Corvette Marks its 70th Anniversary in 2023

Click Here to Begin Slideshow The Chevrolet Corvette will be 70 years old in 2023. The original 1953 Corvette was based on General Motor’s 1952 EX-122 show car. It was one of the few GM Motorama dream cars to actually go into production with the styling virtually unchanged. The Corvette was created as an economical sports car for young adults. It was also something that could be used as a performance-image builder while Chey awaited a V-8. The car's fiberglass body was novel and practical. It lowered the cost of making a limited-production model. Steel-bodied Vettes were originally planned for later years. Sports-car enthusiast and television celebrity Dave Garroway heaped a lot of praise on the pretty new Corvette in the Chevrolet sales promotion film "Halls of Wonder." Yet, many of the sports-car fans it was meant for snubbed it. Chevy did not have a hot-car image yet. The fact that Corvettes used standard 'family car' mechanical components and came with a Powerglide automatic transmission were other points of criticism. Sales shot up dramatically in 1956. One of the main reasons was the latest Corvette had looks to match its performance. A manual transmission added to its appeal. And several prestigious racing victories contributed to its high performance image. Fuel-injection was added in 1957. In 1961, the Corvette received a new 'duck tail' rear-end. With a major restyling, the ’63 Vette was a hit. Demand was so high customers had to wait two months or more to take delivery of their new Sting Ray split window coupe or ragtop. More aerodynamic styling was introduced in 1968 and remained until 1983. An restyling of the aero body was done for Corvette's 25th anniversary year in 1978, adding a fastback roof line and large wraparound back window. A high-performance (L82) V-8 added horsepower. Silver Anniversary and the Indy Pace Cars were released. No Corvettes were sold in 1983 model year, but the all-new '84 edition was worth the wait. Technical changes included an aluminum drive shaft and fiberglass springs. A new four-speed manual transmission with automatic overdrive in top the three gears was offered. A dual-injector V-8 produced 205 hp. The Corvette's price soared past $23,000. The Vette was one of the few American cars to offer air bags in 1989, when both coupes and roadsters used a 5.7-liter 245-hp tuned port injected V-8. An exciting addition to the 1990 Corvette lineup was the ZR-1 coupe, which was engineered in conjunction with Lotus of England and the Mercury Marine Div. of Brunswick Corp., in Stillwater, Okla. The ZR-1's prime attraction was a special high-performance 5.7-liter aluminum double- It was the 40th Anniversary of the Corvette in 1993. The occasion was marked by Chevrolet offering an optional special appearance package, available on all models, that included "ruby red" exterior and interior, anniversary badging on the hood, deck and side-gills, and seat headrests embroidered with the anniversary logo. It was a year of transition at Bowling Green, Ky., with the fourth-generation Corvette in its final year in 1996. With the ZR-1 now history, Chevrolet introduced two special versions of the Corvette in the form of a Grand Sport Edition and Collector Edition. The Grand Sport, in its Admiral Blue, White Stripe and red "hash mark" on the left front fender finish, evoked memories of early Corvette race cars. The Collector Edition was finished in Sebring Silver and featured badging and embroidered seat headrests. The fifth-generation Corvette of 1997 received rave reviews in the press, and after a mid-model year (January 1997) launch sold over 9,000 copies in coupe form only. Everything was new about this Corvette including the frame construction and blunt tail styling. The LS1 5.7-liter V-8 was more compact and more potent, producing 350 horsepower and 345 pound-feet of torque. Observing its 45th year in 1998, the Corvette lineup added a convertible to go with the coupe launched the year before. The sixth-generation Vette bowed in 2005. It had the first fixed headlights in 40 years. The interior was enlarged for improved passenger comfort and offered a navigation system for the first time. Convertibles got the first Corvette power top option since 1962. The Z06 was revived in 2006 equipped with a 7.0-liter, 505-hp V-8. To cut weight, it was based on an aluminum frame and a magnesium engine cradle. In 2009, the C6 got anew ZR1 performance model called the "Blue Devil." This super Vette had a supercharged engine with 638 hp and a top speed of 205 mph. In 2010, a Grand Sport was also added to the line. It had the base 6.2-liter engine teamed with Z06 style chassis upgrades. The C7 Vette bowed in 2014 with improvements such as aluminum frames becoming standard on all models and the Stingray returning on base models. A 6.2-liter 455-hp V-8 was included. The Z06 returned in 2015 with a 6.2-liter 650-hp supercharged V-8. It offered manual and automatic gearboxes, as well as coupe and convertible styles. A Grand Sport with the base Stingray V-8 and Z06 suspension bits arrived in 2017, followed by a 2019 ZR-1 with a 755-hp 6.2L V-8. It went 0-to-60 mph in 2.8 seconds. After years of rumors, a mid-engined Corvette arrived in 2020. This C8 Corvette had a 490-hp version of the 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 (495 hp with performance exhaust). The base Z51 version did 0-to-60 in three seconds. Attached to the new engine was an eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission. The C8 featured targa-type body styling and a jet aircraft inspired interior layout. The Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Ken., began building C8s late in 2019 and the original target price for retail customers was under $60,000. Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Corvette Marks its 70th Anniversary in 2023

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

The Chevrolet Corvette will be 70 years old in 2023. The original 1953 Corvette was based on General Motor’s 1952 EX-122 show car. It was one of the few GM Motorama dream cars to actually go into production with the styling virtually unchanged.

The Corvette was created as an economical sports car for young adults. It was also something that could be used as a performance-image builder while Chey awaited a V-8. The car's fiberglass body was novel and practical. It lowered the cost of making a limited-production model. Steel-bodied Vettes were originally planned for later years.

Sports-car enthusiast and television celebrity Dave Garroway heaped a lot of praise on the pretty new Corvette in the Chevrolet sales promotion film "Halls of Wonder." Yet, many of the sports-car fans it was meant for snubbed it. Chevy did not have a hot-car image yet. The fact that Corvettes used standard 'family car' mechanical components and came with a Powerglide automatic transmission were other points of criticism.

Sales shot up dramatically in 1956. One of the main reasons was the latest Corvette had looks to match its performance. A manual transmission added to its appeal. And several prestigious racing victories contributed to its high performance image. Fuel-injection was added in 1957. In 1961, the Corvette received a new 'duck tail' rear-end.

With a major restyling, the ’63 Vette was a hit. Demand was so high customers had to wait two months or more to take delivery of their new Sting Ray split window coupe or ragtop. More aerodynamic styling was introduced in 1968 and remained until 1983.

An restyling of the aero body was done for Corvette's 25th anniversary year in 1978, adding a fastback roof line and large wraparound back window. A high-performance (L82) V-8 added horsepower. Silver Anniversary and the Indy Pace Cars were released.

No Corvettes were sold in 1983 model year, but the all-new '84 edition was worth the wait. Technical changes included an aluminum drive shaft and fiberglass springs. A new four-speed manual transmission with automatic overdrive in top the three gears was offered. A dual-injector V-8 produced 205 hp. The Corvette's price soared past $23,000.

The Vette was one of the few American cars to offer air bags in 1989, when both coupes and roadsters used a 5.7-liter 245-hp tuned port injected V-8. An exciting addition to the 1990 Corvette lineup was the ZR-1 coupe, which was engineered in conjunction with Lotus of England and the Mercury Marine Div. of Brunswick Corp., in Stillwater, Okla. The ZR-1's prime attraction was a special high-performance 5.7-liter aluminum double-
It was the 40th Anniversary of the Corvette in 1993. The occasion was marked by Chevrolet offering an optional special appearance package, available on all models, that included "ruby red" exterior and interior, anniversary badging on the hood, deck and side-gills, and seat headrests embroidered with the anniversary logo.

It was a year of transition at Bowling Green, Ky., with the fourth-generation Corvette in its final year in 1996. With the ZR-1 now history, Chevrolet introduced two special versions of the Corvette in the form of a Grand Sport Edition and Collector Edition. The Grand Sport, in its Admiral Blue, White Stripe and red "hash mark" on the left front fender finish, evoked memories of early Corvette race cars. The Collector Edition was finished in Sebring Silver and featured badging and embroidered seat headrests.

The fifth-generation Corvette of 1997 received rave reviews in the press, and after a mid-model year (January 1997) launch sold over 9,000 copies in coupe form only. Everything was new about this Corvette including the frame construction and blunt tail styling. The LS1 5.7-liter V-8 was more compact and more potent, producing 350 horsepower and 345 pound-feet of torque. Observing its 45th year in 1998, the Corvette lineup added a convertible to go with the coupe launched the year before.

The sixth-generation Vette bowed in 2005. It had the first fixed headlights in 40 years. The interior was enlarged for improved passenger comfort and offered a navigation system for the first time. Convertibles got the first Corvette power top option since 1962. The Z06 was revived in 2006 equipped with a 7.0-liter, 505-hp V-8. To cut weight, it was based on an aluminum frame and a magnesium engine cradle. In 2009, the C6 got anew ZR1 performance model called the "Blue Devil." This super Vette had a supercharged engine with 638 hp and a top speed of 205 mph. In 2010, a Grand Sport was also added to the line. It had the base 6.2-liter engine teamed with Z06 style chassis upgrades.

The C7 Vette bowed in 2014 with improvements such as aluminum frames becoming standard on all models and the Stingray returning on base models. A 6.2-liter 455-hp V-8 was included. The Z06 returned in 2015 with a 6.2-liter 650-hp supercharged V-8. It offered manual and automatic gearboxes, as well as coupe and convertible styles. A Grand Sport with the base Stingray V-8 and Z06 suspension bits arrived in 2017, followed by a 2019 ZR-1 with a 755-hp 6.2L V-8. It went 0-to-60 mph in 2.8 seconds.

After years of rumors, a mid-engined Corvette arrived in 2020. This C8 Corvette had a 490-hp version of the 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 (495 hp with performance exhaust). The base Z51 version did 0-to-60 in three seconds. Attached to the new engine was an eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission. The C8 featured targa-type body styling and a jet aircraft inspired interior layout. The Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Ken., began building C8s late in 2019 and the original target price for retail customers was under $60,000.

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Corvette Marks its 70th Anniversary in 2023

Corvette Marks its 70th Anniversary in 2023

Corvette Marks its 70th Anniversary in 2023

Corvette Marks its 70th Anniversary in 2023

2003-min

Corvette Marks its 70th Anniversary in 2023

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About John Gunnell 143 Articles
John “Gunner” Gunnell has been writing about cars since ‘72. As a kid in Staten Island, N.Y., he played with a tin Marx “Service Garage” loaded with toy vehicles, his favorite being a Hubley hot rod. In 2010, he opened Gunner’s Great Garage, in Manawa, Wis., a shop that helps enthusiasts restore cars. To no one’s surprise, he decorated 3G’s with tin gas stations and car toys. Gunner started writing for two car club magazines. In 1978, publisher Chet Krause hired him at Old Cars Weekly, where he worked from 1978-2008. Hot rodding legend LeRoi “Tex” Smith was his boss for a while. Gunner had no formal journalism training, but working at a weekly quickly taught him the trade. Over three decades, he’s met famous collectors, penned thousands of articles and written over 85 books. He lives in Iola, Wis., with his nine old cars, three trucks and seven motorcycles.

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