The Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevrolet Corvette is a sports car manufactured by General
Motors since 1953.Today,the Corvette is built in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but has also been
manufactured in Flint,Michigan, and St. Louis, Missouri. Also in Bowling Green is the National
Corvette Museum and the annual National Corvette Homecoming. There have been six generations of the
Corvette so far. They are sometimes referred to as C1 through C6.
- 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, & 1962
- 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, & 1967
- 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, & 1982
- 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 & 1996
- 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, & 2004
In 1927, GM hired designer Harley Earl. It was with this that
automotive styling and design became important to American automobile manufacturers. Harley Earl
designed most of GM's flamboyant "dream car" designs of the 1950's. GIs returning after serving
overseas in the years following World WarII were bringing home cars like Jaguars, and Alfa Romeos,
and in 1951, Nash motors began selling the Nash-Healey. Harley convinced GM that they too needed to
build a two-seat sports car. He and his special Projects crew began working on the car later that
year. The result was the 1953 Corvette. It was unveiled to the public at the 1953 Motorama car show.
The Corvette takes it's name from a small, maneuverable fighting
frigate. The first Corvettes were mostly hand built in Chevrolet's Customer Delivery Center in Flint,
Michigan. The outer body was made from fiberglass, revolutionary for the time. Underneath the new body
were standard Chevy parts including the "Blue Flame" inline six-cylinder truck engine, two-speed
Power glide automatic transmission, and drum brakes. A triple-carburetor intake exclusive to the Corvette
increased the engine's output, however the performance was decidedly lackluster. The Corvette was
underpowered, required a lot of effort and space to stop, and lacked a manual transmission compared to
British and Italian sports cars of the time. A Paxton supercharger was available in 1954 as a dealer
installed option. It greatly improved the Corvette's straight-line performance, but sales continued to decline.
GM was considering shelving the project, and would have done so
if not for two important events. The first was the introduction in 1955 of Chevy's first V8 engine
since 1919. The second was the influence of Zora Arkus-Duntov, who took the V8 and backed it with a
three-speed manual transmission. That modification turned the Corvette into a performer.
The Corvette was Motor Trend's car of the year in 1984 and 1998.
It's been on Car and Driver's annual Ten Best fourteen times:1985-1989, 1998, 1999, 2002-2004, and
2005-2008. The C6 was also nominated for the North American Car of the Year for 2005. The C6 Z06 was
named "Most Coveted Vehicle" in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year contest. The Sting Ray was called the
"coolest car in history by Automobile Magazine, and placed at number 5 on Sports Car International's
list of the Top Sports Cars of the 1960s.
The 1999 Corvette Convertible was named "Best Engineered Car of
the 20th century" by the Society of Automotive Engineers publication Automotive Engineering
International. The Corvette has also been selected the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 ten times:
1978, 1986, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Oldest Suviving Unit
The oldest surviving production Corvette is the third 1953 Corvette to
come off the Flint assembly line. It was sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction in January 21, 2006 in Scottsdale,
AZ, for $1,000,000.
The oldest Corvette in existance is believed to be the EX-122,
a pre-production prototype that was hand built and fist shown to the public at the 1953 GM Motorama at the
Waldorf Astoria in New York City on January 17, 1953. It is now in the Atlantic City Showroom and Museum of