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10 Fast Facts About the First Corvette

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Happy birthday to the Corvette, which turns 63 today! The classic sports car may be approaching retirement age, but it doesn't look like it will be driving off into the sunset anytime soon. In honor of the big day, check out these 10 facts about the OG Corvette.

1. THE C1 DEBUTED AT THE GENERAL MOTORS MOTORAMA ON JANUARY 17, 1953.

The first Corvette, now known as C1, made its debut as a concept vehicle at the General Motors auto show in New York City. Held at the Waldorf-Astoria and featuring dancers, singers, and an orchestra, the 1953 Motorama also marked the debuts of the Buick Wildcat, the Oldsmobile Starfire, and the Cadillac Orleans.

2. IT’S NAMED AFTER A SMALL WARSHIP.

Though it was originally called "Project Opel," the board expressed interest in a “C” name for the alliterative effect. So Chevrolet PR exec Myron Scott grabbed a dictionary and started flipping through. When he ran across the word “corvette,” which refers to a fast ship that’s easy to maneuver, Scott knew he was onto something. He was right—the name was quickly approved (after rounds and rounds of previous attempts).

3. PRODUCTION WAS LIMITED TO JUST 300—BUT THEY DIDN'T SELL.

To create demand and an aura of exclusivity, GM first marketed the C1 to VIP customers only. Unfortunately, the plan backfired, and they didn't even sell through the first run. Even though availability was opened up the following year, the public was still lukewarm on the car, and it was nearly discontinued.

4. THEY DIDN’T ACTUALLY “ROLL” OFF OF THE ASSEMBLY LINE.

The first Corvettes had problems starting due to electrical grounding problems due to the fiberglass body. So instead of "rolling" off the assembly line, the first Corvettes had to be manually pushed off.

5. YOU COULD GET IT IN ANY COLOR, AS LONG AS YOU WANTED WHITE.

There’s an old saying that you could get the Ford Model-T in any color you want, as long as it’s black. The first Corvette was similar—but “any color” was Polo White, with a “Sportsman Red” interior and a black top.

6. OF COURSE, IT WAS FAST.

The car lived up to the "fast" reputation of its seafaring predecessor: It could go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 11 seconds, which was pretty impressive for 1953. And for the speed demons, the first Corvette could max out at 110 miles per hour. Here's one in action at the Top Gear Test Track:

7. IT CAME WITH A FEW AMENITIES ...

Whitewall tires and chromed-mesh stone guards made the car look extra sporty, and all 300 production models came with AM radio and a heater.

8. ... BUT IT ALSO LACKED A FEW AMENITIES.

There were no exterior door handles. But that wasn't really a problem, because there were also no windows—just plastic curtains.

9. EVEN SO, THE '53 CORVETTE WAS DEFINITELY A WORTHWHILE INVESTMENT.

The base price of the 1953 Corvette was $3498. That’s $31,473.62 today—but if you still have a 1953 Corvette in decent shape, it’s worth far more than the original sticker price. In 2006, the third one to ever be produced sold for a record $1.06 million.

10. THE CORVETTE HOLDS THE RECORD FOR LONG-TIME PRODUCTION.

Starting with the C1, the Corvette holds the title for the longest-running, continuously produced passenger car.The longest-running vehicle of any type also happens to belong to Chevy: It’s the Chevrolet Suburban.

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Wisconsin Considers Building a Highway Lane for Self-Driving Cars
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Self-driving cars are already a reality, as companies like Google and Tesla have demonstrated. But the logistics of getting them on the roads with human-operated cars have slowed down their long-anticipated takeover. In Wisconsin, highway planners are looking into one way to accommodate autonomous vehicles when they arrive. Dedicated lanes for driverless cars are being considered for I-94, USA Today’s Journal Sentinel reports.

The project is supported by Foxconn, the Taiwanese tech supplier building a new facility 20 miles outside of downtown Milwaukee. Once the site is complete, it will cover 20 million square feet and employ up to 13,000 people. According to the company, setting aside space for self-driving vehicles could ease traffic congestion, both from new workers and cargo trucks, after the factory opens.

Officials were already planning to expand I-94 from six lanes to eight to accommodate the eventual increase in traffic, but Foxconn says that may not be enough. “We’re thinking about two years down the road; they’re thinking 20 years down the road,” Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said at a meeting of the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

While Sheehy said the autonomous car lane proposal is “on the table,” he didn’t make any promises regarding the plan’s future. Wisconsin isn’t the only state looking ahead to new developments in road travel: In October, tech investors pitched an idea to Washington state officials to convert Interstate 5 into a corridor for autonomous vehicles between Seattle and Vancouver.

[h/t Journal Sentinel]

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Ford Tests Exoskeletons That Make Overhead Tasks Easier for Workers
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Ford

Engineers have already developed exoskeletons capable of supporting elderly people and helping paralyzed people walk. But the technology offers benefits to able-bodied wearers as well. That's what employees are learning at Ford's U.S. factories. As Road Show reports, workers there are suiting up in upper body exoskeletons designed to alleviate fatigue and decrease their chance of injury.

Assembling car parts requires workers to reach their arms above their heads thousands of times a day. While most healthy individuals would have no problem doing this type of work for a few minutes at a time, the rate at which these employees are completing the tasks puts an enormous strain on their bodies. This can lead to back and shoulder fatigue, soreness, and even injury.

In an effort to make their workforce more comfortable and productive, Ford has been testing the EksoVest from Ekso Bionics in two of its American auto plants. The non-powered suits fit people between 5 feet and 6 feet 4 inches tall. The lightweight design provides up to 15 pounds of support to each arm without weighing wearers down or restricting their movements. According to Ford, the pilot program has contributed to an 83 percent drop in the number of incidents that led to time off between 2005 and 2016. And on top of staying healthy enough to go to work, employees have reported feeling more energized during their off hours.

The EksoVest has already helped workers launch several new vehicles, including the 2018 Ford Mustang and the 2018 Lincoln Navigator. Following the trial program's success, the automobile company next plans to test the technology in factories in Europe and South America.

[h/t Road Show]

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