The ‘Vette started its life as a humble small convertible, designed by General Motors chief designer Harley J. Earl. He came up with the idea of using a concept car not only for R&D activities, but to make a revolutionary sports car as an answer to the European cars in this segment in the 1950s. He used the existing Chevy inline-six engine, tuned to deliver 150 horsepower (112 kilowatts), and put it into a fiberglass body. A light, efficient, and inexpensive formula.
The concept vehicle was set to debut at the 1953 New York Auto Show when Chevy chief engineer Ed Cole decided the company has to sell it as a production model, after taking one look at the finished product. The study became a production model practically overnight. The name Corvette was introduced.
The model hit the dealerships in late 1953 and became the first American mass sports car. Built by Americans for Americans, so, obviously… Americans didn’t buy it. And there was one simple reason for that – the original Corvette looked great, but was terrible to drive, especially compared to the European sports cars of that era.
A new V8 came to the rescue, replacing the inline-six engine and boosting the power to 195 hp (145 kW). Suddenly, the Corvette became a popular car and Chevy further increased its appeal by adding a removable hardtop in 1956. The legend was finally born.
Then came the second generation Corvette – a much better-looking and better-engineered car. The C2 was brought to life with the significant help of Zora Arkus-Duntov, who is now referred to as the father of the Corvette.
What happened next with the American icon? Watch the video at the top, where James Pumphrey from Donut Media tells the whole story of the Corvette in 10 minutes.
Source: Donut Media on YouTube