The sixth generation of Chevrolet Corvette, known to the Corvette faithful as the C6, made its debut with the 2005 model year, and is due for replacement in 2014. From the onset, the C6 was designed to be “leaner and meaner,” in the words of Corvette product manager Harlan Charles.

Externally, the C6 brought back exposed headlights, a Corvette styling element last seen in 1962, on the C1 Corvette. While the change improved the car’s after-dark appearance, it also helped to make the C6 more aerodynamic and lighter in weight than its C5 predecessor.

The 2006 Z06 debuted a new aluminum frame and carbon fiber body panels, and helped pave the way for the all-conquering Corvette ZR1. With 638 horsepower under the hood, the ZR1 (which was developed under the code name “Blue Devil”) has a top speed of 205 mph, making it the fastest production Corvette ever built.

To commemorate the Corvette’s 60th anniversary in 2013, and to mark the end of C6 production, Chevrolet has built a limited run of Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition cars, powered by the same 7-liter (roughly 427 cubic inch), 505-horsepower V-8 used in Z06 models (which had previously been built only in coupe form).

The C7 Corvette, expected to debut in 2013 as a 2014 model, promises to be the highest-performance Corvette ever built, and we can’t wait to get one out on the track. Like the C6, we expect it will be be fast but forgiving, and and absolute joy to drive at speed.