The legions of Corvette owners and enthusiasts have lately had several reasons to celebrate. Model year 2013 saw America’s favorite home-grown sports car become a sexagenarian and, more recently, the all new seventh generation Corvette (C7) was officially unveiled. Now, if you’re pretty decent at math, you can figure out that an all-new-from-the-ground-up Corvette only comes along about once every 8½ years and is truly a reason to get excited. Such a momentous occasion is not only a reason to celebrate the new, but it’s also a good time to revisit Corvette’s history and appreciate how it came to be as it is now.
Like many newborns, the Corvette had to struggle to get to its feet and find its place in the automotive wilderness. Despite being fathered by the legendary GM designer Harley Earl and receiving rave reviews at its introduction at the 1953 GM Motorama, Corvette sales from 1953 to 1955 were dismal. Enter Zora Arkus-Duntov, who convinced the GM hierarchy that performance was the antidote for Corvette’s illness.
Sales increased steadily during the remainder of the first generation, but after Bill Mitchell’s dramatic design of the 1963 Sting Ray hit the streets, the Corvette was off and running and has never looked back.
The foundation building blocks of high performance and dramatic design continue to separate the Corvette from the pretenders to this day. The C7 moves the yardsticks further down the field with incredible technology coupled with edgy, breathtaking design. Our list will give you a very brief history of the Corvette’s development.
For an up close and personal view of the past and present Corvettes, please visit the National Corvette Museum.