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The Most Stolen Corvette Model Years in the U.S.


Site Administrator
Staff member
Sep 16, 2000
New Hampshire
1990 Corvette ZR-1
From the National Crime Insurance Bureau:

Frank Scafidi

Hot Wheels Classics: Chevrolet Corvette

A Truly Hot Car – More Than One in 10 Stolen Over Past 30 Years

DES PLAINES, Ill., May 14, 2012 – Although racing purists might recognize the Stutz Bearcat or the Mercer Raceabout as America’s first sports cars, there is no question that the Chevrolet Corvette holds the title as America’s oldest, continuously produced sports car.

In this, NICB’s second Hot Wheels Classics report, we look at how the Corvette has fared as a theft target. For a video report on Corvette thefts, click here.

A Little Corvette History

The public saw the Corvette for the first time in January 1953, at the Motorama Show held at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria hotel. It went into full production on June 30, 1953, at the General Motors facility in Flint, Mich. By the end of the year, 300 were produced—all of them white convertibles with red interiors and black soft tops. The price tag was $3,498 with a heater and AM radio as the only options.

In 1954, Corvette production moved to a renovated facility in St. Louis, Mo., where it remained until 1981. That year, Corvette production moved into a new assembly facility at Bowling Green, Ky., where Corvettes continue to roll off the line today.

The first-generation Corvette—C1s as they are known—were manufactured from 1953-1962. Successive generations appeared in 1963 (C2); 1968 (C3); 1984 (C4); 1997 (C5); and in 2005 with the C6. A seventh-generation Corvette is expected sometime next year.

At the 1978 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, Corvette made the first of its 10 appearances as the official Indy 500 Pace Car, an unmatched record on two counts—most appearances as a pace car and most consecutive years pacing the field (2004-2008).

Often compared to more exotic European sports cars, the Corvette has performed well in racing circuits around the globe. However, with the introduction of the supercharged, 620hp ZR-1 in 2009, Corvette has convinced its few remaining skeptics that it can perform on the world racing stage, as well as (and mostly better than) cars three times its price tag.

It’s no surprise then to find Corvette owners doting over their cars and keeping them in showroom condition. But like other items of high value and popular attraction, they get stolen. NICB reviewed Corvette theft data from 1953-2011 and identified 134,731 theft records. However, since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required vehicle identification number (VIN) standardization beginning with the 1981 model year, confidence in pre-1981 records is low due to the inconsistency in reporting protocols and VIN systems. Consequently, only 1981 and later data was used to produce this report.

Thefts vs. Production

During the 30-year period from 1981-2011, a total of 90,427 Corvettes were reported stolen in the United States and Puerto Rico. During that same period, a total of 862,918 Corvettes were produced in the United States. However, from 1953 through the end of the 2011 model year, a total of 1,526,747 Corvettes have been produced. The year with the most U.S. production was 1984 with 51,547. The year with the fewest Corvettes produced was 1953 when just 300 units were built.*

The following graph shows the 10 most stolen Corvette model years for the period 1981-2011.

10 Most Stolen Model Years 1981-2011
Rank Model Year Most StolenTotal Number of Thefts
1 1984 8,554
2 1981 8,262
3 1979 6,399
4 1985 6,348
5 1980 6,331
6 1982 4,565
7 1978 4,129
8 1977 3,983
9 1986 3,525
10 1976 3,036
TOTAL 55,132


As for the top 10 states where most thefts occurred, California leads the nation with 14,002. Of the overall total, 90,427 thefts, 63,409 of them—70 percent—occurred in the top 10 states.

Top 10 Theft States 1981-2011
Rank StateTotal Thefts
1 California 14,002
2 Florida 8,731
3 Texas 8,198
4 New York 7,926
5 Michigan 5,467
6 New Jersey 5,287
7 Illinois 4,092
8 Massachusetts 3,821
9 Ohio 3,078
10 Missouri 2,807
TOTAL 63,409


The complete Corvette theft data tables are available here.

At NICB, we have been in the business of identifying and recovering stolen vehicles since 1912. Our expertise has been sought by law enforcement agencies all over the nation to assist with major auto theft investigations. Frequently, NICB recovers stolen vehicles that have long since been forgotten—except by their owners.

Whether or not you own a classic 1963 split-window or a 2012 Centennial Edition ZR-1 Corvette, take steps to protect your vehicle from theft. Although vehicle thefts have been declining in recent years, if it happens to you it can be financially devastating and just an all-around hassle. NICB urges motorists to follow its “layered approach” to auto theft prevention. By employing these simple, low-cost suggestions, people can make their vehicles less attractive to thieves.

Anyone with information concerning vehicle theft and insurance fraud can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or by visiting our website at www.nicb.org. Or, iPhone or iPad users can download the NICB Fraud Tips app to make it easy to quickly send a tip and get a response.

* All Corvette production figures provided courtesy of Corvette Black Book, Copyright, 2012 Michael Bruce Associates, Inc., www.corvetteblackbook.com. Special thanks to the National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, Ky., for historical Corvette information, www.corvettemuseum.org.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $339 billion in insurance premiums in 2011, or approximately 80 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 94 percent ($156 billion) of the nation’s personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.

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Well-known member
May 9, 2002
1984 White Z-51/ZF6-40/Shinoda body
Interesting, for a few reasons.

Looking 'through' the statistics, do you suppose that the raw numbers here bear any relationship to the Corvette populations: the number produced in a model year and/or the states where the most cars are housed? I'd argue that most likely stolen is of more use that most stolen to an owner, but the raw numbers are a starting point.

This, from an owner of the most stolen model in the most stolen state. :w


Well-known member
Feb 27, 2010
Southern California
1974, 1990, 2008 Coupes
When I see this data, I see a couple of other possible causes for the sorting...
1. Older Vettes have more time to get stolen, generally speaking
2. States with more Vette density would have a higher loss rate, as stated earlier
3. States closer to boarders and sea ports (they love to stuff them in sea containers) would weigh in more
4. States with longer warm seasons give more opportunity to have the Vettes on the road
5. States with more of an entitlement mentality would create more losers whose believe your property is theirs
6. Security and tracking technology is making it harder to steal the newer Vettes
7. The C4 and C5s are slowly starting to come into their own in rising value, so they are going to be targeted in the near future

Im from California, but have the ugly ducks: 1974 and 1990. (fortunately beauty is in the eye of the pink slip holder, and frankly all vettes are cool)
A mitigating factor is that it costs almost as much to restore these vettes as it does to sell them, so its a zero sum game for now. Thats more security than an alarm

Feb 8, 2004
Southeast, PA
2003 50th Annversary Red coupe, beautiful !
Production # thefts

Don't want to nic-pick, but 1979 holds the lasgest production @ 53807 and 1984 @ 51547. But no matter what you do, the theif is going to get what he sats his mind on.


Well-known member
Sep 9, 2009
Dundee, IL
1984 Red Coupe
"84's ??

For those who steal the "84's (I own one) - you could be a little more discriminating. :D

PS: I love my cantankerous "84. It is (or will be) somthin' special.

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