For car lovers around the world, the Chevrolet Corvette is still one of the most revered – so what’s all the fuss about, and how have they remained so popular?
With more than sixty years of production and eight design generations behind its name, the Corvette has long been regarded as the darling of the Chevrolet automotive brand. Few vehicles have ever received the widespread popularity and longevity that the Corvette has received for all these years, and even now it’s still regarded as ‘America’s Sports Car’.
The Corvette became synonymous with freedom and adventure, and whilst originally named after a literal warship, it’s considered to be both the most successful concept car in history, and the most popular sports car in history. However, if the Chevrolet is still the automotive version of “The American Dream” – where did it all begin?
The Origins Of The Chevrolet Corvette
Formally known as the Chevrolet Division of General Motors, the ‘Chevy’ brand as we know it was originally founded in 1911 by Louis Chevrolet, and none other than William C. Durant. For the uninitiated, Durant was actually the original founder of General Motors – that is, before he was unceremoniously ousted from the board. Durant went on to use the Chevrolet Motor Car Company to acquire a controlling stake in General Motors with a reverse merger, propelling himself back into the General Motors presidency in 1918. However, Durant was only ‘back in the driver’s seat’ for one short year, before being ousted again in 1919.
Marketed as ‘a car for every purse and purpose’, the Chevrolet brand went on to become the volume leader in the General Motors diverse family of automobile subsidiaries, selling mainstream vehicles designed to compete with the likes of the Ford Motor Company. The strategy worked, and Chevrolet went on to overtake Ford as America’s best selling car brand in 1929.
The direction and vision of Chevrolet changed rapidly with the onset of World War II, and the production of consumer automobiles quickly shifted to that of military grade trucks in the Canadian and American factories. Once the war was over, the 1950’s signalled a new era for Americans. Life was good, and it was time to think big – and that included cars.
The very first Corvette was actually unveiled as a show car for the 1953 General Motors Motorama, held January 17-23 at New York’s exclusive Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. At the time, Chevrolet General manager Thomas H. Keating indicated that the car was still six to twelve months away from being ready to hit the production line. However, public enthusiasm for the Corvette certainly generated enough ‘buzz’ to speed this up, and the first Corvette was released to the public in June that same year.
That model, the C1 Chevrolet Corvette, was produced between 1953 and 1962. Although it was a lightweight fiberglass-bodied two-door roadster, the C1 Corvette was a far cry from the performance icon the Corvette would become. Under the hood sat a 150-horsepower 3.9-litre I-6 paired with a two-speed automatic transmission, so while sales were initially slow to start, it certainly provided a good starting point.
In turn, a major face-lift in 1956 signalled a good time to banish the I-6 and give the V8 a power bump, ranging from 210 to 240 hp, with the three-speed manual becoming the standard transmission. Fuel injection – dubbed Ramjet – was made available in 1957 and boosted power further to 283 hp, giving the Corvette 1 horsepower per cubic inch of engine, and the first sign that it was about to become a legend amongst car lovers internationally.
Despite having a few breaks on and off over the years, the Corvette is still in production today. Perhaps it’s the variety that people love, but you could easily argue that many auto enthusiasts love it for the down-home heritage of the car. Growing up, many young car fans have had the chance to see the Chevy Corvette thanks to the simple fact that they are more common than many exotic makes thanks to both affordability and popularity – a rare combo for a classic car of its reputation.
How To Get Your Hands On A Corvette
As a piece of American history, a social experience and an all round affordable classic sports car, owning a Corvette has been on the bucket list for many car lovers young and old – but where do you find one?
Finding a fellow vintage auto enthusiast can feel a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, but rest assured that Classic’s Garage understands the thrill more than most. Having spent forty years collecting anything and everything from matchbox cars to hub caps, he’s successfully followed his passion to source, collect and stock beautiful and low mileage classic automobiles from around the world. With extensive experience in the automotive industry, it was only a matter of time before Wayne expanded on his love of vintage, iconic vehicles to share his knowledge and passion with the public.
Although his passion is for automobiles built before 1978, with a particular love for Buicks, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Oldsmobiles and even Fords, Wayne is just as passionate about the stories of the owners. Just like the cars, he has found that his fellow classic car enthusiasts all have wildly different attractions and logic behind their passion or hobby, and this often translates into how the car is presented. If it’s even remotely different, rare or just plain unusual, Wayne will overcome the relevant logistical and geographical challenges of bringing the cars to his showroom in Australia.
Classic’s Garage is a showroom conveniently located at Seventeen Mile Rocks, that specialises in the restoration and sales of vintage automobiles. In fact, he’s even got a fully restored 1993 Chevrolet Corvette 40th Anniversary model in stock right now. If you’re on the hunt for Brisbane classic cars – quite simply, Wayne is your man. If you would like to arrange a viewing or inspect any other of our classic vehicles, please get in touch with us today.