On June 30, 1953, the first Chevrolet Corvette was completed. Conceived as the "dream car" of GM Chief Designer Harley Earl, the original Corvette was crafted by hand.
The Corvette quickly became THE American luxury sports car. The body styles have changed throughout the years, but the Corvette brand remains a cult favorite for folks who love classic American styling, big motors, and speed. Famous Corvette owners include John Wayne and Matthew McConaughey. Seriously, does it get any cooler than that?
The Corvette is also one of Kentucky's most famous exports. The Bowling Green GM plant has produced every single 'Vette for the past thirty-four years. If you've ever taken a trip from Louisville to Nashville on I-65, you know that Corvette owners from across the country love to drive their cars to festivities at the plant and the museum next door. It's a really cool, surreal experience to see a caravan of Corvettes heading down the highway!
In honor of the Corvette's birthday, (and just because I love any opportunity to drop a little Matthew McConaughey and Steve Sanders into a HerKentucky post), here's some fun Corvette trivia:
- The name "corvette" comes from a small, highly maneueverable naval warship. The Middle French term is derived from the Dutch "corf", meaning "small ship."
- The 1953 Corvette had a base price of $3,498.00; optional accessories were a heater ($91.40) and an AM radio ($145.15). The model came in one color combination: polo white with a black soft top, red wheels, and a red interior.
- In 1981, production of Corvettes was moved to Bowling Green. New 'Vettes from Bowling Green included clear coat paint and the fiberglass-reinforced rear monoleaf spring.
- There was no 1983 Corvette. 1982 was the last year for the C3 model. Although a handful of prototypes were built in 1983, the focus was on the redesign for 1984's C4, which included a one-piece removable roof panel and digital instruments. 1982 was the last year you could purchase the optional eight-track tape deck in a Corvette.
- In February 2014, a sinkhole measuring 40 feet across and 25-30 feet deep damaged the National Corvette Museum, which is located across the street from the Bowling Green plant. Several special edition cars, including the one millionth Corvette, were impacted.
Happy Birthday to the Corvette! If Steve Sanders loves you, then you must be legit.