60 Years of the Chevrolet Corvette

We celebrate 60 years of the Chevrolet Corvette as we count down to the seventh-generation's unveiling on January 13, 2013.

December 17, 2012
Chevrolet first introduced the Corvette C1 (for Corvette, generation 1)back in 1953 with production of the first-generation sports car running through 1962. The Chevrolet Corvette C1 was rushed into production after the concept vehicle received such high praise from the public. Unfortunately for Chevy, the public's praise didn't translate into sales and consequently, only 300 units were produced. When the Corvette first became available, you could only get it with a polo white exterior, a red interior, and a black soft-top. In fact, the first-generation of Corvettes were only offered as convertibles; coupe fans would have to wait until the fastback-bodied C2 in 1963. Besides only being available as a convertible, the Corvette C1 was also known for its solid axle as independent rear suspension wasn't available until the 1963 String Ray debuted. In 1955, Chevy introduced its small-block V-8 engine rated at 195 horsepower, and mated it to the Powerglide automatic transmission. An all-new three-speed manual transmission came along later on in the year, giving 'Vette owners two choices for a gearbox. For the 1957 model year, the Corvette went through its first round of restyling, but many still considered it a twin to the 1956 model. A four-speed manual transmission also became available in mid-1957, as well. Chevy did away with the abundance of chrome and four headlights for the 1958 model year in favor of a two headlight configuration. The interior was also gently updated, and an 8,000 RPM tachometer made its one-time only debut in the Corvette. Chevy did away with it the following year and had another different instrument cluster configuration and added a glovebox on the passenger's side.
By 1962, Corvette had two different engine choices, making it the quickest at that current time. The 1962 model year cars were literally a hodgepodge of styling; an all-new Corvette was slated to debut, but was delayed. This meant the 1962 models previewed the 1963 rear end styling, making it the first Corvette to have the car's now-signature four-taillight design. The front end, however, still had the face of the previous-year's model. But the changes to come for the second-generation Corvette were substantial, and extended far beyond just revolutionary styling.
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