Back in 1951, General Motors’ chief designer — Harley J. Earl — who is known for designing the industry’s first “concept” car (the Buick Y Job), contemplated the idea of an affordable sports car. His notions and influence, combined with the help of other GM members, led to the birth of a legend: the Chevrolet Corvette.
According to Edmunds.com, it was Chevy’s assistant advertising manager (Myron Scott) — founder of the All-American Soap Box Derby, who suggested the name Corvette. Cole, the new chief engineer, loved it. Perhaps because of what the word represents: a small, maneuverable warship. And with fierce competition overseas from Jaguar, MG and Triumph, a road-happy battleship would be a nice addition to the company’s lineup.
The model was first introduced as a concept at the 1953 GM Motorama Show in New York before moving into the production stage that same year. At the time, just three-hundred polo white roadsters sporting red interiors were produced, and this was the only available option until 1955. All of the cars were assembled by hand in Flint, Michigan and priced at $3,498, which was more expensive than Earl had anticipated. Still, the vehicle was a real beauty and it nevertheless managed to capture the attention of several automotive enthusiasts.
The first generation Chevrolet Corvette (C1) spanned from 1953 to 1962, and featured fiberglass bodywork in order to make the vehicle lighter. Nicknamed ‘solid-axle’ cars, as they did not include an independent rear suspension, models were fitted to a standard 3.9-liter Blue Flame straight-six — similar to the one equipped in all Chevrolets at the time, except this one had a higher compression ratio.
The engine generated a total 150 horsepower and was mated to a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission rather than a three-speed manual. According to Edmunds.com, it was believed that the Corvette was too powerful to feature the brand’s stick shift option.
Setup the way it was, the automaker’s iconic vehicle was able to sprint from zero-to-60 miles per hour in 11.5 seconds.
The American-made Corvette is one of the world’s longest-running nameplates, and approximately 1.5 million units have been produced since the legendary model joined the market in the early ‘50s.
Now in its seventh-generation, the C7 Corvette for sale re-incorporates the ‘Stingray’ name, and its style, technology and performance make for a truly desirable sports car.