Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Story of the First Chevrolet Corvette

Story of the First Chevrolet Corvette

DURAND, Mich. –­– There's no question Americans have an affinity for anything automotive, and many of the country’s top enthusiasts would agree that one particular classic performance car will never desist as a force to be reckoned with: the Chevrolet Corvette. In celebration of this monumental automobile that first rolled off the assembly line on June 30, 1953, it's worth taking a look at the story of the first Chevrolet Corvette's arduous road to success.

The idea for the Corvette emerged in 1951 after General Motors designer Harley J. Earl pondered the production of an affordable American sports car able to compete with European monoliths such as MG, Jaguar, and Ferrari. Although it took nearly two years for the concept to reach fruition, the first two-seater production Corvette finally entered the automotive pool and today we’re still seeing ripples from its impact.

Before beginning production, Chevrolet kindled the story of the first Corvette when they debuted a concept model in January 1953 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.  According to GM, a “trim, fleet naval vessel that performed heroic escort and patrol duties during World War II” was the eponymous influence for the fiberglass-body, six-cylinder Corvette that piqued the interest of everyone in attendance.

Like its ornate name, the first Corvette was one flashy son-of-an-automobile that exhibited an ostentatious Polo White exterior and red interior, a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, a wraparound windshield, whitewall tires, and removable plastic curtains in lieu of windows.

Unprecedented innovation also bolstered the 1953 Corvette as America’s new sports car, including features like a clock, cigarette lighter, and red warning light that turned on when the driver applied the parking brake. While the 1953 Corvette only showed average speed performance, going from zero to 60 in 11 to 12 seconds, its unique style and features helped value it at $3,490.

Story of the First Chevrolet Corvette

Despite the Corvette's popularity today, it struggled to gain recognition from the automotive world during the first two years of its life. To the chagrin of GM and Chevrolet, the 1953 Corvette received curious glances but failed to steal the hearts of American motorists.

By 1954, when Chevrolet began full-scale mass production of the car at one of their plants in St. Louis, the Corvette’s ho-hum start in the automotive world hadn't ceased spiraling downward since inception, and GM considered abandoning production for good. That is, until a certain rival automotive manufacturer introduced their two-seater Thunderbird.

This competitive threat pushed GM to improve the Corvette. In 1955 they stuck a V8 engine underneath the sports car's hood and never looked back. From then on the Corvette garnered the nickname “America’s sports car” and steadily became pop culture symbol perpetually revered and referenced by motorists and the media alike.

The Corvette’s impressive history and its comeback story are an example of what it took for Chevrolet to become the automaker it is today. Chevy’s drive, passion and the guts to do what others haven’t are what make us proud to sell New Chevy Cars and New Chevy Trucks at our Flint Area Chevy Dealership. Stop in sometime and see for yourself.

Located at 9009 East Lansing Road Durand, MI 48429Hank Graff Chevrolet Durand is revolutionizing the car buying experience. We provide all the transparency and customer service you need, while simultaneously making your purchase experience fun! Learn more about Hank Graff Chevrolet Durand, or for any questions contact us at (989) 288-2657 or visit our website at!

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