How Fast Is a Corvette?by Rob Wagner
Throughout its long history, the Chevrolet Corvette has consistently recorded progressively higher top speeds with each passing decade. While not known during its early years for its agile handling compared to its European sports car counterparts, its straight-line speeds have reached impressive levels depending on engine specifications, the driver and environmental conditions.
Out of the Gate
In its first year, the 1953 Corvette is powered by 235-horsepower straight six engine and generates 150 horsepower to hit a top speed of 108 mph.
By 1964, Chevrolet is pursuing speed records with its CERV II test car that is equipped with a 500-horsepower V-8 to achieve a high speed of 210 mph and 0 to 60 mph in three seconds.
The 1974 production model features the massive 454-cubic-inch V-8 with 275 horsepower to reach 125 mph on the highway and hit a quarter mile in 15.8 seconds.
Efficient but Fast
The 1997 to 2003 Corvettes are equipped with the 345-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8 that now drops the 0 to 60 mph speed to less than five seconds, and has a top speed of 175.
Only experienced drivers are encouraged to attempt speed records in the 2002 to 2004 Z06 Corvette with its 405-horsepower V-8 topping out at 176 mph.
7 Liters of Thrust
With the 2006 Z06 production model, the 7-liter V-8 outputs a rollicking 505 horsepower that drops the 0 to 60 mph test to 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 198.
- photo_camera General Motors