lot of quality issues. The bubble light on the back of the car was also unique to this model year.

Copper Corvette Via Bing
Copper Corvette via Bing

The next model year was better for copper metallic as there were 87 examples that hit the market. But the 1986 model was the rarest, and if you can get a hold of one you’ll have one of the nicest C4 models around. This car was not the prettiest Corvette around by any means, but the copper metallic was certainly a welcome addition.

Corvette 427 Via Motor Trend
Corvette 427 via Motor Trend

8. 2008 Chevrolet Corvette 427 Crystal Red Limited Edition

Even though the recession hit in 2008, the year was still a great one for new limited-edition vehicles. The Corvette came in a rare edition known as the 427 Crystal Red. What makes this Corvette unique aside from the 427 engine is the limited edition Crystal red paint job. This was one of the last C6 Corvettes available in a special package and these models are extremely rare. The 427 option was a deal-specific option generally only available at top-tier Chevrolet dealerships.

Corvette 427 Via Motor Trend
Corvette 427 via Motor Trend

In addition to the limited edition paint scheme, the engine cover had special yellow lettering and matching red Corvette lettering throughout the car. The 427 Crystal Red edition is a limited edition Corvette that you can still get your hands on.

Corvette Z06 GT1 Via Motor Trend
Corvette Z06 GT1 via Motor Trend

7. 2009 Chevrolet Corvette GTI Championship Edition

When it comes to limited-edition Corvette models, 2009 was an exceptional year for the brand. The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette GTI Championship Edition is another race-inspired sports car that introduces buyers into another level of Corvette. The Championship Edition is a car that commemorates the wins of the Corvette brand in the worldwide Le Mans race. The GTI Championship Edition was made in a small production amount of 600. When it comes to recent Corvette models that have become collectible, the GTI Championship Edition stands out.

Corvette Z06 GT1 Via Motor Trend
Corvette Z06 GT1 via Motor Trend

You get all of the benefits of driving a modern car and the rarity of a limited edition Corvette model. Not to mention the fact that the C6 is one of the most well-designed Corvette models to hit the road. The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette GTI Championship Edition is certainly one of the rarest Corvette models to hit the road, and also one of the most fun to drive.

Indy 500 Pace Car Via Meccum
Indy 500 Pace Car via Mecum

6. 1998 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica

Chevrolet has a history of sponsoring NASCAR as a brand, and the Corvette has been a central figure in this. Dealerships in the late 90s were greeted by the special edition 1998 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica. The car was made to look exactly like the authentic pace car, which introduced the world to the new Corvette. The car has unique features such as a two-tone interior that features pin-striped leather seating. The 1998 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica featured a unique yellow dashboard and matching yellow alloy rims.

Indy 500 Pace Car Via Meccum
Indy 500 Pace Car via Mecum

Nothing about the car has increased in terms of performance, but wouldn’t it be nice to drive around in a real pace car? The 1998 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica certainly fits the bill as one unique-looking C5 Corvette. You’ll still find these Pace Car Replicas around from time to time, and in good condition, this is one fun-to-drive Corvette that gets a lot of attention.

2003 50th Anniversary Via Motor Trend
2003 50th Anniversary via Motor Trend

5. 2003 50th Anniversary Edition

The C5 Corvette just looks good in red, and in this case, it’s Xirallic Crystal. The 50th anniversary Corvette was a beautiful car to look at. The champagne-colored wheels and the astonishingly beautiful paint job to let you know that you were looking at something unique. 2003 was a good year for Chevy and the 50th Anniversary Edition got an upgraded interior with custom stitched seats and a navigation system. The 50th Anniversary Edition also introduced the world to Magnetic Ride Control, which gives this Corvette a subtle and smooth ride.

2003 50th Anniversary Via Motor Trend
2003 50th Anniversary via Motor Trend

The 2003 50th Anniversary Edition was only available in a convertible, and if you’re looking for one of these beauties you can expect to cough up some dough. The 2003 50th Anniversary Edition is perhaps one of the most highly sought-after C5 Corvettes.

2004 Z06 Via Motor Trend
2004 Z06 via Motor Trend

4. 2004 Commemorative Edition

The final year of the C5 was a somber one for GM. Even though the C6 was a much-improved Corvette model, the C5 had introduced the world to the modern Corvette. The 2004 Commemorative Edition sent the C5 off in style with a special edition Le Mans blue paint scheme and an embroidered set of headrests. The 2004 Commemorative Edition also came in a Z06 package which included racing alloys and all the enhancements that make the Z06 a serious track vehicle.

2004 Z06 Via Motor Trend
2004 Z06 via Motor Trend

If you’ve been searching high and low for a C5 with some attitude, the 2004 Commemorative Edition fits the bill. This beautiful Corvette is one of the best handling sports cars to come out in the new millennium.

2007 Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Champion Corvette Z06 Via Car And Driver
2007 Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Champion Corvette Z06 via Car And Driver

3. 2007 Z06 Ron Fellows Championship Edition

Like it or not, the Corvette has made a name for itself in the racing world. Ron Fellows was one of the key people behind that dominance. As such, the 2007 Z06 Ron Fellows Championship Edition is a Corvette with some history behind it. The paint scheme is unique to this car with red stripes along with the front fenders and Corvette across the windshield. In addition to those enhancements, there’s also a lip spoiler and 20-inch chrome wheels wrapped in Goodyear tires. The 2007 Z06 Ron Fellows Championship Edition stands out at one of the most unique C6 Corvettes to hit the collectors market.

2007 Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Champion Corvette Z06 Via Car And Driver
2007 Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Champion Corvette Z06 via Car And Driver

If you’ve been following the Corvette racing scene for years then you’ll know how important this specific car is to Corvette culture. If you want to own a piece of automotive history, the 2008 Corvette ZHZ Ron Fellows Championship Edition is a great choice.

2007 Indy 500 Via Motor Trend
2007 Indy 500 via Motor Trend

2. 2007 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica

How did GM go about introducing the world to the new C6? Well, they went the pace car route, of course. The 2007 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica is another nod to GM’s performance heritage and the car was sold at top-tier Chevrolet dealerships for the 2007 model year. If you’re a person who loves Indy car racing and want to show it off, the 2007 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica is the way to do it. Only available in a convertible, the Atomic Orange C6 stands out from the crowd in every aspect, from its stitched seats to the Indy 500 Logos in the doors.

2007 Indy 500 Via Motor Trend
2007 Indy 500 via Motor Trend

The 2007 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica is actually fairly easy to find on the used car market, but the value of this car has skyrocketed so you can expect to pay a pretty penny.

2008 Corvette ZHZ Via Motor Trend
2008 Corvette ZHZ via Motor Trend

1. 2008 Corvette ZHZ

Finally, the most unique Corvette to hit the road in recent years was actually one that anyone could rent. The 2008 Corvette ZHZ was a limited run of 500 vehicles that were made especially for the Hertz Rental Car Company. Notable upgrades over the average Corvette include seven-spoke special edition chrome wheels and an automatic exhaust switch which allows the driver to open and close the exhaust. The ZHZ was only available in a coupe version, and it featured either all-yellow paint or yellow paint with black stripes. The 2008 Corvette ZHZ is a wicked-looking ride and one of the most notable Corvettes.

2008 Corvette ZHZ Via Motor Trend
2008 Corvette ZHZ via Motor Trend

You can still find the 2008 Corvette ZHZ on the used car market for a reasonable price as the used car stigma seems to scare people away from it. Still, for the price, you’ll get a pretty rare piece of automotive history that looks great and is fun to drive too. When it comes to limited edition sports cars, the Hertz line of exotics still manages to look great even after all this time.

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