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The Automotive Heritage Foundation | The Chevrolet Corvette C1 🚦

A Shunpiker's Journal
February 16, 2021 7:00 AM

AHADating back more than 60 years, the Corvette has awed American automotive enthusiasts and become one of the most recognized and revered cars globally. The first-generation Chevrolet Corvette––popularly known as the C1––was debuted in 1953 at the General Motors Motorama events in New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.

While today, the Corvette is known for being built on the Bowling Green Assembly––the only plant in the world to manufacture Corvettes––it started from humble beginnings on an assembly line in Flint, Michigan, in 1953.

Introducing the First Generation of the Corvette

Born from the mind of legendary car designer Harley Earl (pictured below), the Chevy Corvette drew inspiration from numerous sources. One particular source that Earl drew inspiration from was the European sports cars popularized by American GIs after World War II. Another design inspiration was the Nash-Healey, a two-seat luxury sports car from Nash Motors.

From these two inspirations, Earl and his team created “Project Opel” in the early 1950s, which eventually became the original Corvette we all know today.

It Takes a Village

Another notable member of the Corvette team was the “Father of the Corvette” Zora Arkus-Duntov, the head Corvette engineer. Duntov joined the team after seeing the original car at the Motorama event in New York City. He became the person responsible for much of the car’s innovations, including its racing success and the Grand Sport program’s implementation.

In 1956, Duntov and his team set a stock car record at the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb and Daytona Beach by hitting 150 mph in the flying mile. The Grand Sport program was launched in the final year of the C1 Corvette in 1962. Duntov’s program was focused on creating a lightweight racing Corvette that could compete against established marquees. Only five original Grand Sports cars were built with a 550-horsepower aluminum small-block V8 engine.

Due to their exclusivity, these incredibly rare cars ended up in the hands of private collectors.

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The World's First Supercar: The Lamborghini Miura

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A Shunpiker's Journal, hosted by Steve Purdy, covers the stories of its host and others who shun the turnpikes and freeways of America to better enjoy the businesses and life that revolve around the automobile.

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