It’s National Corvette Day! Happy Birthday to America’s Favorite Sportscar!

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It's National Corvette Day! Happy Birthday to America's Favorite Sportscar!

Photo Credit: Larry Smith


Sixty-seven years ago today, the first Corvette rolled off a temporary assembly line in Flint, Michigan and an American Legend was born. Looking at this picture, it’s amazing to see how much the model has progressed over the years. We think that Harley J. Earl and Zora Arkus-Duntov would be very proud of Corvette’s long-lasting legacy and its imprint on the American car culture.

In the early 1950’s, Harley Earl, GM’s head of styling, envisioned a low-cost American sports car that could compete with Europe’s Jaguar, MG’s and Ferrari. Codenamed “Opel”, designers shrugged off a traditional steel body in favor of using a new technology consisting of molded fiberglass for rapid prototyping and the very first example made its debut in January 1953 at the GM Motorama show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

The car was a hit and Corvette production was originally slated to start in 1954 in St. Louis. However, company officials decided to fast track the Corvette into production based on the great reviews and public acclaim, and so 300 Corvettes were scheduled to be built in the second half of 1953.

The first Corvettes to come off that temporary line took several days to complete as workers bonded the various body panels together. The uniform design of the 1953 helped greatly with all cars being Polo White with the Sportsman red interior and a Black canvas top. Each new Corvette came with a 2-speed automatic transmission mounted on the floor, a Delco signal-seeking radio, a 5,000 RPM tachometer, and a counter for total engine revolutions.

The Corvette’s original base price was set at $3,498.00. However, the general public was hard-pressed to get one as most of the production was doled out to project engineers, GM executives, and other high profile customers including Hollywood movie stars like John Wayne. In fact, a dealer notice issued in July ’53 from the Central Office proclaimed: “No dealer is in a position to accept firm orders for delivery of a Corvette in 1953.”

Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today
Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today
Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today
Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today
Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today Happy Birthday Corvette: Iconic American Sports Car Turns 58 Today

Today’s Corvette is completely different than the first model, yet they are connected with the same sportscar DNA that started with Harley Earl’s project “Opel” and progressed with Zora’s belief that the car could (and should) dominate the world. The tradition of building a world-beating yet affordable sports car continues on today through Tadge Juechter and the 8th generation Corvette, and it all started 67 years ago today.


Source:
How Stuff Works and History.com

Related:
[PICS] Owner’s 2020 Corvette Stingray No. 239 is VIN-Matched to His 1953 Corvette
Corvettes for Sale: 1953 VIN 087 With Only 5,800 Miles on the Odometer
The Best Corvettes of the 1950s: No.3 – The 1953 Corvette

 



1 COMMENT

  1. Interesting that a Central Officer notice went out to the dealers that GM or Chevrolet was not in a position to take customer orders in 1953. Part of Corvette history will not only be the strike. It will be the factory shutdown due to the Covid-19 virus. Then the rumors and finally the final notice. GM and Chevrolet will not be in the position to take further orders on the 2020 Corvette mid-engine Stingray. Yet, nearly 2700 Corvettes had been built on the regular assembly line. Then finally, the restart. Every effort was made to protect the workers in all phases of the Corvette build process. On one day, it was reported that 92 additional Corvettes had been built. At this point, it appears the VIN’s have reached into the 4,000’s. A far cry from the original 300, with a little over 20 thousand Corvettes projected to be built by November of 2020. The actual number remains to be seen as a part of Corvette history. However, it will not take a John Wayne sighting in a Corvette to see one in the Wild. Soon, as many as 2,000+ Corvettes will be running the highways, byways and racetracks of America. Then 2021 could possibly be part of history again with an all-time record for corvettes produced in a single model year currently being the expectation of the motoring public and General Motors/Chevrolet. AF

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