Sixty years ago today the first Corvette debuted at the Motorama in New York City. The rest – as they say – is history. Commemorating the event Chevrolet is returning to the Big Apple with the new C7 Corvette Stingray that was debuted in Detroit earlier this week.
“The all-new 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most advanced and engaging Corvette in the long, prestigious legacy of this uniquely American success story,” said Chris Perry vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. “It is a car woven into the fabric of American culture and it got its start right here in the Big Apple.”
That first Corvette introduction was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Jan. 17, 1953, and Chevy says more than 1.4 million people viewed the new futuristic sports car that year at displays all around the country.
Based on the enthusiastic response to Corvette, Chevy accelerated production plans for the vehicle and released 300 models beginning in June of that year at an assembly facility in Flint, Mich.
In a post earlier this week regarding debuts this week at the North American International Auto Show I stated that the Atlas Concept pickup from Ford may be the most significant unveiling at the show and that was primarily based on the fact that F-Series pickups are the top-seller of all vehicles in North America.
The introduction of the newest Corvette, C7, may not have as much impact on the industry in terms of sales but at the end of the day will most likely hold the most interest and come out on top in terms of online search. It probably also stirs the most emotions.
Here are some Corvette fun facts:
• The Corvette was originally championed by GM’s legendary styling director Harley Earl, who insisted there was room for an American entry in the European-dominated sports car market. It was also his idea for Corvette to have a fiberglass body.
• Corvette was named for a small and fast class of naval ships.
• The 1953 Corvette had a base price of $3,498 and offered only two options – a heater for $91 and an AM radio for $145.
• Every Corvette model has used innovative materials, from fiberglass in 1953 to advanced carbon-nano technology and carbon fiber on the 2014 Corvette Stingray.
• A V-8 engine was first available in 1955. That year, it was selected by 90 percent of customers. After that, all Corvettes featured strictly V-8 power.
• The Stingray name was first used for a prototype race car, the design of which influenced the second-generation Corvette that debuted in 1963. The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray split-window coupe has since been called one of the most beautiful and influential designs in automotive history.
• Corvette’s legacy of mainstreaming technology previously reserved for high-end luxury cars includes the introduction of fuel injection in 1957, independent rear suspension in 1963, four-wheel disc brakes in 1965, antilock brakes in 1986 and a tire-pressure monitoring system in 1989.
• Corvette is the longest-running, continually produced sports car in the world• Nearly 2 million Chevrolet Corvettes have been sold since it went on sale in 1953 and in 2012, it accounted for approximately one-third of all sports car sales in America.
At the same time Chevy was taking the wraps off the new ‘Vette in Detroit, gaming fans were getting the opportunity to see the camouflage taken off the Corvette prototype that was introduced into Gran Turismo 5 video games. All six previous generations of Corvette had been available to players of the Gran Turismo series and the game maker says Chevy remains one of the most popular vehicles to race.
More news coming from Chevrolet this week regarding the new Corvette Stingray model is that the vehicle carrying VIN 0001 will be auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson collector car event in Scottsdale this weekend. The car should cross the auction stage sometime Saturday evening, Jan. 19, and bids can be submitted in person or online at www.barrett-jackson.com
“The new Stingray features a modern, dramatic design that will inspire a new generation of Corvette enthusiasts,” said Ed Welburn, GM vice president of global design. “With the proceeds of the new Stingray going to the CCS (College for Creative Studies), the new Corvette will also help cultivate the next generation of designers who may work on modern, dramatic Chevrolets in the future. In fact more than 170 CCS alumni already work in the GM Design studios.”