On June 30, 2013, the Chevrolet Corvette celebrated its 60th anniversary. America’s famous sports car refused retirement and issued a renewed version.
Corvette is the world’s longest-running, continuously produced passenger car nameplate. The longest-running vehicle of any type is also a Chevrolet, the Suburban.
The Corvette debuted as a concept vehicle at the General Motors Autorama show in New York City on January 17, 1953, and the public’s excited reaction instigated GM to build a limited run of 300 production Corvettes on June 30 of that year.
Initially, the Corvette was produced exclusively as a convertible for its first 10 years of existence. Only the second-generation Corvette brought a coupe, the fixed-roof 1963 “split-window” Corvette Sting Ray. It proved to be an inspired decision, as sales doubled and it became a year-round car for drivers in colder climates.
In 60 years of continuous production, Chevrolet has made about 1.56 million Corvettes. The 500,000th Corvette was built in 1977, the 1 millionth car came in 1992, while the 1.5 millionth model rolled off the assembly line in 2009.
Today’s Corvette drivers can’t imagine life without V8 power, but in the early days, the Corvette was exclusively available with an inline six-cylinder engine until 1955. That year marked the introduction of the optional V8 engine, which subsequently was ordered by 90 percent of buyers — no wonder then that the six-cylinder unit was dropped in 1956, with the Corvette only being available with V8 power since.