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[EXCLUSIVE]: 1953 Corvette Engineering Test Videos from the GM Archives

by Steve Burns on January 9, 2013

[EXCLUSIVE]: 1953 Corvette Engineering Test Videos from the GM Archives

We managed to get our hands on these never-before-seen videos shot during testing of the first generation Corvette. The videos just discovered in the GM Media Archives show a very early Corvette prototype undergoing a series of evaluations at the Milford Proving Grounds and include a cameo by Zora Duntov. Read on to be one of the first people in a very, very long time to view the video.

There are a total of 3 new video clips which we’ve skillfully combined into 1 below. The first video shows Zora Duntov himself evaluating airflow over a Corvette’s trunk and rear end. He fidgets with the side vent window angle and watches the airflow change with each adjustment. Zora was initially hired by GM in May of 1953 as an “Assistant Staff Engineer” so this test was probably conducted while he was still relatively new to his position when this film was recorded.

[EXCLUSIVE]: 1953 Corvette Engineering Test Videos from the GM Archives

The 2nd video shows a test driver piloting an early C1 prototype down a straight stretch of road. Note some of the styling feature that did and didn’t make it into production. He appears to be performing some type of stability or lane change test as he takes his hands off of the steering wheel a couple of times in the film. The Corvette seems to perform remarkably well as we presume that it’s riding on old bias ply tires. Anyone who’s driven on old school tires like these know that they rarely follow a straight path even when you’ve got your hands on the wheel.

The final portion of the clip is broken down into 2 smaller sections. The first shows another (or the same prototype) car from above in a hill climb race against an early 1950′s Chevy sedan. The 2 cars launch simultaneously and the C1 easily drives away cresting the hilltop about 5 seconds ahead of the sedan. Next the car is seen drifting Dukes of Hazzard-style around a corner a dirt test road. You can almost hear Waylon Jennings signing in the background.

With the debut of the next generation Corvette coming up this Sunday, it’s pretty timely that these old videos turn up now. Enjoy this long lost look at Corvette’s past below.

Chevrolet will officially lift the skirt on the 2014 Corvette this Sunday January 13th. If you’re not part of the invited media or paying Corvette Museum guests attending you can still watch the reveal live via webcast on the Corvette Facebook page. The public reveal will take place the following day at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

We’ll be in Detroit on Sunday and have full details and photos of the new C7 Corvette as it’s unwrapped.


Source:
GM Archives

Related:
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[VIDEO] Harlan Charles Talks About the C1 Corvette at the Woodward Dream Cruise
Corvettes at Carlisle: Meet the Original American Idol

 

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