1953 Corvette – The Story of the First C1 Corvettes

Dateline: 5.15.12

A look back 60 years ago to how the first Corvette came to be.

I call the Corvette the “The American Automotive Horatio Alger Story.” It’s the ultimate automotive rags-to-riches story. You could also call it an automotive Cinderella story. While the C6 has taken more flack than it deserves, it’s good to look back to the very beginning to get a really clear picture of how far the Corvette has come in 60 years.

Since we’re rolling into the C6’s final year and looking forward to the new 7th generation Vette, the next several installments of my VETTE Magazine monthly column looks back at the “first” of each generation Corvette. So, let’s go back to the beginning. - Scott


In September 1951, GM’s chief of design, Harley Earl took his Le Sabre dream car to Watkins Glen for a little GM-style show’n tell.  Earl was impressed with the “sports cars” he saw there and went back to work with a new car concept for General Motors – an American sports car.

Post WW II saw the birth of plastics and glass-reinforced plastic, or “fiberglass” and Earl saw a new way to build prototypes and production cars. In February ‘52, Life Magazine presented the new space age material in a story titled “Plastic Bodies For Autos.” By March, GM was reviewing the Alembic I, a fiberglass bodied Jeep. Impressed with the new material, Earl decided to start moving on his sports car idea. Engineer Robert McLean designed a chassis layout and by April a full-size plaster model was shown to GM’s management. The following month, Ed Cole was promoted to Chief of Engineering for Chevrolet and was onboard with Earl’s project. Earl pitched his concept to GM’s president, Charles Wilson and Chevrolet general manager, Thomas Keating in June and got the approval to build a functional prototype for the GM Motorama in January 1953. The car’s working name was… “the Opel Sports Car.”

Zora Arkus-Duntov joined GM on May 1, 1953 specifically to work on the Corvette. The Corvette dream team was in place – Earl provided the beauty, Ed Cole was the car’s corporate guardian angel, and Duntov would make it all go fast. The Corvette project went from idea to show car in just 17 months and then to real car in another five months. Now that’s a modern American automotive miracle. - The End

 

Related:
Myron Scott’s Wiki page, HERE.

Vette Videos: The Life & Times of Harley Earl, HERE.

Happy Birthday Harley Earl, HERE


The above 11×17 Parchment Paper Print is available for just $24.95 + $6.95 S&H. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist. You can order your with the secure PayPal button below, or by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time.


The above 11×17 Laser-Etched Print is available for just $49.95 + $8.00 S&H. You can order your with the secure PayPal button below, or by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time.


The above 11×17 Parchment Paper Print is available for just $24.95 + $6.95 S&H. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist. You can order your with the secure PayPal button below, or by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time.


Here’s the BEST way to keep up with K. Scott Teeters’ Corvette blog!

Enter your email address:

Comments are closed.


FREE Updates


Choose Your Size Print, Color Mat & Frame


--------

K. Scott Teeters Color Corvette Art

Nostalgia Muscle & Drag Car Art

2-Drag-Racing-Art-721-Muscle-Car-Art-72

We Recommend

GDS Computer Services