Chevrolet Silverado HD (2017)

Chevrolet Silverado HD (2017)
Chevrolet Camaro SS Indy 500 Pace Car (2016)

Chevrolet Camaro SS Indy 500 Pace Car (2016)
Chevrolet Corvette C1 (1953)


Chevrolet Corvette C1

The Chevrolet Corvette C1 is a sporty automobile produced from 1953 through 1962. It is the first generation of Chevrolet Corvettes built and marketed by Chevrolet.

Design

While the style of a car may be just as important to some as to how well the car runs, automobile manufacturers did not begin to pay attention to car designs until the 1920s. It was not until 1927, when General Motors hired designer Harley Earl, that automotive styling and design became important to American automobile manufacturers. What Henry Ford did for automobile manufacturing principles, Harley Earl did for car design. Most of GM's flamboyant "dream car" designs of the 1950s are directly attributable to Earl, leading one journalist to comment that the designs were "the American psyche made visible." Harley Earl loved sports cars, and GIs returning after serving overseas World War II were bringing home MGs, Jaguars, Alfa Romeos and the like. Earl convinced GM that they needed to build a two-seat sports car. The result was the 1953 Corvette, unveiled to the public at that year's Motorama car show. The original Corvette emblem incorporated an American flag into the design; this was later dropped, since associating the flag with a product was frowned upon.

Taking its name from the corvette, a small, maneuverable fighting frigate (the credit for the naming goes to Myron Scott), the first Corvettes were virtually handbuilt in Flint, Michigan in Chevrolet's Customer Delivery Center, now an academic building at Kettering University. The outer body was made out of a revolutionary new composite material called fiberglass, selected in part because of steel quotas left over from the war. Underneath that radical new body were standard Chevrolet components, including the "Blue Flame" inline six-cylinder truck engine, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, and drum brakes from Chevrolet's regular car line. Though the engine's output was increased somewhat, thanks to a triple-carburetor intake exclusive to the Corvette, performance of the car was decidedly lackluster. Compared to the British and Italian sports cars of the day, the Corvette was underpowered, required a great deal of effort as well as clear roadway to bring to a stop, and even lacked a "proper" manual transmission. Up until that time, the Chevrolet division was GM's entry-level marque, known for excellent but no-nonsense cars. Nowhere was that more evident than in the Corvette. A Paxton supercharger became available in 1954 as a dealer-installed option, greatly improving the Corvette's straight-line performance, but sales continued to decline.

Chevrolet Nomad (1954)

Chevrolet Nomad (1954)
Chevrolet Nomad (1957)

Chevrolet Nomad (1957)
Chevrolet Stingray Racer Concept (1959)

Chevrolet Stingray Racer Concept (1959)
Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark Concept (1961)

Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark Concept (1961)
Chevrolet Corvette C2 (1963)

Chevrolet Corvette C2 (1963)
Chevrolet Corvette Manta Ray Concept (1965)

Chevrolet Corvette Manta Ray Concept (1965)
Chevrolet Impala Super Sport (1966)

Chevrolet Impala Super Sport (1966)