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Restoration Project: Corvette Parts

The Corvette, which is also known as the “Vette”, is a two-seater sports car manufactured by Chevrolet for over 60 years with eight different generations. From 1953 to 2019, the Corvette’s engine was in the front of the car. Since 2020, the Corvette’s engine is in the center of the car or directly between the front and back axles. With its generations labeled C1 through C8, the Corvette serves as Chevrolet's stock performance vehicle and is popular for its distinctive fiberglass or composite plastic body lines.

In 1953, when General Motors was deciding what to name their new two-door sports car, the assistant director for Chevy’s Public Relations, Myron Scott, recommended naming the “Corvette” after a small maneuverable warship. The Name was promptly approved. The first model was a convertible introduced at General Motors’ Motorama in ’53. It was a concept, initially, and was followed the second generation ten years later in 1963. The ’63 was available in two-door coupe and convertible styles. The Chevy Corvette was originally manufactured in Flint, Michigan and St. Louis, Missouri, but it has been produced in Bowling Green, Kentucky since 1981.

The Chevy Corvette has become widely known as "America's Sports Car." Automotive News wrote that after 'starring' in the early 1960s television show “Route 66, the Corvette became synonymous with freedom and adventure," becoming both "the most successful concept car in history and the most popular sports car in history."

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History of the Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette has been America's favorite sports car for almost seven decades. The combination of great looks, advanced technology, powerful V8 engines, and cool image proved to be unique on the global sports car scene and the foremost reason why Chevrolet managed to sell over million of these cars to almost every corner of the world. Apart from being fast and beautiful, Corvettes always were relatively affordable compared to their overpriced European counterparts and much more dependable. The reason is that many Corvette parts are borrowed from the regular Chevrolet line, compared to unique components European models have. All of that meant that Corvettes could be enjoyed as everyday cars and were great value for money. Of course, if you are a fan of older models in GM's heyday, you also know that classic Corvettes are a fantastic investment and can achieve extremely high prices crossing the auction block. So, whether you plan to restore your 'Vette to Concours standards or just get it roadworthy, your car has an extensive selection of Corvette parts to choose from.

Even though V8 power is synonymous with the Corvette, not many people know that the straight-six engine powered the original 1953 Corvette. The car looked stunning, but only 300 were made in 1953 and about 3,600 in 1954. However, in 1955, when Corvette got a V8 engine, the legend was born. With enough power, the Corvette started winning buyers as well as races and became one of the most successful sports cars of the decade. In 1963, Corvette entered a new era with the legendary Stingray model, which featured incredible design with an eponymous split rear window look. Underneath the sculptured fiberglass body, the chassis was new with two crucial innovations – independent rear suspension and rear disc brakes, big deal in the 1960s.

The C3 Corvette was introduced in 1968 and lasted for full 15 model years until 1982. It started as a sexy "Coke Bottle" design with a lineup of powerful V8 engines, but it ended like an outdated model with plastic bumpers and a warmed-up design from the disco era. Nonetheless, it was an important model in Corvette history, but by the early '80s, Corvette C4 was introduced with an entirely new design, construction, and technology to save the breed. Some even say that C4 Corvette was the essential model of them all since it laid the foundation for all other subsequent generations.

The C6, and even the C7 Corvettes all refined the concept introduced in 1984 with C4. They used the same chassis architecture but gradually modernized the formula with a transaxle gearbox, more powerful engines, contemporary designs, and features. They were fantastic cars to drive and performance benchmarks in their segment. That leads us to C8, the current Corvette, which is probably the best one yet and most controversial 'Vette ever constructed. Once again, this model is true to its values of being incredible value for money, fast, advanced, and as good or better than European or Japanese competitors. However, the C8 does it differently with the engine behind the driver (not in front) and using space-age technology. Even though purists protest the change, we feel this is a natural evolution and a way to provide the Corvette with another 70 years of progress and stellar performance.

Commonly Asked Questions about the Chevy Corvette

What Corvette Parts Are Interchangeable?

As a GM product, Corvette always used the company's parts bin. However, Corvettes always had unique chassis architecture, body, and interior, which means that only Corvette parts that are interchangeable are engine components and very few suspension pieces. Amongst the universal Corvette parts, you can find some switchgear, fuel pumps, and auxiliary items, but most signature Corvette parts are unique.

What Is The Rarest Model Year of the Corvette?

The 1953 Corvette is the rarest model, with only 300 made. All cars were white with red interiors and were mainly sold to celebrities and GM executives. Very few ever reached the dealer's lots.

What are some Corvette Signature Features?

The first one is a fiberglass body which made the Corvette the first production car in the world with a plastic body back in 1953. Even today, the brand new C8 still uses a fiberglass body. The second one is the use of V8. Even though the first two model years were powered with straight-six, all other Corvettes used small-block V8 engines.

Is the Mid-Engine Corvette New Idea?

Interestingly, no. In the early '60s, Zora Arkus Duntov, a famous Chevrolet engineer and one of the fathers of the Corvette, realized that putting bigger and more powerful engines would ruin the balance of the car. He and his team produced several Corvette concepts with a V8 mounted behind the driver, but Chevrolet's board didn't approve the projects. In the mid-'70s, a mid-engine Corvette was almost produced, and over the years, several more similar concepts were presented. However, it took nearly 50 years for the production mid-engine 'Vette to see the light of the day in the form of the C8.

Chevrolet Corvette Parts

When it comes to restoring a Corvette or simply replacing broken or missing Corvette trim pieces and installing new weatherstripping on a Corvette and custom fit Chevy Corvette insulation, you should stick with a supplier you trust and one that specializes in vintage, classic, and collectible automobiles. Our vintage auto restoration parts are of the highest quality and our prices are competitive. We at Collectors Auto Supply stock many Corvette parts for almost all model years. From hard-to-get bits to common maintenance items, whatever you need – we probably have it. 

Corvette Suspension and Steering Parts

As a sports car, Corvette was always known for excellent handling and precise steering. To keep it that way, you will need specific Corvette parts like bushings, steering idler arm, leaf spring bolt kit (for early models), and ball joints. Also, you can find steering pumps and other components, as well. Our selection of Corvette parts also includes shocks and sets.

Corvette Interior and Trim Parts

Most specific Corvette parts are located in the interior. Your restoration will not be complete if you don't have original carpets, insulation, and various trim pieces specific to a particular model year. We offer complete dashboards, covers, and weatherstripping, which has been known to be problematic for some model years. Some rare Corvette parts like hubcaps for '60s models are also on offer.