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Rare Corvettes Only True Chevy Fans Will Recognize

Cameron EittreimJuly 16, 2021

The Chevrolet Corvette is perhaps one of the most well-known sports cars of all time. Released in the 1950s, the Corvette was the epiphany of a new generation. This generation was one that embraced freedom and fun cars, and Corvettes embodied just that.

Although the Corvette has evolved a lot from the simpler early days to become a supercar, there was a time when it embodied plain old American muscle car fun. Some of those models have gotten lost in the more techniclogically-advanced models of today. We took a look at some of the rarest Corvette models that only true Chevy diehards will recognize.

Photo Credit: Mecum

20: 1953 Corvette

The original Corvette wasn’t a supercar. In fact, it wasn’t even powered by a V8 engine. Its interior was red and the exterior was a special pearl white. There were only 300 of these original Corvette models ever made. Today, there are only about 100 that are still in existence. Corvette collectors search high and low for one in clean condition, and they are not easy to find.

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The thing that made this model of the Corvette unique was the fact it had a V6 engine. The Corvette line continues to evolve into more and more of a supercar, which made the 1953 model year vary from other years. You’ll notice that there are a lot of styling cues from the Corvette of this generation, which made it special.

Photo Credit: Hagerty

19: 1963 Corvette Z06

The first split-window Corvette was the 1963 Z06. If you know anything Corvettes from this era, you know that the split window is highly valuable. Its unique paint job and design lines on this Corvette were two things that gave it a radically different look than anything else on the market. The Corvette has long been the strategic corner of the Chevrolet performance lineup due to is speed and style.

Photo Credit: Hagerty

The birth of the Z06 model has created the high-end sports cars that we have today. The interesting look and the one-of-a-kind performance still make this Corvette fun to drive. There are only 100 made and finding one is never an easy task.

Photo Credit: Mecum

18: 1963 Corvette Grand Sport

The Corvettes dedicated to racing back in the 1960s were some of the most impressive models that have ever shared the Corvette nameplate. The Grand Sport was part of a five-car production run that separated the standard Corvette from the serious track car. In addition to the removal of the pop-up headlights, the Grand Sport was a much lighter-weighing car.

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All of this helped to create one of the most impressive Corvette track cars on the road. The fact that there were only five of these ever put into existence has made the price tag even higher. A recent estimate has put the Grand Sport in the ballpark of $6 to $8 million. That’s quite valuable for a bare-bones street racer.

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17: 1967 Corvette L88

What happens when you pack a 454 big-block V8 into the standard Corvette? You get the L88. This Corvette was a sheer barebones performance edition of the car because of its engine. The 454 V8 has always been one of the most potent powerplants to come out of Detroit. In addition to a limited-edition paint job, there was also a special set of wheels.

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There’s no denying that the 454 V8 motivated the car with authority, putting the Corvette name on the map when it came to performance. Coupled with a lightweight body and iconic design of the Stingray, the L88 was the perfect combination of Corvette technology and engineering at the time.

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16: 1967 Corvette L89

The L88 was a winner, so Chevy replicated it all over again for the L89. The result was a car that was a monster on the track and roads. The L89 had some of the most impressive specs ever in the Corvette line, but what happened is that GM didn’t put enough time into making the model unique. Thus, there are many clone cars of the L89 on the market and it can be hard for collectors to distinguish them from the original.

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Because of this, the price of the L89 isn’t going to be as high as an L88. But it’s also a lot more difficult to try and pinpoint the authenticity of one. From a performance standpoint, the L89 is a notable car and an interesting footnote in the history of the Corvette. Most of these cars have since disappeared but there are a few clean examples at auction.

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15: 1969 Corvette ZL1

Today, the ZL1 is a common trim package for high-performance Chevys. But back in 1969, it was experimental only. There were only two known examples of the ZL1 Corvette that made their way onto the consumer market. Only those close to the Chevy brass knew that the model existed, and it was a special purchase option.

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Where the ZL1 shined was the 427 V8 which was pumping out 500HP. Nowadays that isn’t a lot, but back then it was huge. The ZL1 was as close to a supercar as you could get back in the 1960s, and Chevy was more than happy to experiment with the Corvette model. These have been known to be quite the catch on the auction block.

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14: 1969 Corvette L88

As time rolled on, the L88 was still a very popular model for diehard Corvette enthusiasts. If you want a true performance C3 the L88 is about as close you can get to perfection. Not only is the design of the car one of the best that you’ll find, but it also acts the part of the racetrack. The option was expensive back then. And there were only 116 known to have been put into existence.

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The L88 is unlike anything else on the road, with a unique look and the signature 1960s Corvette flair. The C3 is one of the first modern platforms for the Corvette and the L88 kept the tradition of performance going strong. These have been known to catch a staggering amount at auction and even Jay Leno is a proud owner.

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13: 1970 Baldwin Motion Corvette

A Corvette that didn’t have pop-up headlights in the 1970s? It was true thanks to a company that was called Baldwin Motion. The company would create special edition Corvette bodies for GM with added looks and performance features. The 1970 model that featured the Baldwin Motion package is among one of the rarest Corvettes in the world.

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Just take a glance at this Corvette and you’d think that you were looking at an early model Ferrari. The clean lines and deletion of the pop-up headlights gave the car a completely different look at the time. As we have known GM stayed true to the pop-up headlights well into the new millennium, but there were options out there.

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12: 1971 Corvette ZR1

The 1970s were a tough time for just about every domestic automaker due to the fuel embargo. Thus the Corvette line was one of the first to be negatively affected, but GM still had a special package up its sleeve. The ZR1 was a true performance car in every sense of the word, so much so that it was relegated to an eight-car production run.

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The rarity of this model has created a sort of frenzy on the used car market, as original owners tend to hang onto the model. The ZR1 has always been a special part of the Corvette lineup and it’s interesting to see how unique the original car is. With a powerful, high-revving engine and looks to match the Corvette ZR1 was quite the car.

Photo Credit: NRSR

11: 1971 Corvette ZR2

Even with the fuel crisis and the rise of the small-block V8 in the 1970s, there was still an appetite for a big-block engine. The ZR2 is a prime example of that as it took the unique design of the ZR1 and infused a big-block 454 into the mix. The paint scheme and overall look of this Corvette were more impressive than previous models.

Photo Credit: NRSR

The car handled and drove like a dream, infusing all of the performance features that you’d expect. To this day the ZR2 remains one of the most highly-coveted Corvette models in the history of the brand. Its iconic styling and signature performance were hallmarks of the ZR2.

Photo Credit: GM

10: 1983 Corvette C4

There were no 1983 Corvette models but GM actually produced a limited number of them. There is said to only be one of these models left which is in a museum right now. The C4 was the birth of the modern Corvette platform that we know and love today. This model lasted well into the 1990s.

Photo Credit: GM

For many fans, the C4 was the first Corvette they fell in love with. There were ups and downs. The C4 had the first digital dashboard as well as other features that GM would test out. Some failed and some stuck with consumers. Either way, the few 1983 models that might have survived are quite rare to say the least.

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9: 1986 Corvette C4 “Cooper Metallic”

As we’ve discussed, the C4 is quite a unique part of the Corvette story, but the copper metallic one is even rarer than that. Its unique color, quite the eye-catcher, was made in a very limited number of vehicles. GM had used copper on a number of their models and the paint color is different than what you’d expect to see on a sports car.

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There were only 86 cars that were made in the copper metallic color, so if you come across one it’s very rare. The value for one these days sits around $30,000 which is more than impressive for a C4 Corvette. With its beautiful paint job and the added spoiler, the C4 in this color screams the 1980s sports car.

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8: 1988 Corvette Sledgehammer

During the ’80s GM was having a tough time adjusting to new emissions requirements. So the V8 models were downplayed, to say the least. Nevertheless, the Sledgehammer changed all of that with a record-breaking 258 MPH top speed, among the fastest in the world at the time.

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This made the Sledgehammer a record-breaking car that made headlines for the Corvette brand once again. Taking one look at the car, you can tell that GM meant business with this one, the design was unlike the usual C4 Corvette. Nowadays this car is quite rare but it cemented itself as a Corvette on a mission.

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7: 1995 Guldstrand GS90

Similar to other rare Corvette models that were put together back then, the Guldstrand GS90 was another novelty. The car was designed by Dick Guldstrand, a famous Corvette racing champion. He used the ZR1 as the base for the car and charged a $200,000 sticker price for the customization.

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Needless to say, this is one of the best-looking C4s that you can get and rare to boot. The interesting look and feel of the car are only outclassed by the amazing performance that it has on the roadways. The GS90 might not be a mainstream Corvette model but it is one that certainly stands out from the crowd.

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6: 1994 Corvette C4 Grand Sport

The Grand Sport is the undeniable champion of the C4 platform. The blue paint scheme with the white stripes just set the car off like nothing else that was on the road. The blacked-out rims went with the mystique of the package which brought the Corvette line back to the racing world.

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The Grand Sport is perhaps the most notable Corvette model for several reasons, and the unique design is something that still looks great to this day. While the Grand Sport might not be the rarest Corvette on the road, it certainly holds a candle to the other rare models we remembered.

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5: 1998 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica

The C5 is undoubtedly the best bang for the buck that you can get in a sports car, even by today’s standards. The Indy 500 Pace Car Replica is a car that you’ll still find today that looks good and performs even better. The purple and yellow paint scheme are quintessential Corvette from this era and the car looks every bit the 1990s.

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Finding one won’t set you back an extreme amount of money and the rarity makes the car stand out for several reasons. The Indy 500 is still a very important part of automotive racing and the Corvettes heritage is also part of the design of this car. Pace Car replicas are a big part of the Corvette and the 1998 one was quite the unique experience.

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4: 2003 50th Anniversary Edition

The 50th Anniversary Edition C5 Corvette is quite rare. The highly sought-after sports car came in one of the most beautiful colors GM has ever released, Xirallic Crystal. On top of the obvious advantages that came with the beautiful exterior color, there were also a lot of new luxuries such as a navigation system.

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If you want a Corvette that blends the best of the old school with the comforts of today, the 50th Anniversary Edition is a solid choice. The unique look of the car is something you might not expect to see in a Corvette from this generation. You’ll still find one for a reasonable price, which makes collecting one an attainable thing to do.

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3: 2004 Commemorative Edition

By 2004, the death knell had rung on the C5 Corvette, and that just about did it for enthusiasts. Although the C6 was a better sports car in just about every way, the C5 was the first modern Corvette that addressed a lot of the problems with the brand. The 2004 Commemorative Edition had a beautiful paint job and several upgrades to it.

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The chrome rims were some of the best that GM has ever included on a car, and the interior was decked out in final edition stitching and leather. If you are wanting to collect a C5 Corvette, the 2004 Commemorative Edition may be be the car for you. The unique branding of this model coupled with the beautiful looks is hard for anyone to pass up.

Photo Credit: GM

2: 2007 Z06 Ron Fellows Championship Edition

The C6 Corvette ended up being one of the most popular models that were ever made. GM made several changes to the modern Z06 which included more performance upgrades. The 2007 Z06 Ron Fellows Championship Edition added to that mystique with a lot of new features.

Photo Credit: GM

The car looked every bit the racing Corvette that it was, coupled with the backing of Ron Fellows the performance was out of the roof. The 2007 Z06 Ron Fellows Championship Edition is of course one of the rarest Z06 models that you can get your hands on. If you enjoy road racing, this is the C6 Corvette that you are going to want to have.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

1: 2007 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica

Once again, GM returned to its Indy Car roots with another replica, although the exterior color of this one was a bit milder. Decked out a beautiful orange metallic, the 2007 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica was everything that drivers sought in a collectors edition Corvette.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The C5 was not much of an improvement from the interior perspective, but then again, you aren’t buying a Corvette for the luxury features. You buy a Corvette because it is a fun-to-drive car that can handle its own on the track. The 2007 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica is a beautiful example of the C6 generation.

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