Ever since the first Corvette was unveiled on the showroom floor in 1953, the model has been a golden standard for American performance. Born out of a desire to compete with the best European sports cars, Chevrolet has managed to be the dominant force in the segment for 70 years now. The Corvette is not only one of the longest-running nameplates but also one of the most successful sports cars of all time. Many amazing Corvettes rank among the best American cars as true gems.
The Corvette is not just an icon in the engineering and design sense of the word. It’s also a symbol of the US car industry, design approach, and overall philosophy. The Corvette has come a long way from the small, fiberglass-bodied roadster of 1953 to today’s 21st-century supersonic sports car with a rear-mounted engine. In preparation for the Corvette’s 70th birthday, take a look back at the truly amazing Corvettes that made history.
The introduction of the Corvette was the most important automotive news of 1953 as no one expected such an exotic car to be built and marketed by Chevrolet. All of a sudden, there was a brand new roadster made by a mid-class manufacturer with no sports car experience. However, despite that, the first Corvette was a well-designed and well-executed model. The most exciting thing about the new Corvette was its fiberglass body. Back in the early ’50s, plastic was still the material of the future and wasn’t common in the industry (via Corvette Story).
Under the hood was an inline-six engine called “Blue Flame” featuring a 3.9-liter displacement and a modest 136 HP. The engine came from Chevrolet’s standard lineup equipped with three Carter carburetors. Chevy engineers tried to keep costs down by borrowing mechanical components from other vehicles and using them on the Corvette. The price was $3490, so the 1953 Corvette wasn’t exactly affordable but cheaper than a Jaguar XK120 or a Ferrari 166.