Corvettes are best known for their speed. Since 1953, Chevrolet has been making this affordable sports car. Some Corvette enthusiasts say that since '53, Chevy has never wavered on power or performance. Aside from the engine, the Corvette's transmission has a lot to do with the way the vehicle performs and responds. The most popular transmission in a Corvette is the manual transmission because the driver can control when he shifts. However, automatic transmissions have become popular in Corvettes, as well. They perform like their manual transmission counterparts and make the vehicle easier to operate.
The first Corvettes were manufactured around 1953 in Flint, Michigan. At that time, the cars came equipped with Powerglide automatic transmissions. Unlike the six-speed transmissions of today, the first auto transmissions were only two-speed. By 1955, Corvette was being produced with a three-speed automatic transmission. However, automatic transmissions would be short-lived. By the time Chevrolet started manufacturing Corvettes in the 1960s, manual transmissions were all the rage in these cars. Automatic transmissions would not become comparable for at least another 20 years.
A four-speed automatic transmission became available in the late 1980s, but it was not nearly as popular as the manual option.
Manual vs. Automatic
Corvettes still come standard with a six-speed manual transmission. However, there are Corvette enthusiasts who do not know how to drive a manual transmission. And then there are those who find that driving an automatic is much easier, especially if they frequently drive in areas with a lot of stop-and-go traffic.
The Corvette's automatic transmission performs just like the manual version, except, of course, there is no need to manually shift gears. One difference in the Corvette's automatic transmission, however, is that it comes equipped with paddle-shift capability. This means that the car has an automatic transmission; however, if you prefer a manual transmission, you can switch over to paddle shifting and shift the gears manually.
The popularity of automatic transmission Corvettes has increased. According to Corvette production reports, about two-thirds of the coupe model and three-fourths of the convertible model are being sold with automatic transmission. This is a stark comparison to the four-speed version, which tended to have problems with the gearbox overheating.
Shifting Made Easy
The paddle-shift option of the automatic transmission literally lets you shift gears with your fingertips. There is no need to grasp the gear shifter and push it into gear. All you do is grasp the little paddle that's attached to the back of the steering spoke on the right, if you want to shift up. To shift down, grasp the paddle on the left. Both can be maneuvered with just your fingertips.
The automatic transmission is an option that can be purchased when ordering a new Corvette. The price to have an automatic transmission runs about $1,300. However, considering the total price of a Corvette, this seems like a small price to pay for convenience. With all the options that a Corvette has, the final sticker price can range from $53,000 to $60,000, depending on how loaded the car is.
- Photo Credit www.autospies.com
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