Top 10 Worst Corvettes of All Time

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,145
edited May 2015 in Chevrolet
imageTop 10 Worst Corvettes of All Time

The Chevrolet Corvette may be an American icon, but that doesn't mean every version was great. Here are 10 Corvettes that truly stunk.

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Comments

  • saintvipersaintviper Member Posts: 177
    While 165hp is pathetic for a Corvette, 7.7 seconds 0-60 actually seems pretty good for such a small amount of power and probably quite good in it's day.
  • ahightowerahightower TXMember Posts: 539
    Have to disagree on the all white '88... of course I may be biased because I was nine years old and in love.
  • stovt001_stovt001_ Member Posts: 799
    You could free up room to add more C3s by making a second "Ten Worst Corvettes - Pace Car edition" list. It would only be a challenge to narrow it down to the 10 worst pace car editions.
  • zr1manzr1man Member Posts: 19
    Well I guess IL is finally gone. I went to their site and was bounced over here to Edmund's.

    As far as the 10 worst Vettes are concerned, I do not believe there can be a "worst Corvette." True that some are better than others, like my 2010 ZR1 is the best of all. But to say some are worst is not accurate. Some just are not good as others, but all Vettes are good cars.

    Three days to the new C7! Isn't life grand.
  • ttopjohnttopjohn Member Posts: 25
    It's a tribute to the Corvette that 3 of John Pearley Huffman's "10 Worst" are on my personal wish list - the B2K (not fragile after the running fixes and updates that they all have had for 20 years now), the 98 Pace Car (purple and yellow = ultimate LSU tailgating Corvette), the 88 Anniversary (love the period white on white on white, and the blacked out roof gives the jet fighter canopy look)
  • usa1usa1 Member Posts: 11
    I find it funny that four of the cars only sin to get your list was the paint job.
  • drivinrtdrivinrt Member Posts: 5
    JPH,
    If I could and had the money back then, I still would have a '74-'80 Corvette. When I was a little kid these were cool cars. That's why people bought these cars. My fav post-smog C3 was the 1978 pace car replica.
  • lgafflgaff Member Posts: 1
    John, While I am not sure how the 87 Callaway TT fits. I own 3 90s ZR-1s and I added a Callaway to my collection due to its special place in history. The Callway is far from fragile; and I don't know of many that are not on the road due to mech failure. The stock TPI block was tough and easily ran over 100K miles. Callaway Reworked this block to be stronger with better internals. The turbo system is similiar to todays cars...so I am not sure where you arrived at your conclusion. Talk to any person who worked in that era and the Callaway TT is considered an engineering marvel. Lets not forget Callaway was going 250+ MPH in a street can lonmg before Bugatti. Enjoy:
  • surfnsun1surfnsun1 Member Posts: 1
    Im guessing the author of this article actually knows very little about the Callaway or the 88 35th Anniversary car.

    The Callaways are fast even by today's standards and a low mile 88 anniversary car with manual transmission will sell in the mid $20k range.
  • 1969gtx1969gtx Member Posts: 1
    writer is just a corvette hater & a moron just some troll that wises he could afford a vette but never will
  • driven_it_alldriven_it_all Member Posts: 1
    Even the worst Corvette is still a good car and holds value well.

    What other classic muscle car (that's been around a while) can make the same claim
  • anemerikananemerikan Member Posts: 1
    These criticisms of the Corvettes seem based on nothing more than personal preferences by someone who does not like Corvettes. Some of the items mentioned have some warrant but most of them are simply a matter of personal taste. Who says everyone agrees with John Huffmans superior insight just because he says it? So it is just silliness to read this and take seriously.
  • jbh30319jbh30319 Member Posts: 1
    I'm getting a little sick of reading articles that reference Corvettes and Porsches of the 1980s with 200-hp as anemic. You have to remember that this was during the time when a Honda Accord had 85 - 110 hp -- or even the small block V8s in a full size Chevy, Olds or Lincoln were 140-150 hp. In the context of their time, these were fast cars (I know because I drove my fathers 1984 Corvette with 205 hp). I suppose my frustration lies in a lack of research or an ability to understand something in the context of its time -- and appreciate it for what it is, versus compare it to something modern. It's kind of ignorant.
  • frizzle_fryfrizzle_fry Member Posts: 1
    I know this article is a little dated, but it was just forwarded to me by a friend because it features one of my cars - he thought I'd find it interesting.

    I have to say, as the owner of an '82 Collectors Edition I think its description in this article isn't very accurate. I won't deny that my car probably belongs on this list, but it doesn't belong here for the listed reasons.

    The pinstriping, fade graphics, wheels and interior get me compliments from 'vette guys and casual observers alike. Even people who don't care for C3s (or "disco vettes") have said that the decals and drag-spoiler rear bumper really make the lines of the body pop more than others, helped by the metallic flake silver beige paintjob. It's also the only 'vette to ever have leather door and central panels which are far nicer than the plastic and carpet found in those which came before and after.

    If you want to take a jab at the '82 you're not wrong that 200hp is on the low side, and that the lack of manual models was probably a mistake, but the real issue lies in the Crossfire fuel injection system. These things are a pain... I don't believe there's a factory crossfire car out there that isn't finicky, be it a 'vette, camaro or firebird. Maybe 1 in 10 is reliable enough to be a daily driver. This isn't because it's an inherently bad system, more because it wasn't around long enough for anyone to really get familiar with it, and because people think of it more like a modern injected vehicle than a carbureted vehicle in terms of reliability and maintenance.

    A few things the 82 CE had going for it... Exceptional fuel efficiency due to the transmission and injection system, built "gasohol friendly" meaning todays 10-20% ethanol and methanol fuel is not a problem, back hatch makes the 'trunk' space useable unlike most C3s, every amenity of modern vehicles (power seats/windows/mirrors/locks, AC and heat, leather everything)

    Just a few thoughts, otherwise a great read.
  • v8vette84v8vette84 Member Posts: 1
    Sounds like this article was written by a Ford fanboy who got his butt kicked by a Corvette while out driving his cool foxbody mustang..... This is a pointless article that shows how ignorant the writer is. Most of the reasons you use to call these cars terrible are terrible! The Callaway didn't hold together well? HA! There were how many ordered again? About 500? 99% of them were probably put into collections and not even driven! How can you call them unreliable? That's ignorance at its best! Try getting a little more information about a topic before you write a stupid article. I'm not even going to touch the rest of the article... I'm sure it's plagued with your opinions too.....
  • bigblockc3bigblockc3 Jersey Shore, NJMember Posts: 121
    To make critical reviews and commentary based on the cultural design and automotive technology of today is perfectly justified. However, to use the biased of the 21rst Century to evaluate and critique the automotive design and production of the previous century is short of complete incompetence. Any such critique of any era classic must include a commentary to address the era and all factors which led to its production. I know nothing of this J. P. Huffman; However, I do question his motives? Does he seek to manipulate this segment of classic car market for self gain? In his top ten Corvettes, he shows the money potential of the Barrett-Jackson Auction? Does he seek to temporarily depreciate this segment of “lesser” more attainable classics to allow him to purchase at reduced price for profit? It’s hard to say… However, the 1953 Corvette added to “both” his list has one of the strongest demands at auction? A 1953 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster (Chassis Num: E53F001005), sold at RM Auction in 2012 for $445,000. According to Huffman, the “first” production C1 Corvettes were the most problematic and least desired? In Huffman’s own words, “The first Corvettes were, simply and comprehensively, crude…” However, a 1953 Chevrolet Corvette '#003' (the oldest surviving production Corvette) sold at Barrett-Jackson for 1.1 Million dollars in 2006! Hmmmm… The plot thickens Huffman!
  • wuznmeewuznmee Member Posts: 1
    This “author” lost all credibility by the time I finished reading his title.
  • raltbobraltbob Member Posts: 1
    A weak engine does not make a bad car. It was not GM's fault that the government had recalculated horsepower ratings. The same thing happened to all cars being sold in this country. However instead of the writer concentrating on how many problem areas were being reported (which would be actual problem areas as reported by owners) they decide to blast a historical piece of moving art! Yes the '53s had problems but then it was also a GM experiment, and yet they do fetch a healthy sum of cash (similar to Porsche's Speedster, a bad car that is now commanding close to a million dollars at auction). Definitely a very well misinformed writer!
  • caddyman1975caddyman1975 Member Posts: 1
    QUOTE: - ".....the base 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) small-block V8 was still gross rated at 250 hp. But when the 1975 Corvette came along, the big block was gone and the base "ZQ3" 350 had lost a half point of compression and gained a catalytic converter, which dropped its output to a paltry 165 hp."

    That 165 is a net figure. Half a point of CR and a cat doesn't take 85hp out. Not even close. Just like all those pre-'71 "muscle cars" never cam close to producing the claimed 350-400hp, not once the engines were in the cars anyway.
  • fl_799fl_799 Member Posts: 1
    Everything needs to be placed into perspective. All manufacturers who sold cars in the US after 1975 ran into the same horsepower drops as the Corvette. It was an agonizing time. When the Corvette L98 hit 240-245HP and the 5.0 Mustangs were hitting 225HP, it was indeed big news since both of these cars ran as well as their 60's counterparts. These Corvettes need to be celebrated because the model survived tough times.
  • mikeyoung00mikeyoung00 Member Posts: 1
    No. Many of these were either ugly versions of decent models or made during that period in the mid to late 70s and early 80s when pretty much every car sold in America was underpowered junk, strangled by emissions regs that the industry was still trying to figure out. You don't have to compare them to "modern" cars. Compare them to their counterparts from the late 80s on or from the sixties to early seventies and they will clearly look pitiful.

    The good news is most of the problems, including lack of power, are easy to fix on many 80s slow-mobiles. But the writer isn't talking about modified versions. He is talking about the weak sauce that came from the factory.
  • drjjjjdrjjjj Member Posts: 25
    1975-82 vettes are still good looking, but only as fast as todays honda civic.
  • drjjjjdrjjjj Member Posts: 25
    Appears to be an accurate assessment of the 10 worst! Either too complicated and unreliable or too underpowered and primitive comfort. The new rig sure is a monster for the standard config-probably gets 30 mpg too at 75!
  • will_twill_t Member Posts: 1
    To back the writer up a little bit (and I love Corvettes), a long time ago in a galaxy far away, I had a 71 Rally Sport Camaro with 245 hp that was quick but not super quick. So yea, those Corvette numbers are kinda bad.
  • disco_harveydisco_harvey Member Posts: 1
    I know this article is a little old... But to jbh30319: be fair to the writer. The 1975 Porsche 911 base model had over 230 HP. Pathetic by today's standards, certainly, your point is well made there. But in 1975, all GM could squeeze out of 5.7 liters was 165 HP? That IS pathetic. The cars are beautiful, and today, you can swap in some aluminum heads, and intake, and dual exhausts and be significantly north of 300 HP. GM's response to governmental controls was to strangle and choke existing technology to reduce emissions, and not to do any significant R&D into new technologies. The boat sailed without them on it and it took them 30 years and a bankruptcy to figure it out. So blame the government, blame the UAW, or blame anyone else that makes you feel better. But in my estimation, the blame lies squarely with GM. They saw the regulations coming, took the cheap way out, and paid the price for it. Dearly.
  • geebohgeeboh Member Posts: 1
    I don't agree with some of the Corvettes on this list, but only because there are worse Corvettes that aren't even on the list. Regarding the mid-late 70s Vettes, yes they are horrible but all American cars in that time period were horrible. But there was absolutely no excuse for how pathetic the late 80s C4 was.
  • peter421sdpeter421sd Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2015
    John Huffman probably drives a Toyota and thinks is the best car in the world,i know the type,he probably don't even know that he don't know [non-permissible content removed]!
  • mkriedlermkriedler Member Posts: 1
    Sounds like the person writing this is maybe a little butt hurt that he doesnt own a Corvette and therefore feels that they have to cry a little to be able to sleep at night. The truth is that ALL car models suffered through most of this time frame and were just as prone to having weak engines as the Vette was. If the Vette was this bad it wouldnt have sold as many as it has and wouldnt still be one of the most Iconic and sought after American made cars to date and in Automotive history. My L48 may be a weak lump to some but its my dream car and the dream car of many others too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I'd agree with about 3 of these choices. The rest are kind of cheap shots and too subjective. Certainly the early C4s had enormous teething problems and need to be on this list. As for putting the '58 Corvette on this list--ever check out current prices of a '58 fuelie? The market doesn't think they're the worst, that's for sure!
  • bruceg2016bruceg2016 Member Posts: 1
    His opinions lack logic, example the 79 and 78 are the same car except the 79 has higher hp but he targets the 79 because of paint scheme, also the 79 has higher hp than the 76,77. Why is he targeting the 79? He is clearly a hater, why else would you make such a negative list. More evidence to support his hate is when talking about the 79 quote "Chevy sold a scandalous 53,807 Corvettes during the 1979 model year". Clearly people liked the car why would they buy, this seems to really bother him that they sold so many that he calls it scandalous lol.
  • bobs76stingraybobs76stingray Rockwood,TNMember Posts: 1
    I have to agree that Chevrolet should be extremely ashamed to have ever put the Corvette name on such a slap in the face to Americas Sports car.Being the owner of a 76 Stingray that was in horrible condition when I bought it from bubba and his horrible mechanical attempts,atleast allowed me to build my Stingray the way I felt Chevrolet should have built the car in 76.Not taking into account the non-existance of the High performance things we can buy today and the very bad laws they had to follow for emissions,ect. I built my Vette with a new HP full Roller 383 Stroker,Tremic 5 speed,373 rear end and all the wonderful things a man,or woman can do now days to any old car they have a fancy for.I'm not just picking out any year of the C3's,They were just a victim of the times they were built in.Chevrolet was a victim of the government regulations just as the owners were the victims of Chevrolet.Even with all the flaws,In my opinion,I think the C3 Vettes were the most beautiful of all the Vettes ever made.And what happened in the times of the C3 life span were just that,the times and victims of such times.Now we can take these cars and build them the way we each feel they should be for each of us.You want a big block with more horsepower then we will ever use,or as they were when they rolled of the assembly line from 68-82.With getting all this off my chest,I feel as a lot of us do,and all the things we can now say about how bad they were then,The C3 Corvette is a time in history when Chevrolet made the most beautiful Vettes they will ever put on the road.But like I said,This is just my opinion.

  • l481979l481979 Member Posts: 2
    If the ''author'' has never owned a Corvette, he really can't comment. I have owned four and still own one. Each Corvette built is always ahead, mechanically and design speaking, of most any other vehicle produced at that time. Vehicles from different decades or even one year to the other simply cannot be compared. Every vehicle made has problems and the Corvette is not immune. Actually, the author wanted to introduce Edmund's in a way that many would respond who ordinarily might just read the article and move on (myself included). Remember to wave.
  • l481979l481979 Member Posts: 2
    To John Pearley Huffman. Just adding to an old thread that I hope at least one person from Edmunds reads. Exactly what is the point of this article? The article really just reinforces a matter of personal preference. I only recently listened to a renowned and successful automotive engineer who had some very interesting thoughts similar to your comments about ''worst cars''. He began by stating never under any circumstances buy an Italian or exotic car. Then came the top 5 worst sportscars. #1-Mercedes SJ600. #2-Pontiac Solstice. #3-Audi S5. #4-2013, 2014 Dodge Challenger. #5-Porsche 911 M96 or any. Don't see ANY Corvettes in this list. I would really be interested as well to know what vehicle you drive. Corvettes, remember to wave.
  • Markus3308Markus3308 New Orleans Member Posts: 2
    I just bought a 78 for 4 grand and it’s nothing shy off what people paying 20 grand for I like too know more about this car if any body wants too comment on it
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    That year was the first Corvette re-style since 1968. There were new interior options, glass T-tops, power antenna, and you could still get the L-82 engine option.

    Downside? The rear spoiler sort of melts with age, some parts like trim are hard to find.

    They made a lot of these cars and so they aren't so valuable--still, it seems like you got a good buy. Fair to Good condition is around $5K--$10K in today's market.
  • Markus3308Markus3308 New Orleans Member Posts: 2
    Ok good that’s all good info but there a few around my house I live in New Orleans and the price are throw the roof that I’m seeing so think ur right guess all depends on who will pay what ..
  • jk17jk17 CanadaMember Posts: 1
    This guy, John Pearley Huffman, the fall guy is NUTS! Think you just fell off the turnup truck buddy. Any corvette would be nice to own; just because you are so critical of them does not give you the licence to bash them in the manner that you do. It is insulting. What [non-permissible content removed] do you drve A..hole? Where do you get your fake facts from looser? Let me guess, you don't own one; are envious of those that have one; and one day maybe I can afford one. Really, the '79 is in your worst list!!
  • SonnyGTASonnyGTA South JerseyMember Posts: 1
    I just read this article now....I agree with the pace car colors....crazy. But you basically don't like the styling on a lot of these cars. What I noticed WASNT there....C5!! The C5 is STILL (2019) one of the greatest looking cars on the road today. C6 got rid of the pop up headlights...which to me...looks like someone put some dumb [non-permissible content removed] conversion kit in them. The C5 looks mean from all angles and performs like a MF'R! Ok, I may be slightly biased because I own a 2001 6 speed.....but I still think I'm right! GOOOO TRUMP!!
  • VettedVetted 'MericaMember Posts: 2
    I like the C4s, the first "Modern" Corvette... I saw a mint condition 95'ish convertible a few days ago at a local Starbucks, and thought the style still looked modern and classy; especially when compared to the much newer Ferrari California that was sitting next to it; sad when you figure the Corvette can be had for $200,000.00 LESS than the Ferrari, and they both will get you a hefty speeding ticket.
  • Littlepapa1Littlepapa1 Cleveland, OhioMember Posts: 2
    You forgot 1968. Bob Ruth used to own the best corvette repair shop in Cleveland, Ohio and did everything from basic repairs to complete frame-off restorations of about every C1, C2 and C3 Corvette ever made over the years before he retired, and used to work on my 1974 coupe back in the late 1980's. Bob told me once that the 1968 models were by far the biggest roaches to avoid...everything down to the electrical systems were terrible and failure-prone. Most people don't know, but GM had to completely re-design a lot of stuf for 1969, even though 1968 and 1969 look fairily similar.
  • Littlepapa1Littlepapa1 Cleveland, OhioMember Posts: 2
    But not to be overly critical, that 1974 coupe I once owned is still the only car I truly miss and love even today, (squeaky body-structure and all), and it was a FUN car to drive, yet a complete suspension rebuild all-around (with fiberglass rear monoleaf spring and a set of goodyear gatorback VR tires) is all i ever had modified on it...it was still a blast to drive! I still think the C3 series was the coolest-looking and most radically-different look compared to most other typical cars of that era. I personally never cared for the looks starting with C4/C5 (a bit boring and box-like to my taste, but that's just my own view) but I really like the newer designs with those slanted tail-lights (did that start with C6 or C7 ??) and think they are starting to look really cool again finally, but there's also a lot of flashy-looking junk on the roads now compared to the 1970's. All Corvettes are nice cars, and more than most people will ever have...I would like another one again somesay, anyone got one of these "junk" models to donate me???
  • BMF1975BMF1975 FloridaMember Posts: 1
    How could you ever forget about the 84 vette? The crossfire injection was the worst and caused more driveability problems than you could shake a stick at.
  • ZacharyHolt_427ZacharyHolt_427 New MexicoMember Posts: 3
    Back in '76 when returning from a remote assignment during my Air Force years, I bought a Flame Orange 75 coupe with the L-48 engine. Fortunately, I lived in a state that did not perform emissions tests so I replaced the single catalytic converter exhaust with a standard dual exhaust for a 74 model. That restored the performance to the 74 level although a 15.1 quarter was not fast, it was better than almost all 75 US cars at the time. I must continuously point out what so many articles by supposedly "knowledgeable" automotive writers seem to forget... the power ratings were significantly changed starting with the '72 model. The new net horsepower ratings were approximately 30% below the previous gross power ratings. The 76 L-48 was virtually identical with the same exhaust but rated at 180 net hp. Changing from the single exhaust and compensating for the new rating would put the '75 at around 255 hp. Today I have purchased another '75 Flame Orange coupe as a reminder of my lost youth. Go figure.

    I own four additional Corvettes including a 505 hp Z06.
  • ZacharyHolt_427ZacharyHolt_427 New MexicoMember Posts: 3

    I have to agree that Chevrolet should be extremely ashamed to have ever put the Corvette name on such a slap in the face to Americas Sports car.Being the owner of a 76 Stingray that was in horrible condition when I bought it from bubba and his horrible mechanical attempts,atleast allowed me to build my Stingray the way I felt Chevrolet should have built the car in 76.Not taking into account the non-existance of the High performance things we can buy today and the very bad laws they had to follow for emissions,ect. I built my Vette with a new HP full Roller 383 Stroker,Tremic 5 speed,373 rear end and all the wonderful things a man,or woman can do now days to any old car they have a fancy for.I'm not just picking out any year of the C3's,They were just a victim of the times they were built in.Chevrolet was a victim of the government regulations just as the owners were the victims of Chevrolet.Even with all the flaws,In my opinion,I think the C3 Vettes were the most beautiful of all the Vettes ever made.And what happened in the times of the C3 life span were just that,the times and victims of such times.Now we can take these cars and build them the way we each feel they should be for each of us.You want a big block with more horsepower then we will ever use,or as they were when they rolled of the assembly line from 68-82.With getting all this off my chest,I feel as a lot of us do,and all the things we can now say about how bad they were then,The C3 Corvette is a time in history when Chevrolet made the most beautiful Vettes they will ever put on the road.But like I said,This is just my opinion.


    I have owned 14 Corvettes and still have five of them. I liked my 76 four speed...even more so after installing a 66 427 425 hp engine.

    Zachary
  • ZacharyHolt_427ZacharyHolt_427 New MexicoMember Posts: 3

    His opinions lack logic, example the 79 and 78 are the same car except the 79 has higher hp but he targets the 79 because of paint scheme, also the 79 has higher hp than the 76,77. Why is he targeting the 79? He is clearly a hater, why else would you make such a negative list. More evidence to support his hate is when talking about the 79 quote "Chevy sold a scandalous 53,807 Corvettes during the 1979 model year". Clearly people liked the car why would they buy, this seems to really bother him that they sold so many that he calls it scandalous lol.

    The 350 L-48 and 350 L-82 engines were almost identical form 73 through 80. The horsepower ratings were shuffled from year to year but otherwise the engines did not change very much. The single catalytic exhaust systems did not change very much from 75 through 82. The 75 had the lowest net power rating but performed similarly to the 76 through 79 cars. I feel that Chevrolet was very conservative with the power rating in 75. The 80 cars had similar engines but a "crash" weight reduction reduced the weight by 200 pounds; therefore, improving performance a bit.
  • yoyo_isfyeyoyo_isfye Member Posts: 1
    this is a dumb [non-permissible content removed] person and should not be ranking cars at all. Can't even give a half good reason on why they think the car is bad. he dislikes the 1988 and the only reason is that it is all white. Stupid
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