Corvette Timeline Tales: July 3, 1952 – Chevrolet Management Approves Harley Earl’s Fiberglass Sports Car Project

Dateline: 7.3.11
This is the FIRST of a new series that will be looking back at important dates in Corvette history.

In his day, Harley Earl was called, “The DaVinci of Detroit.”

It all had to begine sometime. On July 3, 1952 Chevrolet management gave the approval to move forward with Harly Earl’s fiberglass sports car concept. Official work orders were issued to build two experimental bodies to be produced using a new material called “fiberglass.” Plus, two full-size functional cars for testing and evaluation. The project’s code name was “Opel Sports Car.”

Ed Cole had just been made Chief Engineer of Chevrolet and was very enthuiastic about the project. Chevrolet’s director of research and development, Maurice Olley was already sketching the new car’s frames and defining the location points of the wheels, powertrain, and body mount points.

Although fiberglass was very labor intensive, it was far less expensive than making steel stamping molds. Using the new material was a cheap way of testing the new car concept.

The name “Corvette” would not come along until the following September.


Check out our 1953 Corvette prints HERE.