On June 30, 2013, the Chevrolet Corvette celebrates its 60th anniversary, but America’s favorite sports car is nowhere near the retirement age.
To mark the anniversary, Chevrolet has released some key facts about the Corvette’s history, and some of them are really interesting. For instance, did you know that the Corvette is the world’s longest-running, continuously produced passenger car nameplate? The longest-running vehicle of any type is also a Chevrolet, the Suburban.
The Corvette debuted as a concept vehicle at the General Motors Autorama show in New York City on January 17, 1953 (see video below). The public's reaction made it a no-brainer for GM to build a limited run of 300 production Corvettes on June 30 of that year.
Another interesting fact is that the Corvette was produced exclusively as a convertible in its first 10 years of existence. Only the second-generation Corvette brought a coupe, the fixed-roof 1963 “split-window” Corvette Sting Ray. It proved to be an inspired decision, as sales doubled and it became a year-round car for drivers in colder climates.
In 60 years of continuous production, Chevrolet has made approximately 1.56 million Corvettes. The 500,000th Corvette was built in 1977, the 1 millionth car came in 1992, while the 1.5 millionth model rolled off the assembly line in 2009.
Corvette drivers nowadays can’t imagine their cars without V8 power, but in the early days, the Corvette was exclusively available with an inline six-cylinder engine until 1955. That year marked the introduction of the optional V8 engine, which subsequently was ordered by 90 percent of buyers. It’s no wonder that the six-cylinder unit was dropped in 1956, with the Corvette only being available with V8 power since.
By Dan Mihalascu