Everything Chevy Fans Should Know About The C2 Corvette

Corvettes are given their own special designation depending on what generation it is. C1 is the first generation, C2 is the second, and so on. The most recent 'Vette generation is the mid-engine C8. The C2 generation in particular is widely celebrated. Not only is it one of the most iconic American cars to leave the factory, but one of the most well-regarded cars period, joining the ranks of the Ford Mustang, Porsche 911, and Toyota Supra.

The current Corvette is a technological masterpiece, but it doesn't have many options as far as engine choices and possible drivetrain setups go. You really only have the choice of the 6.2-liter V8 and a handful of performance options, as well as a hybrid drivetrain. The C2 is a different beast entirely with its wide array of options.

Regardless of whatever configuration it came in when it rolled off the assembly line, there's one vital fact every GM fan must know about the C2: they are very expensive in 2023. C2s are almost only collector cars nowadays, and you have a better chance of playing in the NBA, winning the lottery, and getting struck by lightning in the same day than finding an inexpensive C2 on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

Firmly a collector's car

It is not at all unusual to pay over six-figures for a C2 and even "low-end" (if you can call it that) examples that have been repainted and have replacement engines are still over $40,000. A 1963 C2 sold for $1,242,500 at Gooding and Company's 2022 Amelia Island auction, and that's not even the most expensive one ever sold. That honor belongs to a 1967 model that reached $2,695,000 at Mecum's 2021 Glendale auction.

In total, Chevy sold 117,966 C2 Corvettes over its life cycle. It was designed by Japanese American Larry Shinoda, the same artist who would later pen the Ford Boss 302 Mustang. During the five model years it was on the market (1963-1967), the C2 came in a variety of specifications, including a few different engine types, differentials, and transmissions. 

For example, during the first year of production, it could be equipped with a total of three different transmissions: a 3 or 4-speed manual, and a 2-speed automatic. The engine was a 327 cubic-inch V8 that came in several different specifications, ranging from 250 to 360 horsepower with different options.

It's the engine that counts

By far, the C2's most pertinent details revolve around the engine. The smallest engine available was the 327 cubic inch small block. Then, Chevy introduced the 'Vette's first big block with the 396 cubic inch powerplant in 1965. In 1966, that was topped with the addition of the 427 cubic inch big-block that threw down 425 horsepower. 

Notably, the "hottest" C2 was the 1967 model year equipped with a 427 cubic-inch "L88". The engine has aluminum heads as opposed to cast-iron, and horsepower was actually underrepresented in an effort to skirt regulations.

In the 60 years since the C2 first arrived at dealerships, it's still regarded as one of the greatest automotive designs to ever come from a major automaker, and Larry Shinoda's impact on the entire motoring world cannot be understated. The car is uniquely American in that it has a huge powerful V8, and that it looks mean and graceful at the same time. There are no "perfect" cars, but the C2 comes close.