Corvette Trivia

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Corvette Trivia

by Justin Whitten

Corvette Triva. The C1-C3 Corvettes were very popular in the muscle car era, and still are to this day. They’re considered by many to be the most beautiful 2-seater sports car ever produced by General Motors.

The Corvette was conceived in 1951 by GM designer Harley Earl and his special projects crew to compete with the European sports cars, in hopes that this new GM sports car would win at the track.

In 1953, the Corvette debuted at the Motorama in New York City. Chevrolet quickly set up a temporary plant in Flint Michigan, where 300 Corvettes were all hand built.

At that Motorama, Zora Arkus-Duntov was among the thousands of people who attended that event. Zora found the car to be visually superb, but was disappointed with the Corvette’s power plant. He wrote a letter to Chevrolet chief engineer Ed Cole, stating that he would love to work on such a beautiful car and included technical information on his ideas. Chevrolet was so impressed that they invited him to come to Detroit and start as an assistant staff engineer. In 1954, the Corvette offered more than just one color option and moved its facility to St Louis, MO, producing 3,640 Corvettes.

At this time, the sports car market was so small and many dealers had a hard time selling them– especially with its 155 hp 6-cylinder engine. Zora was well aware of this, and decided enough was enough. He was assigned the director of high performance at Chevrolet and went to work on the Corvette with one mission– turn the car into a red-blooded American sports car with V8 power that would challenge the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, and Mercedes-Benz. There were many other people that had a role in the Corvette world as well, such as Larry Shinoda, Bill Mitchell, Bob McLean, Jerry Palmer and Ed Cole.

production-of-the-1953-chevrolet-corvette-the-very-first-corvetteThe first Corvettes were produced in Flint, Michigan beginning on June 30, 1953. Only 300 Corvettes were built for that year, all were Polo White with red interiors.

Here are some fun interesting facts about Corvettes-

  • Just hours before the Corvette’s debut at the Motorama show in New York the logo was changed because it contained an American Flag– forbidden on commercial products.
  • On Tuesday, June 30, 1953, Corvette #1 (serial number E53F001001), rolled off the assembly line. Corvette production had begun! This Corvette was said to be destroyed, but no records to date prove that fact and there were no witnesses to the destruction. This one may show up someday…
  • Corvette was named for a small fast class of naval ships. Myron Scott, Chevrolet’s chief photographer, is credited with coming up with the Corvette name for this famous sports car.
  • In 1953, Corvettes were offered in any color you wanted…as long as it was Polo White with Red interior.
  • Luxury amenities such as leather seats, air conditioning, and power steering were first available in the 1963 Corvette. This was also the famous “split” rear window for the first C2 design. The split window coupe has since been called one of the most beautiful and influential designs in automotive history.
  • Side mounted exhaust systems first appeared in 1965.
  • 1968 was the first year an AM/FM stereo radio was offered as an option. This was also the first C3 design. Many changes took place in 1969.
  • 1974 was the last year Corvette to ran on “leaded” gasoline. This was also the last year for the true dual exhaust.
  • 1976 was the only year Corvette that used a Chevy Vega 4 spoke design steering wheel.
  • 1981: all Corvettes were computer-equipped. This was also the year GM moved Corvette production from St. Louis, MO to Bowling Green, KY.

ZoraArkusDuntov_1500
Zora Arkus-Duntov

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Comments

  1. Paul Reed says:

    Hi All you Corvetteheads!
    I live in South Africa and have been a Corvette fan since the 70’s.
    I currently drive a C3,my second Vette and before that a 25th Anniversary C3.
    Corvettes are an amazing car ,mine have given me little trouble and many hours and miles of incredible fun!
    What a car!
    Good for you GM,keeping the American Dream a reality!
    Drive safe
    Paul

  2. This is when the GM engineers had a number two pencil, yellow graph paper and directive to design the most stylish and beautiful cars in the world. Mission accomplished! Thanks for such incredible cars. Keep the American dream alive.

  3. bob silverman says:

    I have a c5 2003,I have customized it from head to toe.my vette fits me.

  4. bob silverman says:

    I have a c5 2003,I have customized it from head to toe.my vette fits me. I love my vette got it on my 6th birthday.

  5. eugene welniak says:

    I have had eight corvettes, my current one is aa 65 coupe in restoration as we speak. it was a 350 hp 4 speed posi car with no options, black with a silver vinyl interior radio delete car.i am keeping it as close to original as possible with the addition of grand am flares and a/c. may be my last one.

  6. Dr. Paul Saver says:

    I’ve own several Corvettes over the years including my current one a Showroom condition 1995 with 12,000
    miles on it…….The one I miss the most is a 1968 427 435 hp. tir-power that I sold many years ago to buy the little White Picket Fence in Suburbia. The cute little blond is gone as is the White Picket Fence…….and I would buy back the ’68 in a heartbeat if I could find it.

  7. C. Ryan says:

    I have owned my

    I have owned my C-1 for 50 years…How many stories it has been the subject of… How many memories it has developed….. Currently doing a refurbish and looking forward to many more years on the road, this one is a driver. Thanks Chevrolet !!

  8. C. Ryan says:

    I have owned my C-1 for 50 years. What stories it has, what memories it has delivered. Currently doing a refurbish and will hit the road again. Looking forward to more years on the road with this old friend.

    I have owned my C-1 for 50 years…How many stories it has been the subject of… How many memories it has developed….. Currently doing a refurbish and looking forward to many more years on the road, this one is a driver. Thanks Chevrolet !!

  9. C. Ryan says:

    I have owned my C-1 for 50 years. What stories it has, what memories it has delivered. Currently doing a refurbish and will hit the road again. Looking forward to more years on the road with this old friend. Thanks Chevrolet

    I have owned my C-1 for 50 years…How many stories it has been the subject of… How many memories it has developed….. Currently doing a refurbish and looking forward to many more years on the road, this one is a driver. Thanks Chevrolet !!

  10. I was a Chevy lover and then I test drove my first Corvette, 2 year old ’64 rag-top and I was hooked. Bought it on the spot. Have had many used Corvettes and in 1972 I ordered my first new & “loaded” ’73 as a pleasure “ride”, WOW ! Still have it. I wanted the model that the front end tilts up and open and I did some researched the C4 years and found a “cherry” ’96 and bought it in the spot, what a fine machine ! WOW-WOW !! I don’t ‘ believe there any “bad” Corvette’s, just some that e better than others !
    MIkeyK_Florida

    • I too have a 73-convo – 4 spd Elkhart green that I bought new. Ordered with base engine and few options. 184 k miles and now red tho.

  11. John Young says:

    I have owned my C-2 1967 427 Elkhart Blue Convertible for 44 years. I bought it in 1972 when I came back from the Army. I have the original hardtop and the soft top is teal in color. I take it to a lot of local shows and it amazes me how many people come up to me and want to know about the car or want to tell me about their past experience as an owner or about the “one that got away”. It also has side pipes, close ratio 4 speed with 3.70 gears. It has been and remains an amazing car. There are many stories about the car which I share at shows, but when I think about growing up with a car like this that I purchased for $2,400, it even makes me wonder what I did to deserve such a great vehicle. The Corvette Fairy has indeed blessed me. Thank you Chevrolet for making one of the most desirable cars ever built.

  12. Mike Young says:

    Well I would think that here are a lot of stories out here, but I purchased my first Corvette in 1983. The ad in the Austin News read. “1967 Chevrolet convertible driven very little for sale”. It only ran one Sunday, and three weeks later I was making a fire in the back yard to burn trash when the ad re-appeared from the ashes. It just would not burn! The wife and I had just moved to San Marcos Tx and I told her this was an “sign”. So I called. Mrs Cramer, who answered the phone and with joy in her voice announced that “I was the only person who had called about “her little car”. I thought “little”? She talked for 30 minutes to tell me he husband was the Chev dealer in Austin for 50 years and they bought the car for their only son. Tragically, he was killed in an automobile accident as a freshman at University of Texas and her husband refused to sell the car until his death (four weeks prior). When I asked her, what color it was she replied “Marlboro Maroon with a new white top and white interior”, and that her husband drove the car around their home in the “Onion Creek” community every Sunday since 1967.

    I finally asked how she got a full size Chevrolet in maroon and her reply was, ” Oh, its not full size, did I not put in the ad it was a Corvette”? It took me 25 minutes to drive to Austin (40 plus miles), a security guard and an invite got me to Mrs Cramers house. When we were greeted at the door a little frail lady (87) meet us and hugged the wife (that sealed the deal). We went to the garage (6 car no doubt) and only two vehicles – a new Caddy and a car covered with sheets so yellow that I thought, this may be a mistake. On the hood adorned the car was a cat litter box, yes, a cat litter box. But, after we removed the stuff there stood a ’67 Vette with 1750 miles!. When I got the courage to ask how much “she asked is $3000.00 too much?” Donna (wife), (wrote the check walking to the garage – before I could ask for it). The paint had cracked but the car was complete and no stress marks on the fiberglass seams. NOS parts were piled everywhere, crying to be restored.(seat covers , door panels, carpet, a battery, etc.even a set on new NOS red line tires (covered in some protective material!) Apparently, the husband knew that one day someone would restore this vehicle and we did. The original paperwork (invoice was on the drivers seat). Only options, red line tires (a push button radio AM/FM????, post, close ratio 4 speed and that was it. A three year project. Mrs Cramer never lived to see the finished project.

    I later gave in to my wife (now of 39 years) to sell and buy her furniture and me a 65 GTO to restore. Biggest mistake I ever made. Car sit today in K.C. with it’s 3rd owner I am told. We put 20m miles on her in the hill country. Gosh what great days.

    The wife now drives her ’15 Corvette, 7 speed manual…(no auto for this gal)…65 years young and still loves to go fast. Color, yep, Crystal Red Metallic fully loaded with special “red line tires”. We now live in the western mountains of N.C. where I can enjoy the “good old days” retired and happy. God, you have got to love this country and Chevrolet!

    MikeY Deals Gap N.C.

  13. I never in my life thought that i would ever owned a corvette! Well back in January i purchased a 1977 corvette it had 1 owner good condition it had 104,000 miles on it. Had my mechanic look had it he told to buy it! Did some work on it paint job new tires and rims looks great! Still can’t believe its mine! So happy!

  14. Patrick Martin says:

    I have been a Corvette lover almost my whole life. My love corvettes started the day my mom brought home a 1972 corvette stingray. Wow what a car, we kept that car in the family for many years but sadly as things in life happen I sold the car when my mom last her job. It took me 20 years to save to buy a new one and last year I bought my dream corvette. I bought a 2007 corvette ZO6. What a wonderful car this car will never leave me and will be in my family for many years to come

  15. Scott Bartusch says:

    I purchased a Polo Green 1996 C4 Coupe last year. It is a great daily driver that always wins at USMA and other cars shows for best of class. It allows me to be part of a special crowd of American muscle car owners that can enjoy a day out with other car enthusiasts. A C4 Corvette is a very affordable beginning to a long and happy relationship with the greatest American sports car. I look forward to my next great vette to come.

  16. Steve V. says:

    I have a c/4 and a c/5, 94 and a 99. Both are very nice daily drivers that are very reliable and a blast to drive! When people ask me why I own two. My reply is always the same, because I cant afford a third. Hopefully I will soon.

  17. Robert F. says:

    October 18, 1969 was the day I bought my new 1969 vette coupe. Came with M-21 4 speed, 350/350hp, side exhaust, 3.73 rear, red with black interior.Still have it and the many great memories associated with it over the years.

  18. Warrewyk says:

    Without doubt when I set eyes on the C3 design I had to have one. Corvette ownership has allowed me to meet some amazing people around the world and even share a meal with Dave & Glenda McLellan and on another occassion John Cafaro. Not bad for an Aussie kid who was told in 1975, “Stop dreaming Corvettes aren’t even sold in Australia.”
    And yes local laws at the time forced me to convert my car to Right a Hand Drive – not a cheap exercise. Thanks to all who created the dream and are keeping the dream alive.

  19. I have always loved the car and 3 years ago bought a pristine 1999 C5 with less than 9000 miles on it. I then joined the local Corvette Club and the rest is history. This year i bought a new white C7 to go with the black C5. I love Steve’s answer above and think i might borrow it when people ask about why I have two. I have found nothing but pleasure with the car and the people who drive them. Great experience!

  20. Bill Law says:

    Like you article, fun and informative. Small update for you..orderd my 66 with am/fm radio, so they were at least available as far back as ’66

  21. Mike,Chmielewski says:

    Great Article, thanks.
    Sure, there are more facts covering corvettes across the years. Related to my 1989 C4, the first year for computer controlled suspension, only approximately 1500 made that year with that option. Also, 1990, first year for airbags, with that year, having drivers side AB.

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