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Happy Birthday Corvette!!! June 30, 2009

Posted by wilsonniblett in Auto News, Enthusiastic Commentary.
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1953 Corvette Number 1

1953 Corvette Number 1

June 30, 1953 the first production Corvette rolled off the assemly line in Flint Michigan.  This marked the beginning of an era of American sports cars that became an indusrty icon.  The Corvette has become more that just a sports car, it has become a lifestyle with a loyal following.  Corvette has represented styling, performance and class right from thr beginning.  While the first years of Corvette performance were less that iconic due to the use of the 6 cylinder 3 carb engine coupled to a 2 speed Powerglide transmission, they started the dream car image.

Performance became synonimous with Corvette after Zora Arkus Duntov wrote his famous “Hot Rod” letter to Ed Cole, the head of Chevrolet at that time.  Duntov explained that there was a large group of consumers with a desire to have a serios level of performance from their sports cars.  Starting in 1956 the Corvette became a true performance sports car, with the now famous Chevrolet small block having been installed in the Corvette in 1955, it now carried 2×4 BBL carb and a high lift camshaft to produce 225HP from 265 cu. in!  Duntov and the Chevrolet team took the Corvettes to Daytona Beach, Pikes Peak, 24 Hrs of LeMans and 12 Hrs of Sebring  to set records and show off the power.  Drivers such as John Fitch, Betty Skelton, Zora Arkus Duntov blasted this newly styled Corvette into the record books!

Starting in 1957 Corvettes could be optioned with 4 speed manual transmissions, mechanical fuel injection with 283 HP from 283 cu. in., that magic 1 HP per cubic inch level.  Many other performance upgrades became available over the years such as  fast steering, big brake options, HD performance suspension, big fuel tanks, aluminum knock wheels making the Corvette a “made to order” weekend race car!  Performance and style were here to stay and Corvette was constantly leading the pack.

Over the decades, Corvette has constantly been on the leading edge.  From the use of  fiberglass for body construction on a steel frame through the carbon fibre, titanium and aluminum framed Corvettes of today, innovation had been part of the Corvette credo.  Small block, big block,  32 valve LT5, all alumin LS series engines have all been a design success.  The age of computer engine and vehicle managemnt was deeply embraced by the team at Corvette engineering.  Dave McLellan brought this icon into the digital age as Chief Engineer in the 80’s. Dave Hill was the Chief Engineer that brought the Corvette to the long deserved “World Class” status starting with the 1997 model.

The first Corvettes were hand built.  Assembled by a team of engineers and line workers that had a personal passion for this fantastic vehicle.  That passion is still part of the Corvette mystique.  Whether you build, drive, race or restore versions of the Chevrolet Corvette it is a life long passion.

Congratulations on 56 years of leadership, here is to another half century of success.

Thank you Corvette and Happy Birthday!!!!!! 

The Chevy Enthusiast

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Comments»

1. Bruce Maniscalco - June 11, 2011

GM would never release a picture like this today. Too many t-shirts and the guy on the far right wearing sandals with no shirt beneath his overalls. I love it though, these guys built a great car almost by hand, I doubt the shop was air conditioned.


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