In 2003, Chevrolet's Corvette celebrated its 50th birthday by barely slowing down to blow out the candles. Why dilly-dally when even better times lay ahead? Two years later, Chief Engineer David Hill's team took what was already America's supreme performance machine and transformed it into one of the planet's greatest. Standard performance now qualified as downright surreal: 0-60 in 4.2 seconds and a top end of 186 miles per hour. What a long, strange trip it's been. Nearly cancelled a few years after its birth, rumored near death or dilution more than one time since, Chevy's fantastic, plastic two-seater is rolling on more confidently than ever, this after six distinct generations of development. Code names for those generations came into vogue during the radically redesigned 1997 Corvette's long haul to market after Chevrolet people let it be known that this all-new platform was identified in-house by the simple "C5" designation. It was only logical to retroactively label...

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