Chevrolet Corvette Roadster

January 17, 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette was unveiled at the GM Motorama in New York City.

From the start, the Chevrolet Corvette was truly unique. Based on the EX-122 concept of 1952, the Corvette remains one of the few GM Motorama designs with their space age, show-car styling virtually unmodified for production. Its highly anticipated early-1953 introduction in the ballroom of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria drew over 300,000 spectators, and production commenced in Flint, Michigan on June 30, 1953.

The response to the Motorama show car was overwhelmingly positive, and production began that June in Flint, Michigan. It would change the landscape of the American road forever.

The 1953 Corvettes were built by hand and appeared nearly identical to the Motorama car. They were powered by the existing Chevrolet 235-cu.-in. 6-cylinder engine that was modified with a three-carburetor design and dual exhaust to give it more sports car-like performance. Named the Blue Flame Special, this engine generated 150 horsepower, and it was teamed with a 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. This powertrain, however, did not live up to the performance expectations of sports car buyers.

Within this gallery we have an extensive collection of the fifth Corvette built. Among its many interesting features, Number 5 is the last 1953 Corvette produced without an outside rear-view mirror, and it was one of the handful of early Corvettes fitted with a stainless-steel VIN tag, as opposed to the later aluminum version. This car was also built with a chrome speaker grille, and Corvettes 4, 5 and 6 were the only 1953 models sold to the public with basic chrome Chevrolet Bel Air hubcaps. The original frame for Corvette 5 is one of the 12 “pilot run” Corvette frames built, which were utilized for the Motorama cars, the engineering bucks and the first six production Corvettes. According to John and Melanie Kocsis, the frame for Corvette 5 is stamped #10 in two locations, the same as the number-stampings on the frame of Corvette Number 6.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2009 at the The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida, in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California and in January of 2012 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.

150 bhp, 235.5 cu. in. “Blue Flame” OHV inline six-cylinder engine, three one-barrel Carter carburetors, Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102".

Sources: RM Auctions and Mecum Auctions

Gallery: Chevrolet Corvette Roadster