Although Corvette first made its introduction in January 1953 at the GM Motorama in New York City, the concept that took the country by storm – codenamed EX-122 – was actually built in 1952. Sixty years later, Chevrolet is planning to celebrate the occasion with events worldwide. Once of those celebrations is being planned when Chevrolet returns to the United Kingdom for the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The location is quite fitting for an anniversary celebration as the first Corvette was built as America’s answer to the Jaguar and MG sports cars. Legend has it that the first Corvette was designed with a Jaguar XK-120 in the same room and designers used the same wheelbase for the Corvette as the XK-120.
GM’s VP of Design Harley Earl intention was to create an affordable sports car using existing mechanical components wrapped in an ultra-modern, aerodynamic body. The Corvette became the first mass-produced sports car to have a production fiberglass body which allowed the designers to create molded curves as well as save weight and prevent corrosion.
The first models came with a derivative of GM’s renowned ‘Blue Flame’ in-line six-cylinder engine, with the now legendary V8 units first appearing in 1955. In 1981, Corvette production moved from Missouri to Bowling Green, Kentucky where the current C6 models are built and where the next generation C7 2014 Corvette will be built as well.
To date, over 1.3 million Corvettes have been built since EX-122 made its debut at the 1953 Motorama which was held at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in NYC.
With the Chevrolet brand returning to the UK market, the Goodwood Festival of Speed offers a premier event to celebrate the Corvette’s 60th birthday in style. Set in the heart of the Earl of March’s Goodwood estate, the Festival has become Britain’s premier motoring event, and the iconic Chevrolet brand is returning for the third year running, after marking its centenary in 2011, to celebrate another iconic birthday.
Chevrolet UK Managing Director, Mark Terry, commented: “The Corvette is a true icon of the Chevrolet brand – it provides the performance DNA that runs through the whole Chevrolet model range. Styling influences such as its trademark dual cockpit, there since the original, can be found in all of our cars today, and it still delivers the same performance, the same jaw-dropping styling and the same wow factor as it always has – It’s the greatest ambassador possible for the Chevrolet brand.”
The Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place at Goodwood House, near Chichester, West Sussex, from June 28 to July 1, 2012. For more information on the event visit www.goodwood.co.uk, or to find out more about Corvette go to www.chevrolet.co.uk/cars/corvette.