Why you can trust Jerry
Jerry partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more baout how we make money, review our editorial standards, reference out data methodology, or view a list of our partners
Few sports cars are more iconic in terms of their association with classic Americana and freedom on the open road than the red Chevrolet Corvette. One mechanic even found the car so irresistible that he even used his customer's Corvette to partake in some street racing.
Thanks to a used car market that is booming in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some used Corvettes are actually retailing for more than their original purchase price.
So how did this American-made sports car gain its elite status? And why is the 1977 Corvette considered such a classic?
The Chevy Corvette has a rich history in America
According to Car and Driver, the Corvette met with modest enthusiasm at best when it was first introduced to the American public in 1953. Chevy produced 300 of the 150-hp, 3.9-liter six-cylinder engine, two-speed automatic transmission vehicles, and sold only 183 of them.
It wasn't until 1955 when Chevy added a 4.3 liter V-8 with 195 hp and three-speed manual transmission, that things started to take off for the sports car. Now a classic, one 1955 Corvette 265 3-Speed sold for $209,000 in September 2021—the most a Corvette has ever garnered at auction.
A second generation was introduced in the early 1960s, and a third in 1968. The latter begins to resemble what we now think of as the classic Corvette.
Things really took off from there, and the Corvette was solidified as an American classic, spanning eight vehicle generations and still going strong today with the ultra-powerful 2023 Corvette Z06.
The 1977 red T-top Corvette is a great example of a classic car
Car and Driver wrote about the 1977 Corvette soon after it appeared, pointing out both what made it such a treasured classic car and what aspects of its design might not please drivers who were fans of previous, more rugged versions of the car.
The magazine noted that the 1977 Corvette continued a recent trend in which the car was more "buttoned-up" and reserved. It included refinements to the gear shift, and a single combined washer/wiper, high-beam switch, and turn signal lever, for example (which was an unusual feature for American-made vehicles of the time).
While this might have appealed to newer drivers of the car, Car and Driver said, seasoned Corvette owners could find themselves missing "America's heavy-hitter sports car," which was beloved by the masses just the way it was—“wild” and just as impressive on the race track as it was on the streets.
T-top Corvettes were particular classics. Though they weren't technically convertibles, they gave the feeling of open-air driving. Few images strike audiences as more American than a 1977 red Corvette flying down the open roads.
What is a T-top and why did Chevy make them?
As Hobby Car Corvettes explains, a T-top vehicle comes with two detachable roof panels, which, when removed, create an experience similar to what one would get from a convertible. These panels are traditionally made of auto-grade safety glass, but aftermarket painted fiberglass or acrylic options exist.
GM originally introduced the T-top to their Corvettes in 1968 when it was rumored that safety concerns could see convertibles banned. While this never actually happened, the T-top was nonetheless a perfect solution to the potential ban. It could adhere to regulations while still offering a similar result.
Third-generation (C3) Corvettes, in production until 1982, were the only models to feature the T-top. Sales of the early C3 T-tops outperformed the convertible option, which was ultimately retired in 1976.
If you're thinking of buying a Corvette, whether new, classic, or somewhere in between, you'll want to make sure to protect it with the right car insurance.
Jerry is a free app that compares rates from up to 50 top providers in seconds, finding you all the best options without the hassle. Jerry even continues monitoring your policy every six months, so you always know you're getting the best deal out there. In fact, the average Jerry user saves $879 a year on car insurance.