Chevy Corvette Pics, Stats, & History
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For years and years after the first gas driven automobile was invented no one ever bothered to focus on the visual appeal of their cars whatsoever. The United States waited an extra seven years before they got trendy and followed suit with their foreign competitors. General Motors got jealous after GIs were noticed returning from overseas with vehicles that focused on design as well as performance, such as Jaguars and MGs, and after being encouraged by employees to perfect their designs a man named Harley Earl was hired. Harley Earl is responsible for all of those "dream cars" from GM that came out of the 1950's. One journalist commented that his designs were "the American psyche made visible." In 1953 Earl convinced GM they needed to build a two seated sports car, hence a new dream design was produced and they called it the Corvette. The Corvette remains to this day, GM's longest car to remain in production. The Suburban truck surpasses them however, by 30 years.
The Corvette stole its name from a fighting frigate, which was a war-ship used to destroy submarines. These beautiful two seater's were virtually hand built in Flint, Michigan at Chevrolet's Customer Delivery Center. '53 Corvettes were possibly the first production vehicle to use this crazy "new" composite material called fiberglass, which as we all know is a major part of most vehicles in production today. With the strength of steel, minus the weight, no Corvette has ever been produced without a body made of fiberglass. The first Corvettes featured "blue flame" in-line six cylinder engines accompanied by a Powerglide two speed automatic transmission.
Although hot looking, Corvette's had a long way to go at the time of production, their were near overwhelming competitors such as the Thunderbird because of it's much stronger performance with its 5.1L V8 and the underpowered Corvette was losing sales. Even in 1954 after adding a factory installed turbo charge option, which greatly improved the car's performance with its Paxton supercharger, "Vette's" sales continued to plummet. GM was honestly ready to throw in the towel and discontinue it's car production if two conveniences had not came about. The first circumstance brought to them, was the development of the first Chevrolet V8 engine in 1955. The second would definitely be thanks to a Soviet immigrant, who noticed the problem with the offerings an automatic transmission only. Zora Arkus-Duntov simply took one of their new engines, and slapped a four speed manual onto it, probably was the single most important event to keep the Corvette alive. Even though this would allow the Corvette to compete with Ford's Thunderbird I feel that the nickname given to Arkus-Duntov "The father of Corvette" is a little off the mark. After all the best designer of his time started the production of this vehicle, the concept of a sports car for GM and the whole works.
We will also be providing you with history of each "C" level of development by Corvette(C1, C2, C3, etc.) so if you're interested in Corvette's history keep a close watch on the news section on our Index Page.