Chevrolet Corvette, the uber-iconic American sports car, first rolled of the assembly line in Flint, Mich., on June 30, 1953 and has been a staple in motoring history ever since. Happy birthday, Corvette.
Critics initially panned the car that had only two seats, no roll-up windows or exterior door handles, and a body made – of all things – fiberglass, not steel.
And all this during a time when the Baby Boom was full steam ahead so Americans were needing family cars, not sports cars. What was Chevy thinking?
“Through the years, Corvette certainly offered state-of-the-art features, designs, technologies and performance,” said Tadge Juechter, vehicle chief engineer for Corvette. “However, I think what has made the Corvette such an enduring concept is the exciting experience of driving one.
“No matter what your station in life, when you’re behind the wheel of a Corvette, you’re an Olympic athlete – able to go faster, stop quicker, and turn better than everyone else,” Juechter continued. “Very few cars can match that experience. And no other car has delivered that experience as well, or to more people, than the Corvette.”
The Corvette was first created under the code-name XP-122, a concept car that was unveiled at the GM Motorama show in the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City in January, 1953.
Initially, Chevrolet execs planned to limit first-run production to 150 units but the car became so popular that number was doubled and for the 1954 model year, Corvette production was moved to a GM assembly facility in St. Louis, Mo., where they rolled out some 3,640 units that year.
For enthusiasts, it has been a 60-year love affair with Corvette as Chevy has produced more than 1.5 million of them, and throughout the year the automaker plans some big things to celebrate this milestone and the Corvette.