When you hear the name Corvette, you automatically think of its sleek design and the fast, raw power it holds. But do you know about its long and interesting history?
Keep reading to learn some of the most fascinating Corvette facts.
1. Origin Story
The first sports car in America was unveiled to the world on January 17th, 1953 in New York City at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. The GM Motorama traveling auto show featured singing and dancing and an orchestra and debuted many cars including the Oldsmobile Starfire and Buick Wildcat.
The 1953 Chevrolet Corvette concept car rolled onto the floor with a full fiberglass body, white exterior, red interior, and a jaw-dropping 150-horsepower motor. The Corvette became an instant hit amongst the American public and quickly went into production the following June.
2. What’s in a Name?
During the design phase of the car, the creative team wanted a name that began with a “C” to have an alliterative effect with Chevrolet. After bouncing many other ideas around, the PR executive, Myron Scott, started flipping through a dictionary and landed on the term “corvette.” According to the dictionary, a corvette was an Enlightenment Era warship from the 17th century.
These warships were known to be easy to maneuver, fast, strong and an essential aspect of the Navy. Once Scott came across this term he knew it was the perfect fit for their sporty concept car and the idea was quickly approved across the board and the Corvette was born.
3. Early Production
When GM began production of the Corvette they wanted to create a sense of exclusivity and decided to only produce 300 cars during the first year. This plan quickly backfired on them and they weren’t able to sell out the first batch.
The next year they decided to take a new tactic and opened up the availability but the public still wasn’t enticed and GM almost discontinued the car. To make matters worse, the first Corvettes had a problematic electrical grounding system due to the fiberglass body of the car and they had to be pushed off the assembly line.
For those who did purchase the new sports car, there was only one exterior color option, Polo White, the interior was Sportsman Red and the top was black. The tires were whitewalls and the stone-guards were chromed-mesh making it look even sportier.
Each one of the 300 cars from the first year looked exactly the same and had a heater and a simple AM radio. There were also no handles on the exterior of the doors, but you could easily access the interior door handle since there were no windows, only a plastic curtain.
What the car lacked in color options and amenities, however, it made up for in speed. The Corvette could get from 0 to 60 miles per hour in an impressive 11 seconds and maxed out at 110 miles per hour.
During the height of the space race members of the Mercury Seven team, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, and Gordon Cooper befriended Jim Rathmann. Rathmann was a Chevrolet dealer and had won the Indy 500 in 1960. He spoke to the executive team at GM and convinced them to design a custom model Corvette for the three astronauts.
This marketing move helped elevate the Corvette to the next level and soon many people wanted to emulate the astronauts. The popularity of the sports car soon took off and soon became a household name.
5. Groundbreaking Design
The original Corvette was the first mass-produced vehicle to come with a wraparound windshield. This panoramic design became very popular in the 1950s but had to be discontinued due to view distortion concerns and the design proved to be weak near the roofline.
Although the original design didn’t work out longterm, the concept was improved upon and adapted into other styles of vehicles along the way.
6. Different Logo Than the Original
The first logo that was designed for the Corvette featured a checkered flag that was crossed by the American flag. The artist didn’t realize that using the American flag was illegal to use in commercial branding.
Four days before the original Corvette was set to debut at GM Motorama the logo was redesigned and is the same one that is still in use today. The design features a fleur-de-lis and is crossed with the Chevrolet bow rather than the American flag.
7. The Official Sports Car of Kentucky
Kentucky’s state government declared the Corvette to be the official sports car of the state in 2010. This decision was made due to the fact that the Corvette production factory is located in Bowling Green and is the only one left in the country.
During the early 2000s, it came under some trouble and was almost shut down. Luckily things started picking up again and they were able to get back on their feet and are still in operation to this day.
8. The Big-Block Motor
The Chevy Big-block V8 motor was legendary for its time. It had a ton of horsepower and huge displacement. The motor was 454 cubic inches and created 275 horsepower which was an incredible amount of power for a vehicle at this time in American history.
The Chevy Big-block was not restricted to use in just GM vehicles so it quickly became the popular choice for powering many different vehicles. These days the newer Corvette models are packing an even bigger punch with the amount of horsepower they are boasting and you should check it out!
Learn More Interesting Corvette Facts Today!
These are just some of the many interesting Corvette facts from its long historical legacy. There is a lot more fascinating information for gearheads and history lovers alike.
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