One of the jolly chaps over at Top Gear recently got his hands on a C1 Corvette as Richard Hammond spent some quality time behind the wheel of a red on red 1958 convertible. In his eloquently written article, Hammond expounds on the virtues of the car’s styling and performance with typical Top Gear panache. Read on to see what Hammond had to say about his time with a first generation Corvette.
The article appeared in the September 2013 edition of Top Gear Magazine. It starts off talking about the later C1’s iconic appearance saying “..it’s a very feminine car. The curves, the shapes, all of that stuff, tap into some set of inbuilt receptors that have the brain thinking of the sort of voluptuous but feline and mischievous beauty…”
Next Hammond touches on the performance and the overall Corvette experience calling the C1’s 283 engine note “…a filthy, lazy noise. It’s glorious.” He likens the power to curve to actors from the 1950’s who looked good on the big screen, but didn’t really deliver based on what we know today. If you’ve ever hopped into an early Corvette after driving a C5, C6, or even a C7 you know what he’s getting at. Back then it was all about the experience behind the wheel of this new 2 seat superstar made in St. Louis, Missouri. Nothing else on the road looked like it, but its performance was still being improved refined. Everyone wanted one, and still does.
In the end Hammond sums up his C1 in a way I think we can all agree with saying “There are no brakes to speak of, it wiggles, lurches and rolls through corners and, despite the noise and the fury, that huge V8 doesn’t do much to overcome the car’s bulky inertia. It was about the style, about the looks, the glamour and looking like it could go into space or blast through a desert at a million miles an hour – that was enough.” Well said, Mr. Hammond.
Overall, the Top Gear article is a great read and great synopsis of the C1 Corvette from a car guy hailing from the other side of the pond where Jaguars, MG’s and Aston Martins are the norm. It’s an accurate take on an American classic from someone who plays with supercars for a living. Swing on over to the Top Gear website to check the full article.
Top Gear UK