Corvette cars have been around since 1953, making this iconic sports car the longest-running production vehicle of its kind in the world. Here are some fun and fascinating facts about this American classic, from the year it first hit the road to where you can find one today!
1) The first Corvette was built in 1953
The first Corvette was built in 1953 and it is still known as one of the most iconic cars ever. It has gone through many changes over the years, but it has never lost its original design. The first edition of the car had an inline six-cylinder engine and produced 150 horsepower. In 1958, they switched to a V8 engine that produced 300 horsepower.
2) The Chevrolet Corvette was named after a small, maneuverable warship
The first Chevrolet Corvettes were introduced in 1953 and have been loved by car lovers ever since. Here are ten of the most interesting historical facts about iconic cars, some true, some not so much.
- Rumor has it that the original Corvette was inspired by a type of candy called Tootsie Roll. It’s more likely that Bill Mitchell, an automotive designer at General Motors, used his childhood memories to come up with the design for the first Corvettes.
3) The original 1953 Corvette was only available in white
The original 1953 Corvette was only available in white and was priced at $3,800. It had a 150-horsepower 3.8-liter engine that gave the car a top speed of 120 miles per hour. Early on, buyers could choose from any color they wanted as long as it was black. By 1955, the price dropped to $2,741 while power increased to 180 horsepower thanks to an increase in displacement to 4.6 liters.
4) The first Corvette with a V8 engine was the 1955 model
The first Corvette with a V8 engine was the 1955 model. The engine was an Oldsmobile V8 that produced 210 horsepower and was connected to an automatic transmission. This model also had a fiberglass body, making it much lighter than previous models, though it wasn’t quite as strong. It weighed in at just over 2200 pounds.
5) The 1963 Corvette Stingray was the first production car with hidden headlights
The 1963 Corvette Stingray was the first production car with hidden headlights. This innovative design eliminated the need for a bumper and increased visibility. The Stingray’s styling is also distinctive, with a long hood, an aggressive stance, and a rounded fastback rear decklid.
6) The 1968 Corvette was the first with side exhaust pipes
The 1968 Corvette was the first with side exhaust pipes. The car had a new 427 cubic-inch engine that produced 390 horsepower and an impressive 490 pound-feet of torque. This made it the most powerful American production car at the time.
Unlike its predecessors, which were largely hand-built, General Motors decided to build the 1968 Corvette on a unitized frame that was shared with other GM cars and trucks.
7) The 1970 Corvette was the first with a rear window defogger
The 1970 Corvette was the first with a rear window defogger, and it also was the first to offer four-wheel disc brakes. Chevrolet’s goal for the ’70 model year was to produce a car that would compete with European models like Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini.
8) The 1975 Corvette was the first with an airbag
The 1975 Corvette was the first to have an airbag, and this helped make it one of the safest cars of its day. It also had a small luggage compartment underneath the hood, which made it easier for drivers to keep things near them while driving. Other cool features from that year include a 3-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel disc brakes.
9) The 1990 Corvette was the first with a driver’s side airbag
The 1990 Corvette was the first with a driver’s side airbag. It also had an improved suspension system and could reach speeds of over 150 miles per hour. The following year, GM introduced a convertible version for the first time, which is still in production today.
10) The 2009 Corvette was the first with a six-speed automatic transmission
The 2009 Corvette was the first with a six-speed automatic transmission. It also had an improved suspension and the new LS3 engine, which was rated at 430 horsepower and 424 lb-ft of torque. Production totaled 7,400 units.
This is the sixth generation of the corvette