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Chevrolet Corvette- A Legend in Auto History

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On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 2:21PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chevrolet Corvette- A Legend in Auto History

The first Corvette was launched in 1953, built at the Flint Michigan assembly plant. It was the first 2-seater built in America, and it upheld its place in history for decades as the Corvette was known as the finest domestic sports car of its time. The first Corvettes models were constructed in an area at the back of Chevy’s customer delivery garage on Van Slyke Avenue. Designed by Harley Earl, 300 early models were produced and about 200 are still in the hands of auto collectors today.

The 1953 Corvettes are the rarest of all the Corvette model years ever built. By early 1954, Chevy reported that 315 Corvettes had been constructed and they moved production to the assembly plant in St. Louis, Missouri. Chevrolet estimated that 1000 Corvettes would be built each month in St. Louis by June 1954, and that a total of 10,000 per year could be constructed all together. Zora Arkus-Duntov would become the chief engineer of Corvette.

The first generation Corvette started in 1953 and ended in 1962. With few changes, except for color choices. 1955 saw the introduction of the V8 engine, replacing the “Blue Flame” straight-6. Other than the bigger engine, the 1955 model can be distinguished by the enlarged gold “V” in its logo signifying the V8 engine under the hood. In 1956 an entirely new body was designed for the Corvette. Other early options included power windows and a hydraulically operated power convertible top in 1956; four-speed manual transmission, fuel injection, and heavy duty brakes and suspension arrived in 1957.

Myron E. "Scottie" Scott is the man who gave Corvette its name. In 1937, Chevrolet hired him as an assistant director for the PR department; his job was to photograph new cars, design ads for the press, and handle special events. In 1953, an executive meeting was arranged to find a name for a new Chevrolet sports car that was being developed. The company wanted a name that began with a "C" and a review of over 300 names began. None of the 300 names made the cut, then; that night at Scott's home, he searched the dictionary and discovered the definition of "corvette" - "a speedy pursuit ship in the British navy". Scott suggested "Corvette" the next day and the group loved it. Myron Scott retired from Chevrolet in 1971; today his name is displayed in the National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame.

The Artist Prince began his climb to the top of the pop charts in 1983 with this single from the “1999” album, which initially did unremarkable business until “Little Red Corvette” soared to number six. The exact connection with the song's lyrics about Corvette is a little unclear, other than the suggestion that the woman he’s singing about is a little too fast for him. In 2001 Chevrolet put up a billboard with a picture of a red 1963 Corvette Sting Ray and the caption said; “They don’t write songs about Volvos.”

In the year 2003 the Chevrolet Corvette became the first (and the only) domestic sports car to announce its 50th anniversary!

View the evolution of the Corvette in the photos below...

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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