Chevrolet Corvette 1953–62 -

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Chevrolet Corvette 1953–62

Automobiles from 1950 > Extra about cars in 1950 A-I
The Chevrolet Corvette

Launched in 1953 as a fiberglass two-seater convertible in the style of contemporary European models, the Corvette was America’s first production sports car. Initially fitted with a six-cylinder engine, the Corvette began to fulfill its potential only when it was given a V8 power plant. A series of redesigns-including the 1963 split-screen Sting Ray Coupe and “Mako Shark” 1968 Stingray-kept the model fresh. With around 1.5 million made to date, the Corvette has earned the title of the oldest U.S. sports car still in production.

THE BRAINCHILD of Harley Earl, design chief at General Motors, the Corvette appeared to great acclaim at GM’s 1953 Motorama sales show. But the model had a slow start, with just 300 sold in its first year. Despite its racy styling, the Corvette’s six-cylinder engine was seen as insufficient for power-hungry U.S. buyers. With the model in real danger of disappearing, Corvette’s fortunes were turned around in 1955 by the 265 cu in (4,342 cc) V8 with manual transmission. Coupled with a body redesign in 1956 and engine upgrades over the next few years, the first-generation Corvette became one of America’s hottest automobiles. The ornate second generation and muscular third series took the model into the 1980s. Now in its sixth generation, the Corvette’s styling sees a return to its European-influenced roots.

Chevrolet Corvette Mk1 (1953–62)

Model  Chevrolet Corvette MkI (1953–62)
Assembly  Michigan and Missouri, USA
Production  68,915
Construction  Welded box section
Engine   265 cu in (4,291 cc), V8
Power   150–360 bhp at 4,200–6,200 rpm
Transmission  Two-speed Powerglide automaticl
Suspension   Front independent, rear rigid axle
Brakes  Drums front and rear
Maximum speed  142 mph (229 km/h)

Chevrolet Corvette 1953 front view
Chevrolet Corvette 1953 rear view

Determined styling

Harley Earl conceded that the open-tooth style of the grill was copied from Ferrari models of the time. When combined with the ridged hood and four headlights-introduced in 1958 to replace the two headlights of the early models-it gave this 1959 Corvette an aggressive frontal appearance, one that would become even meaner with later generations of the model.

Chevrolet Corvette 1953 specifications
Chevrolet Corvette logo include 1953

Flagged Up

Originally designed in 1953 by Chevrolet’s Robert Bartholomew, the Corvette logo consists of two flags, one chequered to reflect its racing character, and the other featuring a fleur-de-lys-a nod to company founder Louis Chevrolet’s French roots.
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