Eight Special-Edition Corvettes You Might Not Remember

These limited-edition Vettes run from C3 through C6.

Special-edition cars have always been a great way for automakers to earn a few extra bucks on the sentimentality of their enthusiast customers. That's no different for Chevrolet and its Corvette, a model that garners more than a little enthusiasm from countless owners. Many special-edition packages tend to offer more show than go, and while that's certainly the case with various Corvette special editions, there have also been several that back up their looks with a little more performance to boot. Here, we present eight special-edition Corvette models through the years, each with its own list of special features. Do you wish any were parked in your garage?

1978 Silver Anniversary

You have to go back pretty far to find the first Corvette that could rightly be called a "special edition," and the 1978 C3-generation Corvette Silver Anniversary model earns a spot on this list for that distinction. While there were some very rare big-block engine options and optional equipment packages available well before '78, none of those were marketed as special-edition models. By 1978, the EPA had definitely had its way with the Corvette, and while it still boasted a 350-cubic-inch V-8 up front, power for the base engine was just 185 horsepower (175 in California-emissions trim) or 220 with the uprated L82 optional engine. While every '79 Corvette had 25th anniversary badges, Anniversary Edition models featured a two-tone silver over charcoal paint scheme. Some 15,283 1978 Anniversary Editions were sold.

1986 Indy 500 Pace Car Convertible

It's strange to think of now, but for about a decade between 1975 and 1986, America's Sports Car was only offered as a coupe. Starting in the 1960s, General Motors was worried about proposed U.S. vehicle safety regulations that would have effectively banished new droptop cars from existence (Porsche was in the same boat, hence the 911 Targa variant). So when the 1986 Corvette convertible was announced, it was a big deal and what better way to promote it than by pacing the Indy 500 with a bright yellow example? Factory lookalikes in yellow with "Official Pace Car" graphics on the side were suddenly the hottest Corvette going until the ZR-1 model showed up for the 1990 model year.

1995 Grand Sport

By 1995, the C4-generation Corvette was about to be phased out of production in anticipation of the C5. To celebrate (or just to juice the sales numbers a little) Chevy launched a limited-edition Grand Sport model, recalling the original 1963 Corvette Grand Sport race car. While just five or so '63 Grand Sports were built to be used solely for motorsports, Chevy produced 1,000 C4 Grand Sports (190 of which were convertibles) with the uprated LT4 V-8 engine (330 hp and 340 lb-ft) along with Admiral Blue paint with white stripes and red hash marks on the front fender, emulating the '63 model. Wider, 11-inch wheels were similar to those found on the range-topping ZR-1, and Grand Sport coupes got unique extensions on their rear wheel arches to cover the wider rolling stock. Besides these touches, you can identify a Grand Sport by its unique VIN sequence.

1996 Collector's Edition

The '96 Collector's Edition was the end of the line for the C4 Corvette. While the package didn't add much to the base price (it cost $1,250), it also didn't add much to performance. Mostly, this was a cosmetic package with special badging on the front fenders, Sebring Silver paint, five-spoke wheels, and unique seat upholstery. More than 5,400 were built, meaning it's not a particularly rare variant either.

2004 Commemorative Edition

In 2004, Chevy whipped up another special-edition package for Corvette C5 coupes, convertibles, and high-performance Z06s. Dubbed the Commemorative Edition and offered to celebrate the brand's Le Mans efforts, buyers received Le Mans Blue paint (as used on the season's 2004 C5-R race cars), a Shale-colored interior with Corvette cross-flags on the headrests, and special exterior badges. Those ordering Commemorative Edition Z06 models could also spec a lightweight carbon-fiber hood with silver stripes.

2007 Ron Fellows Championship Edition Z06

Just 399 of these special-edition Corvette Z06s were built in honor of Corvette racer Ron Fellows. Today, you may know Fellows through his racing school (which uses Corvettes to teach high-performance driving), but Fellows spent the better part of a decade driving for the Corvette Racing factory program, racking up class wins at Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans. The car includes Arctic White paint, twin red fender stripes that integrate Fellow's race wins and championship years, and red seats. Chevrolet built 399 Ron Fellows Championship Edition Corvettes, with 300 being sold in the U.S.

 

2009 GT1 Championship Edition

Yet another appearance package, the GT1 Championship Edition C6 Corvette was built to commemorate some 70 race wins and eight GT1 class championships in the now defunct American Le Mans Series. Checking the option box for the package gave buyers a choice of Velocity Yellow or black paint (the former being the hue of choice for C6.R race cars) along with graphics that recall the racing program. Other add-ons included chrome wheels, a ZR1-type spoiler, "GT1" emblems all over the interior, and a windshield banner to be installed by the buyer. Coupes, convertibles, and Z06 variants were all eligible for the GT1 treatment and both coupes and Z06 also include the separately available Performance package and exhaust. Special VINs identify these cars and each color and model combination was said to be limited to 100 examples each.

2011 Z06 Carbon Limited Edition

A limited run of just 500 cars, the Z06 Carbon special edition had plenty of actual performance upgrades. The name comes from the included carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes, lifted from the ZR1 of the day, along with staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels in black with Michelin PS2 tires. Magnetic Selective Ride Control was also introduced on the Z06 with this package. A ZR1 spoiler, carbon-fiber hood, carbon rocker panels, enhanced cooling, and two new available colors (Inferno Orange and Supersonic Blue) are also part of the deal. Z06 Carbon interiors were kitted out with blue or orange seat stitching; special emblems on the headrests, sill plates, and steering wheel; and microsuede inserts aplenty. Of the Z06 Carbon, Corvette chief Tadge Juechter claimed that, "For technical tracks like Laguna Seca, the Z06 Carbon could shave up to three seconds off the Z06 lap time." That's our kind of special edition.

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