Throughout its seven generations of life, Chevrolet’s Corvette has had several competitors on the performance front from American, Japanese and European manufacturers alike. It seems with each new generation of Corvette the car has a new rival, and Driving.ca recently recalled some of the Corvette’s most formidable foes from over the years.
The C1 Corvette didn’t start out as a performance machine, but slowly evolved into one over time. The ultimate performance variation, the fuel injected 282 cubic inch V8 model, produced 283 horsepower and completed the quarter mile in 14.3 seconds. This, in combination with its relatively light weight, was enough to stick it to Ford’s supercharged 1957 Thunderbird on the performance front.
The C2 Corvette found a new rival in the way of the 1963 Jaguar E-Type. By ’63, the Corvette had adopted a 327 cubic inch V8 producing a robust 360 horsepower. The E-Type on the other hand followed the typical British sports car formula of “simplify and add lightness”, with its slim body and triple carb 3.8-liter straight-six engine. The Jaguar was a little faster through the bends, while the Corvette was the king straight line performance, so Driving.ca calls match up one a draw.
By the late sixties, Germany had successfully joined the sports car race with its Porsche 911S. The Corvette received a tri-carb 427 cubic inch V8 for the C3 generation, while the lightweight 2,200 pounds 911 used a 2.2-liter flat six. In 1969, the Corvette would probably have outperformed the 911 due to the brute force delivered by the 7.0-liter V8, but unlike the other two, this rivalry is still very much alive today.
By the time the C4 generation Corvette rolled around, Dodge had its own answer to the sports car, the 1993 Viper. The Viper produced 400 horsepower from its 8.0-liter V10, enough to make the engineers behind the 405 horsepower C4 ZR1 a little worried. This match up would be extremely close, but Driving.ca hands the performance win to the cheaper Viper.
Modern day Corvettes, such as the C5, now have plenty of competitors to choose from, but Driving .ca chose to stick the E46 generation M3 up against the C5 for their comparison. The C5 was the first Corvette to adopt the modern “LS” nomenclature for its engine, which in the Z06 model produced 405 horsepower. This was enough to best the M3’s 333 horsepower, but Driving says the M3 is “undeniably prettier and far better trimmed,” which was enough for it to win the comparison. We’d have our money on the Z06 around the racetrack, though.
Enter the C6 Corvette. The 505 horsepower Z06 variation of the car used a 7.0-liter LS7 V8 and was no longer battling it out with sports cars, but full blown supercars such as the Ferrari F430. Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches were all more expensive than the Corvette, and some might have had to work pretty hard to keep up with the Z06 on the track. And that’s excluding the 640 horsepower ZR1.
The C7 Corvette has been compared to almost every modern performance machine on sale, and has beaten many in comparison tests. The 650 horsepower Z06 version will surely be the most high performance Corvette of all time, but will find a strong opponent in the 2015 Nissan GT-R. The 545 horsepower GT-R loses the horsepower race, but its trick launch control system makes it lethal in a drag race. The special edition Nismo version also lapped the Nurburgring in an incredible 7:08, so it’s your move now, Chevy.