With limited production due to the fact that they were all hand built and assembled, the 1953 Corvette, at 300 produced, is the rarest and most sought after year. With few changes except for color choices and production numbers, the 1954 is the last Corvette to have a 6 cylinder engine. In 1955 a milestone was made in Corvette history. It was the introduction of the first V-8 Corvette. With GM almost dropping the underpowered "Blue Flame" in-line 6 Corvette, this was like a new beginning for the car. The easiest way to differentiate the 1955 is the "V" in Corvette is enlarged and gold colored signifying the V-8 engine under the hood.
In 1956 a new body was designed for the car which changed it from a country club style sports car to a true American hot rod. One noteworthy addition of optional fuel injection in mid-1957 (also available on Chevrolet Bel Air). Fuel injection first saw regular use on a gasoline engine two years prior on the Mercedes-Benz 300SL "gullwing" roadster. Although the Corvette's GM-Rochester injection used a constant flow system as opposed to the diesel style nozzle metering system of the Mercedes', it nevertheless produced about 290 hp (216 kW) (gross). The number was listed by Chevrolet's advertising agency for the 283 hp/283in³ (4.6L) "one hp per cubic inch" slogan, making it one of the first mass-produced engines in history to reach 1 hp/in³. Other early options included power windows (1956), hydraulically operated power convertible top (1956), four speed manual transmission (late 1957), and heavy duty brakes and suspension (1957).
The 1958 Corvette saw another body freshening and more options available. This year had the most exterior chrome and was the heaviest of the C-1s. From its quad headlights and hood louvers to its twin trunk spars and bumper exiting exhaust, it was the flashiest Corvette ever built. 1959-60 saw little changes except ever decreasing chrome and increasing HP. For 1961 a complete change to the rear of the car was made, with hints of things to come. It had a "boat tail" rear with the first year to have 4 tail lights. In 1962, the GM 283 small block was enlarged to 327 CID (5.4 L) and produced a maximum of 360 hp (268 kW) making it the fastest of the C-1s and by now almost completely devoid of chrome.
1962 was the last year for many things: Curved windshield, solid rear axle, convertible only, 4 wheel drum brakes, open headlights only brought back for the C-6, A trunk, until 1998
327 V8 250 HP
327 V8 300 HP
327 V8 340 HP
327 (fuel injected) V8 360 HP
327/370: 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, ¼ mile in 14.9 seconds