Corvette: Year By Year


About The Corvette


Corvette Terminology

Corvette Terms


Click Here to select all terms.

Active Keyless Entry:
A key fob with buttons that unlocked the door.

Adams, Noland:
Noted Corvette historian and author.

Arkus-Duntov, Zora:
Engineer responsible for the performance engineering of early Corvettes and for establishing the Corvette as a serious performance sports car.

Acceleration Slip Regulation. Standard equipment starting in 1992, ASR controlled wheel spin under hard acceleration.

Benchmark Award:
The Bloomington award for a Corvette that has both Gold certification and survivor status.

Big Block:
396, 427 and 454 cu. in. engines that were installed in Corvettes from 1965 to 1974. The 427 cu. in. engine in the C6 Z06 was a small block engine.

Big Brake:
Option RPO 684 and RPO 687 packages that included larger brakes more suitable for the race track. Available on 1957 to 1962 Corvettes.

Big Tank:
24 gallon fuel tank on 1959 to 1962 Corvettes (option 488) and the 36 gallon fuel tank (RPO N03) available on 1963 to 1967 Corvette coupes.

A popular annual Corvette event in Illinois. For more information visit

Bloomington Gold:
A Corvette authenticity certification process. See for more information.

Blue Flame Special:
Six cylinder engine used in 1953, 1954 and a few 1955 Corvettes.

1953 Chevrolet Corvette Engine

A quality audio company that made optional sound systems for Corvettes starting in 1984.

Bowling Green:
Bowling Green KY has been the manufacturing home for Corvettes since 1981.

The nickname for the large ungainly padded area where a glovebox would normally be in 1983 - 1989 Corvettes. The term is not a compliment.

Build Sheet:
The factory documentation that lists the VIN, color, options etc. installed on a given Corvette.

RPM warning device found in a few 1963 Corvettes or high speed warning device available as an option (RPO U15) on 1967 to 1969 Corvettes.

1953 - 1962 Corvettes, also known as the "Straight Axle" Corvettes.

1963 - 1967 Corvettes, also known as the "Mid Year" Corvettes.

1968 - 1983 Corvettes.

1983 - 1996 Corvettes.

1997 - 2004 Corvettes.

A C5 based race car highly successful at LeMans, Daytona and Sebring.

2006 - 2013 Corvettes.

2014 - ? Corvettes

Cafaro, John:
Corvette designer credited with the styling of the C5.

Computer Aided Gear Selection. A fuel economy feature introduced in 1989 that skipped second and third gears during casual driving.

Callaway Engineering produced a series of modified Corvettes some of which were sold through Chevrolet dealers. See for more information.

Short for Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle. A series of race / show cars built for R&D efforts.

A hood design that hinges at the front and offers access to the engine, tires and suspension. Used in the C4 Corvettes.

Cole, Ed:
GM executive who was an early proponent of the Corvette.

Central Office Production Order. Used to build Chevrolets equipped with options not normally found and was how many factory sourced race cars were built.

Parts, accessories and options that were installed by the factory and a term that is sometimes a source of controversy. For example, a CD player installed in a 1960 Corvette would not be considered "correct".

Corss-Fire Injection:
An early electronic fuel injection system used in 1982 to 1984 Corvettes.

A small, light and easily maneuverable warship after which the Chevrolet sports car was named. See

Cowl Vents:
Vents mounted near the cowl in front of the windshield in C1 and C2 Corvettes.

A wheel style used in 1991 Corvettes, nicknamed due to the design similarity with the food processor.

1991 Corvette wheel

Date Code:
A Code stamped on many major mechanical parts that indicates the date of manufacturer.

A GM division that manufactures many Corvette parts.

Rectangular shaped plenum chamber found in the fuel injection systems of 1957 - 1965 fuel injected engines.

Duntov Cam:
A special high performance camshaft (RPO 449) developed by Zora Arkus-Duntov and was first available in 1956 Corvettes.

Earl, Harley:
Harley Earl was the head of GM design from 1927 to 1958; the two seat American sports car we know as the Corvette was his idea.

Harley Earl

The official designation for the prototype Corvette shown in the 1953 Motorama show.

Fitch, John:
John Fitch raced early Corvettes, driving the Corvette SS and the Corvette Sting Ray race cars.

Flint MI was where the 1953 Corvettes were built as was the early small block V8 engines.

Term of affection for early (1957 - 1965) Corvettes equipped with fuel injection.

Garage Queen:
A Corvette, often a restored classic, that is mostly garaged and rarely driven.

The outermost layer of the fiberglass body surface.

Grand Sport:
A series of five tube frame race cars built in 1962 by Zora Arkus-Duntov. A commemorative edition series of C4 Corvettes were built in 1996; see 1996 Part II for more information.

Guldstrand, Dick:
Corvette SCCA, LeMans and Sebring racer. Well known for high performance suspension work. See for more information.

Dick Guldstrand

Heads Up Display:
Sometimes called HUD, presented important driver information on the windshield.

High Energy Ignition. An electronic ignition system that replaced points based ignition systems in 1975.

Hill, David:
Corvette chief engineer; replaced Dave McClellan in 1992.

John Greenwood:
Late '60s and 70s Corvette racer; later a custom Corvette designer.

Prominent and large Corvette dealership located in Atlantic City, NJ.

King of the Hill:
Working title and popular nickname for the ZR-1 Corvette.

Knock Offs:
Special wheels available on 1964 - '66 Corvettes that featured a single large nut with spinners that allowed very quick wheel changes.

1963 Corvette wheel

427 cu. in. 390 hp engine available in 1966 - '69 Corvettes.

350 cu. in. 350 hp engine available in 1969, 1970 Corvettes.

350 cu. in. engine available in 1975 - '80.

427 cu. in. 400 hp engine available in 1967 - '69 Corvettes.

427 cu. in. 435 hp engine available in 1967 - '69 Corvettes.

427 cu. in. 425 hp engine available in 1966 Corvettes.

327 cu. in. 300 hp engine available in 1963 - '65 Corvettes.

327 cu. in. 340 hp engine available in 1963, '64 Corvettes.

396 cu. in. 425 hp engine available in 1965 Corvettes.

327 cu. in. 350 hp engine available in 1967, '68 Corvettes.

350 cu. in. engine available in 1981 Corvettes.

350 cu. in. engine available in 1973 - '80 Corvettes.

350 cu. in. engine available in 1982 - '84 Corvettes.

427 cu. in. 430 hp engine available in 1967 - '69 Corvettes.

Aluminum cylinder heads with L71 engine, available in 1967 - '69 Corvettes.

350 cu. engine available in 1985 - '91 Corvettes.

305 cu. in. engine available in 1980 California Corvettes.

Lingenfelter, John:
Drag racer and high output Corvette tuner.

364 cu. in. 400 hp engine in 2005, '06 Corvettes.

454 cu. in. 390 hp engine available in 1970 - '72 Corvettes.

454 cu. in. 425 hp engine available in 1971 Corvettes. LS6 was also the designation for the engine in 2001 -\'04 Z06 Corvettes.

427 cu. in. 505 hp 2006 Z06 engine.

2006 Corvette Z06 engine  (LS7)

350 cu. in. 370 hp engine available in 1970 - '72. LT1 was also the designation for the engine in 1992 -'96 Corvettes.

350 cu. in. 330 hp engine available in 1996.

Four cam / four valve engine; part of the ZR-1 option; available 1990 - '95.

A series of four speed manual transmissions installed in '60s and '70s Corvettes.

Close ratio version of the M20 four speed manual transmission.

Heavy duty version of the M21 four speed manual transmission.

Mako Shark I:
1962 show car that would be the styling basis for the C2 Corvettes.

1961 Mako Shark

Mako Shark II:
Show car that was the styling basis for the C3 Corvette.

1968 Corvette Manta Ray

Matching Numbers:
A car is said to have matching numbers when the major parts have the numbers stamped on them according to the build sheet. Although matching numbers cars are sought after by collectors, the process can be controversial.

McLellan, David:
Dave McLellan succeeded Zora Arkus-Duntov and became the second Corvette chief engineer. His legacy includes the C4 and ZR-1.

Multi-port fuel injection.

Mid Year:
1963 - 1967 Corvettes, also known as the C2 generation.

Mitchell, Bill:
Bill Mitchell succeeded Harley Earl as GM Design Chief. He was a big fan of the Corvette and fought to keep it true to its performance intentions.

A 1949 to 1961 traveling GM auto show. The Corvette was introduced to the world at the 1953 Motorama.

Mouse Motor:
Term of affection for the small block motor; a reaction to the "rat motor" term for the big block.

National Council of Corvette Clubs. See

National Corvette Resoration Society. A non-profit group dedicated to the restoration, preservation, history and enjoyment of Corvettes made from the model years 1953 through 1991. Visit for more information.

New Old Stock. Refers to older original Corvette parts that have never been sold; particularly valued by collectors.

Numbers Matching:
See Matching Numbers

Passive Keyless Entry:
Installed in 1993 - '99 Corvettes. A transmitter on the key fob would lock / unlock the doors based on its proximity to the car.

Period Correct:
An aspect or part of the car that was not supplied by the factory but was commonly added by owners at the time it was new. Fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror is an example of "period correct".

Peters, Tom:
The designer of the C6 Corvette.

See Passive Keyless Entry.

Polo White:
The only color available in 1953 Corvettes and a color choice up to 1957.

Two speed automatic transmission standard equipment in 1953 - '55 Corvettes and available up to 1967.

Metal warranty card included with 1965 and subsequent Corvettes.

Radio Delete:
An option that deleted the radio with a corresponding price decrease. Popular with Corvettes destined to be race cars.

Rally Wheels:
Steel wheels that were standard equipment with 1967 - '82 Corvettes and included a chrome trim ring and small hub caps.

Rat Motor:
Term of affection for the big block Chevrolet engines.

Redline Tires:
A optional bias-ply tire avaialble in 1967 - '69 Corvettes.

Regular Production Option:
See RPO.

A highly controversial process where numbers are stamped on engine blocks and other parts to make the car appear to be "matching numbers".

Route 66:
A highway, now largely replaced by the interstate highway system, that ran from Santa Monica CA to Chicago IL with strong historical roots. A '60s television show named "Route 66" featured a Corvette.

Regular Production Option. Starting in 1963 options were given a three digit code which was a letter followed by a number.

Scott, Myron:
A photographer for Chevrolet, Myron came up with the idea of naming the new sports car "Corvette".

Located in Florida, Sebring is an endurance race that has been the source of many Corvette competition successes.

Second Flight:
One of the ratings given to classic Corvettes by the NCRS. See for more information.

Selective Ride:
An option that allowed the driver to select ride comfort / handling levels. First available in 1989.

The original name of the Mako Shark show car; also a nickname for C3 Corvettes.

Shinoda, Larry:
Automotive designer credited with the shape of the C2 Corvette.

Skelton, Betty:
Early Corvette racer and holder of a number of Corvette performance records. Betty was also involved in many early Corvette promotion efforts.

Racer Betty Skelton

Short Long Arm - a suspension configuration that used different length A-arms

Small Block:
A famous series of V8 engines first installed in the 1955 Corvette.

Solid Axle:
A simple rear suspension design which used a single axle. All C1 Corvettes were so equipped and are therefore known as "Solid Axle" Corvettes.

Split Window:
The rear window of the 1963 Corvette coupe, which was a two piece design. See Split Decision.

1963 Corvette Sting Ray split rear window

St. Louis:
St. Louis MO was the home of Corvette production from 1954 to August 1981.

Hood design found on big block engined 1967 Corvettes.

1967 Corvette big block hood

Moniker for all C2 Corvettes; as two words, "Sting Ray" was the name for 1969 - '76 Corvettes. Named after a fast tropical fish with a low flat appearance.

Straight Axle:
See "Solid Axle".

A classic Corvette that has never been restored. "Survivor" status is a Bloomington Gold rating.

The two spears that ran the length of the trunk in the 1958 Corvette. See 1958 Corvette.

Split Window Coupe - A reference to the 1963 Corvette coupe.

Removeable roof panels; when removed, the roof area looked like a "T" due to the center bar. All C3 Corvette coupes were T-Tops.

Tank Sticker:
The build sheet which was glued to the fuel tank on certain Corvettes.

Refers to C2 Corvettes equipped with the larger 36 gallon fuel tank.

Removeable roof design found in C4 - C6 Corvettes.

Third Flight:
One of the ratings given to classic Corvettes by the NCRS. See for more information.

Thompson, Dr. Dick:
Early Corvette racer and Class A, B and C SCCA champion in 1956, '57 and '60 to '62. Nicknamed "The Flying Dentist".

Top Flight:
One of the ratings given to classic Corvettes by the NCRS. See for more information.

TPI (Tuned Port Injection):
Fuel injection systems used on 1985 - '86 Corvettes.

Trailer Queen:
A Corvette, usually a restored classic, that is mostly transported by trailer and rarely driven.

The three two barrel carburetor setup found on big block 1967 - '69 Corvettes.

Turbo Jet:
Name found on the air cleaners of some big block engine Corvettes.

"Washboard Hood" is the nickname for 1958 Corvette hoods which featured closed louvers.

1958 Corvette hood

The portion of the body the extends into the interior of C1, C5 and C6 convertible Corvettes. Photo features a 2005 Corvette waterfall.

2005 Corvette waterfall convertible interior

GM term for the C4 Corvette.

Z codes:
Special performance options; usually intended for race cars.

Special race car option available on 1963 Corvettes. See Z06 Corvette. A high performance Z06 was available in 2001 - '04 (see Return of the Z06) and 2005.

A famous option first available on 1984 Corvettes and was mostly a performance suspension upgrade.

Zora Arkus-Duntov :
See Arkus-Duntov, Zora

A legendary performance option Corvette available in 1990 - '95. Named after a 1970 - '72 race car destined option.