The Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most well known classic cars in the world. Named after a small, maneuverable warship, the Corvette has been produced over seven generations. It’s also been used on the racing circuit, making it a versatile vehicle. The Corvette has a rich history, and here are six things you might not have known about the car.
The first Corvettes were made out of fibreglass
In 1953, fibreglass was chosen for the body of the first Corvette. Lightweight and rust-proof, fibreglass was an advanced material for the time. It was chosen because steel was rare after being rationed during WW2.
The first Corvettes were too advanced
As the Corvette was the first fibreglass car General Motors mass produced, the factory wasn’t equipped to handle the new tech. The first few cars that were made wouldn’t start. So, instead of being driven off the assembly line, the cars had to be pushed.
The Corvette was inspired by European sports cars
Harley Earl, the inventor of the Corvette, got the idea for the car when travelling in Europe during WW2. It’s said he was inspired most by the Jaguar XK120 and that it influenced his decision to build a small American sports car.
The original logo was illegal
Originally, the Corvette logo consisted of a checkered flag and American flag. However, it had to be changed because using the US flag in a trademark is illegal. The new logo became the bowtie logo that is seen today.
Astronauts and Corvettes have a connection
After Alan Shepard became the first American in space, he was given a special 1962 Corvette by General Motors. Shepard already owned a 1957 Corvette and this sparked a connection that lasted several years. Six of the other Mercury astronauts followed Shepard’s example. Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom and Shepard duelled in their Corvettes and Grissom upgraded his to make it faster.
In 1969, Apollo 12 astronauts Charles Conrad, Alan Bean and Dick Gordon ordered custom 390-hp 47 Stingray coupes. The photo of the three of them sitting on top of their Corvettes has become iconic.
Corvette only had a split window in 1963
The 1963 version of the Corvette is one of the rarest on the market because it was the only model to feature a split rear window. The car was the creation of William Mitchell, a man who had an interest in marine life. He was also responsible for designing the Stingray. The split window was discontinued because of the visibility issue with the car.