C7 Corvette Overview: 6 Years of Upgrades
Did you know that Chevy began developing the C7 Corvette in 2007, but due to General Motors’ bankruptcy issues, the C7 didn’t enter the market in full stride until 2014?
Want to know how this series developed over the prime of its life span in 2014 all the way through to 2019? Keen to learn why Corvette C7 history is so popular among enthusiasts?
We’ve got you covered! Read on to find out more.
Development of the C7 Corvette
Thanks to General Motors’ bankruptcy issue mentioned earlier, the actual production of the C7 didn’t begin in late 2013. This meant that the Chevrolet Corvette C7 sports car had to wait until 2014 to start making a real impact within the car industry.
As highlighted by the name, this is the seventh generational version of the Corvette and the first since the C3 to use the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray name.
Doubling down on its commitment to the aluminum initiative, Chevrolet decided to invest millions of dollars into new C7 production, adamant to produce the C7 themselves and not outsourcing Chevrolet completely overhauled their plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
This bold refit appeared to be overly optimistic, according to many experts. However, thanks to Chevrolet’s commitment to its decision, the company started to enjoy the fruits of its decision to refit the Bowling Green plant.
In a very short space of time, the newly refitted plant became renowned as a premier source for the production of next-generation chassis.
The C7 Corvette took a few of the design lines from its predecessor, the C6 Corvette a move that included sticking with exposed headlights.
Additionally, the C7 was equipped with the following:
- A new 6.2-liter small-block V8 engine
- Seven-speed manual transmission, as well as a six-speed GM automatic
- The C7 was able to move from zero to 60 in 3.8 seconds
- As far as the suspension on the C7 goes, it comprises of a double-wishbone setup
The ECU-controlled NPP option for exhaust continued. The sound levels were controlled based on the RPM and throttle. The Pipes are aluminized stainless steel, and the stock included 3-inch polished tips. The NPP features the 4-inch version.
C7 Styling and Reaction
The C7’s styling can be summed up in one word: aggressive.
Reaction to the overall result of Chevrolet’s time and financial investment was mainly positive. When it debuted in 2014, the Corvette C7 weighed in at 3,298 lbs and was almost 100 lbs lighter than the C6 models.
Take one look at the C7 and it’s very obvious that the designers were aiming to create a bold design, one that felt true to the lines of a traditional Corvette, yet sported a more dynamic design that would present the series in a more modern manner.
The result was a resounding success among fans and critics alike. Highlighting that Corvette had indeed achieved its desired result.
The rear of the C7 featured:
- Trapezoidal taillights
- Four tailpipes mounted at the center of the bumper
The C7 also featured a body that was laced with vents and lines that all pointed toward it being engineered to be aerodynamic. This design choice was extremely daring as it went against the designs of previous Corvette’s that had fewer vents and line choiceness that were almost conservative compared to those in the C7.
The C7 in 2014
Featuring a carbon fiber hood and Aerogel developed by NASA to combat cabin temperature, the C7 was a good choice for any discerning Corvette aficionado.
Corvette offered the following C7 models in 2014:
- Corvette C7 Stingray Coupe
- 3LT Interior Package
- Z51 Performance Package
- C7 Corvette Stingray Convertible
- Corvette Stingray Coupe and Convertible Premiere Edition
- Gran Turismo, Atlantic, and Pacific concepts
The 2014 Corvette Stingray was the most powerful standard Corvette model ever, with an SAE-certified 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 460 lb.-ft. of torque (624 Nm) – and 460 horsepower (343 kW) and 465 lb.-ft. (630 Nm) with the available performance exhaust system. It is also the most capable standard Corvette ever, with Z51 package models are able to accelerate from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds, run the quarter-mile in 12 seconds at 119 mph, and achieve 1.03g in cornering grip and stop from 60 mph in 107 feet.
The C7 in 2015
The 2015 C7 model enjoyed the optional extra of having an eight-speed automatic transmission for all models.
A PDR (performance data recorder) was a notable equipment addition to vehicles. The PDR featured a 720p HD camera, and self-contained telemetry, all features that contributed toward the PDR being viewed as a welcome addition to the Corvette’s specs.
Corvette’s C7 of 2015 offered the following:
- Z06 and Z07 Performance Package
- Z06 Convertible
- Corvette Stingray Atlantic Design Package
- Corvette Stingray Pacific Design Package
- Corvette C7.R
The last model in this list was a racing version of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and featured a 5.5 liter naturally aspirated V8 engine, with 491 horsepower and modified suspension.
The C7 in 2016
The Corvette C7 of 2016 experienced more changes than any other vehicle in the series over the years.
2016 saw the addition of a new color, Admiral Blue. In total, only 336 total C7 Corvettes were made in this color.
This new color was created to supersede and phase out the color, Laguna blue. Apart from Laguna Blue, Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic, Night Race Blue, and Shark Gray were also removed.
These C7 editions were released in 2016, making this one of Chevrolet’s most famed years:
- Twilight Blue Design Package ZLD
- Spice Red Design Package ZLE
- Jet Black Sueded Design Package ZLG
- Z06 C7.R Edition ZCR
Special design packages were revised extensively. They also included different options that specifically catered for the Z06 and Stingray models.
The C7 in 2017
2017 saw little to no changes for the Corvette C7 in terms of specs and features. Production numbers for the year averaged out to 32,782 C7s being produced by the company.
The Grand Sport model made its debut in 2017. Featuring a mix of stylings from the Z51, Z06, and the Stingray, the Grand Sport used components and body stylings in a way that made the Grand Sport feel like a Corvette Z06 that had been refined.
The 2017 Grand Sport featured the following:
- Brand new wheel design with 19×10 front wheels and 20×12 inch rear wheels
- Brembo brake system
- Ride control as standard
- Pilot Super Sport summer tires by Michelin
- LT1 V8 engine producing 460 horsepower with performance active exhaust system
- Seven-speed manual transmission with rev-match
- Optional Z07 package with different tires and brakes
The Grand Sport featured a few package options too. These were as follows:
- Heritage Package – The Heritage Package, code-named Z15, included various design features not present in the standard package; it also came in six available colors
- Grand Sport Collector Edition – The Collector’s Edition, code-named Z25, was part of a limited vehicle production run; a total of a thousand of these vehicles were produced
From the thousand that were made, eight hundred and fifty were released in the American market. This collector’s edition featured improvements that were mainly aesthetic as opposed to performance-based. One such example of these additions was a specially designed interior.
The C7 in 2018
In late June of 2017, the 2018 model of the C7 began production. Additionally, the 2018 C7 model year saw the continuation of the Stingray, Grand Sport, and Z06 models.
In total for 2018, Chevy sold 9,686 Corvette models. This disappointedly low level of sales was blamed on a short and rushed production time.
Nothing significant was changed during this year, but there was yet another special edition in the Z30 Edition.
The limited-edition Z30 was made to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the company and the Corvette. It featured the following:
- New color option of Ceramic Matrix Gray
- Convertible and coupe body styles of the Grand Sport 3LT trim
The majority of the Z30s features were cosmetic more than anything.
2019: Final Model Year
After much deliberation, General Motors finally announced that 2019 would be the last model year for the C7.
2019 also saw Chevy announce the ZR1 to its range of vehicles.
Originally the ZR1 was only revealed as a coupe, but a convertible version was eventually revealed as well.
The ZR1 featured the following design elements:
- Supercharged V8 engine
- 755 horsepower
- 715 pound-feet of torque
The ZR1 came in two options:
- Seven-speed manual transmission
- Eight-speed automatic
Adding more distinguishable value to the 2019 ZR1 was the fact that it, unlike other Corvettes, heralded a unique carbon fiber bodywork aimed at providing more cooling to the car’s systems, plus a large rear spoiler.
The ZR1’s aero package was designed in conjunction with Pratt & Miller’s Corvette racing team in wind tunnels in order to reduce the excess drag, as well as an improved exhaust system and a new front underbody spoiler in order to balance out the excess drag. Other improvements include an active exhaust system and a new crankshaft, which can all help the car reach a top speed of 214.88 mph with the low rear wing.
Other upgrades included:
- Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes
- Unique exhaust system
- Unique wheels
Also in 2019, a special edition was released in this model year called the Driver’s Edition of the Corvette Grand Sport. It included driver-chosen paint schemes.
The final seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette auctioned for a record-breaking 2.7 million dollars benefiting Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation at the Barrett Jackson auction. The last-ever C7 production model was a black Z06 coupe and auctioned off in the summer of 2019.
How many C7s were made?
- 2014 Corvette -37,288 Total Production Number
- 2015 Corvette -34,240 Total Production Number
- 2016 Corvette -40,689 Total Production Number
- 2017 Corvette – 32,782 Total Production Number
- 2018 Corvette – 9,686 Total Production Number
- 2019 Corvette – 34,822 Total Production Number
189,507 Total C7 Corvettes were manufactured.
Legend of the Road
As you can see, 2014 to 2019 was a truly transformative time for the Corvette C7. It’s clear to see why the C7 is such a coveted part of Corvette history.
For more Corvette articles, check out our Recent Blog Posts.
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You can read more about Corvette’s History by generation. Check out these Corvette overviews:
- Chevrolet Corvette C1 Overview
- Chevrolet Corvette C2 Overview
- Chevrolet Corvette C3 Overview
- Chevrolet Corvette C4 Overview
- Chevrolet Corvette C5 Overview
- Chevrolet Corvette C6 Overview
- Chevrolet Corvette C7 Overview