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The Chevy Corvette name is synonymous with sleek styling, smooth handling, and the raw power of an American-built sports car.
It is widely known as “America’s Sports Car”, so we’ve dug up some interesting facts that you might not know:
Launched in 1953 GM Motorama
Zora Arkus-Duntove, an engineer of Chevrolet, saw the Corvette’s concept at 1953 GM Motorama, was impressed by the design but disappointed with its power. In response, he presented a technical paper of the improved design to Ed Cole, the chief engineer of Chevrolet. Fascinated by his design, Cole hired him for the project and Arkus-Duntove continued to improve Corvette’s performance for 20 years.
The Second Generation C2 Launched in 1963
The second generation (C2) Corvette, which introduced Sting Ray to the model, continued with fiberglass body panels, and overall, was smaller than the first generation.
The Stingray Was Inspired by a Real Shark
The Stingray was designed by Bill Mitchell and first released in 1963. The legend goes that he caught a shark while he was on a fishing expedition, and eventually he had the head stuffed. He found inspiration for a new car based on the appearance of the shark, and even had the initial Stingray prototype repainted multiple times in order to get an exact match for the color of the shark’s skin.
This may not be wholly true – it could just be a tall tale – but either way, it is a fun story that gives a cool backstory to the most popular Corvette model of the 1960s.
The Third Generation C3 Launched in 1968
The C3 generation was scheduled to launch in 1967 but was delayed because Arkus-Duntove was not satisfied with the aerodynamics of the model and wanted to resolve the problems in the wind tunnel. However, in the 1967 Corvette Stingray, the exterior trim fender vents and hood were removed and retooled.
Corvette C3 Pace Car
Corvette C3 was selected as a pace car for the first time in 1978 for Indianapolis 500. It had black over the red and silver metallic colored body with red pinstripes. The Indy Pace Cars limited edition replicas were also launched and their cross-flag logo was replaced with a special anniversary logo.
Third Generation Corvette C4 Launch
The fourth-generation production began in January 1983 and was available to customers in March (1983).
The C4 generation had a lot of features different from the previous generations. Its rear bumpers and panels were of molded plastic instead of fiberglass and had unibody assembly instead of a separate body on frame construction.
It also came with an electronic dashboard and a digital liquid crystal display. A special 40th Anniversary Edition was released in 1993, which featured a commemorative Ruby Red color, 40th-anniversary badges, and embroidered seat backs.
The 1993 Corvette also marked the introduction of the Passive Keyless Entry System, making it the first GM car to feature it.
The Grand Sport (GS) was released in 1996
Chevrolet released the Grand Sport (GS) version in 1996 to mark the end of production of the C4 Corvette.
The Grand Sport moniker was a nod to the original Grand Sport model produced in 1963. A total of 1,000 GS Corvettes were produced, 810 as coupes, and 190 as convertibles.
The Grand Sport was only available in Admiral Blue with a white stripe down the middle, black wheels, and two red stripes on the front left wheel arch.
Fourth Generation Corvette C5 Launch
Production of the C5 Corvette began in 1996 but due to manufacturing issues it was not released to the public in mass until 1997.
Production continued through to the 2004 model. The C5 was a completely new design that featured many new concepts and manufacturing breakthroughs that would be carried forward to the C6 & C7.
For its first year, the C5 was available only as a coupe, although the new platform was designed from the ground up to be a convertible, which returned in 1998, followed by the fixed-roof coupe (FRC) in 1999.
Sixth Generation Corvette C5 Launch
The Corvette C6 was launched in 2005 and was not a complete redesign of the C5. The refinement of the C5 Corvette included a wider wheelbase, the retractable headlights were replaced with fixed units, and the C6 brought a new and improved interior.