A blue 2022 Chevy Corvette Stingray is shown from the front parked on a desert road.

The Making of a Legend: The Chevy Corvette Then and Now

The term “supercar” isn’t one that’s used casually in the automotive industry; there are performance standards that must be met and a reputation to uphold. That’s why when experts like those over at Car and Driver describe the 2022 Chevy Corvette as a supercar, you listen, and you listen closely. When you do, you’ll hear the roar of the beast as it comes to life, bringing with it a legendary history that spans over seven decades. This is the supercar of yesterday, today, and tomorrow; it’s also a source of great pride for your local Chevy dealer as the car that took the iconic bowtie brand to legendary status with the rev of its engine heard ‘round the world.

The 2022 Corvette is best appreciated in the context of the Corvette’s remarkable history in America over the last 69 years. In what started as an attempt to boost sales in the early 1950s, the Corvette evolved from a lavish cruiser into America’s most iconic sports car. This transformation is truly remarkable and begins with the Corvette’s 1953 debut at the Motorama show in New York City. It’s this Corvette that set the stage for the 2022 model and its supercar status.

A white 2022 Chevy Corvette is shown parked at a Chevy dealer near the ocean.

Epic Flop to Future Icon

The end of World War II ignited a surge in the automotive industry as the Big Three – Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler – shaped America’s automotive landscape with an outpouring of new models. This competition fueled widespread innovation and expansion from each brand as they sought to take the top spot as America’s top-selling automaker. With this rapid growth also came frequent sales slumps, which Chevy experienced firsthand in the 1950s despite years of success as General Motors’ best-selling brand. This forced GM back to the drawing board, where engineers designed a sports car that would hopefully pull Chevy out of its slump.

Chevy debuted the Corvette at GM’s 1953 Motorama show in New York City, where it garnered praise for its fiberglass body panels and unique design. This warm reception was enough for Chevy to start production and, in the months that followed, 300 Corvettes rolled out of the factory. Every Corvette looked and performed the same with its White Polo exterior, iconic red interior, and Chevy’s proven 3.9-liter straight-six engine and 2-speed automatic transmission that delivered 150 horsepower. None of this, however, was enough to set the Corvette apart in the segment, and only 183 cars were sold in 1953.

Chevy realized that the Corvette wasn’t lavish enough to be a true roadster, nor was it powerful enough to be a serious sports car. The Corvette failed to find its niche. Chevy spent the next few years remedying the problem first by adding three paint colors in 1954 and then by equipping the convertible with a 195-horsepower 4.3-liter V8 in 1955. Finally, the Corvette delivered the performance of a real sports car.

Chevy refused to stop there and made another round of improvements to the Corvette for 1956. This marked the true birth of the Corvette as a sports car and set the stage for the Corvette’s evolution over the next seven decades. So, what made the 1956 Corvette truly remarkable?

The 1956 Corvette was powered by the same 4.3-liter V8 engine but its new camshaft and the option to add a second carburetor extended its capability to 225 horsepower. This pushed the Corvette from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. With the Corvette finally delivering the power and handling of a sports car, Chevy turned its attention to the Corvette’s interior and equipped it with new luxuries and conveniences. These features included external door handles and a power-operated folding roof that made it possible to drive the Corvette in all types of weather.

From Past to Present: The 2022 Corvette

The 1956 Corvette’s 225-horsepower engine and its launch from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.5 seconds were a vast improvement over the 1953 Corvette that delivered 150 horsepower and an 11-second trip to 60 mph. Neither of these, however, compares to the power you’ll find under the rear hatch of the 2022 Corvette. This mid-engine supercar shows you just how far the Corvette has come over the last seven decades.

The 2022 Corvette is truly astonishing with its mid-engine layout that adds stability, power, and capability to America’s favorite sports car. A 6.2-liter V8 engine powers the Corvette Stingray and is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, both of which are a far cry from the Corvette of the 1950s. This pairing delivers up to 495 horsepower, 470 lb-ft of torque, a top speed of 194 mph, and a 0 to 60 mph time of 2.9 seconds. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it.

The real secret behind the Corvette’s power dates back to why Chevy was founded in the first place. Race car driver Louis Chevrolet and General Motors founder William Durant wanted to build engines in-house to deliver affordable, performance-inspired vehicles. That’s exactly what you’ll find on the 2022 Corvette, especially when you look at technology like Magnetic Selective Ride Control 4.0. This innovative damping system constantly reads the road and adapts the suspension and driving components as needed to stabilize the Corvette, maximize its performance, and give you the control you need behind the wheel.

The white and black leather interior of a 2022 Chevy Corvette shows the steering wheel and center console.

Interior Luxuries

The 1953 Corvette taught Chevy a valuable lesson – that drivers expected more power and more conveniences in a sports car. This set the stage for the Corvette’s future and is a guideline that Chevy still follows today, as we see on the 2022 Corvette. The newest addition to the sports car lineup not only performs like a supercar, but it’s also exquisite on the inside.

The 2022 Corvette offers eight interior color options that allow you to design the Corvette exactly to your preferences. You’ll also find a custom leather-wrapped instrument panel and doors, a retractable roof, and a state-of-the-art digital cockpit that puts everything you need within reach. The cockpit is home to a 12-inch digital instrument display that gives you an immediate view of the Corvette’s performance, speed, mileage, and other data. The available Performance Data Recorder gives you even more data on the Corvette’s on-road performance, while the Chevrolet infotainment system keeps you connected and entertained when you’re behind the wheel. Conveniences like heated and ventilated front seats, a color head-up display, and power front seats truly distinguish the 2022 Corvette and showcase just how far it’s come since its 1953 debut.

The Legend Lives On

Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant founded the Chevrolet Motor Company in 1911 with the goal of delivering unprecedented performance and affordability to Americans. The innovators brought that vision to life with their early models, but nothing showcases that vision or its success more than the legendary Corvette. While the Corvette got off to a slow start in the 1950s, it finally found its footing and delivered on Chevy’s first promise to its customers. Today, Chevy keeps that same promise in the 2022 Corvette.

The 2022 Corvette is seven decades in the making and rightly earns praise as an affordable supercar like no other. The newest iteration in the Corvette lineup is truly remarkable in its ability to effortlessly navigate your daily commute only to leave its competitors in a cloud of dust at the track. It’s the supercar of America and the continuation of a promise made over a century ago.