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C1-C8 Corvette ¼ Mile Times

Quarter-mile times for every Corvette Model Year

Quarter-mile Times for Every Corvette Model Year

When an apples to apples comparison of vehicle performance is the talk of the day, a car’s given time in the 1/4 mile often becomes the metric with which superiority is measured. Whether launching from the line simultaneously upon the beckoning of the Christmas tree, or making an unaccompanied single pass in an attempt to conquer a standing best time, there is something about that magical 1320 feet that has always lit a fire in the very being of gearheads far and wide.

Many discussions bent on sorting out the matter of whose car is top-dog, have been settled by simply comparing ever valuable ¼ mile figures. In fact, comparing horsepower has, in many cases, gone by the wayside in favor of tossing out short distance times. If you are the proud owner of a performance vehicle, you can likely recite your car’s ¼ mile time nearly as well as your address, phone number, or birth date.

It is fairly safe to say that most Corvette owners probably have a pretty good idea of what their car is capable of turning in the ¼ mile, and many who do not, have probably been forced to field a quandary or two pertaining to these figures in the past. When comparing ¼ mile times across the Corvette’s nearly 70 years worth of production, we are also able to gain retrospect into just how far the iconic American sports car has come in terms of engineering and performance.

The following is a comprehensive list of the Corvette’s ¼ mile times, generation by generation, year by year.

Corvette C1

C1 Corvette Quarter Mile Times (By Year)

In regards to performance, the Corvette’s first generation, especially the first two year’s worth of production, left quite a bit to be desired. The earliest Corvettes featured a 235 cubic-inch, 6-cylinder “Blue Flame” engine that turned out a less than impressive 150 HP. This led to many criticisms over the Corvette’s choice in power plant, and even threatened to be the source of the new line’s undoing, as sales remained mediocre at best.

By 1955, Arkus-Duntov, as well as others on the Corvette design team, had determined that the only way forward was to drastically improve the car’s overall horsepower and performance. This boost came in the form of an all-new 265 cubic-inch, V8 engine that produced 195 HP. Later generational performance advancements came in the form of the 1957 introduction of the 283 cubic-inch, small block V8, which was offered in both carbureted and fuel-injected “fuelie” renditions.

However, it was the 1962 introduction of the 327 cubic-inch, small block V8 that raised the bar to new heights, and brought the Corvette into the American muscle era in a most noteworthy manner. When the 327 V8 was paired with optional fuel injection and 4-speed transmission, the Corvette stood as a formidable opponent on the track.

1967 Corvette C2

C2 Corvette Quarter Mile Times (By Year)

Even though the Corvette’s second generation has been its shortest to date, the Corvette saw a significant leap in overall performance during this time period, offering three different engine options during the span of these years. The 327, 396, and 427 cubic-inch engines were all notable power plants of their day, and served the Corvette well in bolstering its already growing reputation as being at the forefront of innovation, in regards to performance.

Of these three engines, there was little doubt as to which ruled supreme. When the newly engineered 427 cubic-inch engine came onto the scene in 1966, two specific versions were available, neither of which was lacking in power.

The L96, with its hydraulic cam and 10.25:1 compression ratio, was capable of churning out 390 HP. The L72, which stood in a class all its own, featuring larger intake valves, mechanical lifters, a superior Holly four-barrel carburetor, and an aluminum intake manifold, produced 425 horsepower on an 11:1 compression ratio.

Rare L88 427 Corvette vs Olds 442 W30 – 1/4 Mile Drag Race – Old School – Road Test TV ®

Corvette C3

C3 Corvette Quarter Mile Times (By Year)

In regards to performance, the Corvette’s third generation was quite the up and down affair, as total output across the board was dialed back by the mid-1970s. The times in which the C3 came along were ever-changing. Both government oversight and world affairs slowly tightened constraints on the iconic American sports car’s power plants, and overall performance was effectively dictated by these factors.

Federally-sanctioned emission standards came to pass in the early 1970s and universally forced the hands of automakers across the nation. Almost immediately, detuning efforts began in a bid to make all Corvettes compliant, and with this, horsepower ratings and overall output fell as well. Additionally, the gas shortage of the same era led to rising prices and significant difficulty in locating available fuel. This served as the beginning of the end for the gas-guzzling Corvette big-blocks that were prominent in past years.

The C3’s high mark of output and straight-line performance came in the earliest years of the generation, primarily the late 1960s. During this time, big-blocks were still king, and little on the road could hold a candle to the fire-breathing 427 cubic-inch V8 and its monumental 435 HP output. However, by the mid-1970s performance ratings of the Corvette had dropped to the point of barely reaching the 200 HP threshold.

Corvette C4

C4 Corvette Quarter Mile Times (By Year)

The Corvette’s fourth generation can easily be considered a period of recovery in regards to the sports car’s under the hood performance. The year 1984 saw the Corvette still nursing the wounds left by the environmental oversights that had been handed down the decade prior. Though the Corvette would see a return to its performance-minded days of old, progress would be gradual.

The 1984 production year saw the Corvette fitted with a 350 cubic-inch, 205 HP, Crossfire Fuel Injected V8. In 1985, GM introduced the L98, which utilized a Bosch-inspired, Tuned-Port Injection system, thus eliminating the troublesome crossfire system from the year prior. The L98 also ushered in an increase in horsepower. This engine was rated at 230 HP, which came as a 25 HP increase from the previous year.

Despite the L98’s noticeably improved performance, many consumers still demanded more. GM heard these calls and responded accordingly. The 1990 production year saw the release of the ZR-1 Corvette platform, which offered the new and vastly improved LT1 5.7L. V8. The LT1’s release signaled the Corvette’s return to its former glory, offering an immensely improved 375 HP output.

Corvette C5

C5 Corvette Quarter Mile Times (By Year)

The Corvette’s fifth-generation picked up where the previous fourth-generation left off, in regards to the concerted effort that was mounted in a bid to revitalize the Corvette’s under-hood performance that had become quite stagnant in the 1970s. The first major form of progress in this mission was the release of the all-new LS1 engine. This engine not only produced a noteworthy 345 HP but weighed in at nearly 45 pounds less than its LT4 predecessor.

While the LS1 proved to be a cornerstone of the C5 Corvette for the entirety of its eight-year production run, the arrival of the LS6 quickly became one of the most notable engine options offered during the car’s fifth generation. The LS6 was offered only in conjunction with the Z06 package, and came as a subsequent redesign of the LS1. This engine featured higher compression heads, a redesigned intake, and an increased profile camshaft. The combination of these factors yielded a robust 385 HP output.

Corvette C6

C6 Corvette Quarter Mile Times (By Year)

For every improvement in performance that the Corvette had made thus far, the best was yet to come. As design began on what would be the Corvette’s sixth generational rendition, it was universally understood that the C6 would need a power plant equally as groundbreaking as the rest of the car itself.

From this ideology came the birth of the LS6. The LS6 essentially came as a revision of the now legendary LS1 engine. These revisions included an increase in engine displacement to 6.0 Liters, an increase in compression from 10.1:1 to 10.9:1, and redesigned, high flow intake and exhaust manifolds. The all-new LS6 was capable of turning out a more than impressive 400 HP and 500 ft./lbs. of torque at 4400 RPM.

Subsequent engine revisions and performance upgrades continued throughout the C6’s illustrious nine-year run, all of which centered around further evolution of the storied LS engine platform. The 430 HP LS3 engine was introduced in 2008, while the 505 HP LS7 and the 638 HP LS9 were featured in conjunction with Z06 and ZR-1 packages, respectively.

Corvette C7

C7 Corvette Quarter Mile Times (By Year)

Coming into the Corvette’s seventh generation, few could have imagined that there were still performance gains left to be made, as the prior sixth-generation rendition of the iconic American sports car had ended on a strong note with its substantial underhood offerings. However, the introduction of the LT1 proved that there was no limit to what the Corvette is capable of.

The LT1 utilized Direct Injection, Active Fuel Management, and Continuously Variable Valve Timing to usher the Corvette into a new era of performance. At the time of production, the LT1’s otherworldly performance figures made the 2014 year model the most powerful standard Corvette to date. With a published rating of 450 HP and 450 ft./lbs of torque, it is quite easy to see why.

C7 Corvettes – Drag Racing

Corvette C8

C8 Corvette Quarter Mile Times (By Year)

Prior to the 2020 Corvette’s release, there was much speculation as to what power plant this mid-engine Corvette would carry, and how this would equate to overall performance. Although, consumers understood that if history was any indicator, disappointment would not be an issue.

In the end, the eighth-generation Corvette was outfitted with the revolutionary LT2 small-block, V8. This engine was able to do what seemingly appeared impossible, as it bested the previous LT1’s performance statistics. With 495 HP and 470 ft./lbs. of torque, the C8 Corvette is nothing short of beyond belief.