CLOSE
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

10 Fast Facts About the First Corvette

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

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.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
GoCompare
arrow
Design
This Is How Kids Envision the Cars of the Future
Charlotte, 12
Charlotte, 12
GoCompare

You don’t need a driver's license to have big ideas about how cars can be improved. Take it from these kids: When they were asked by the car insurance comparison website GoCompare to draw their visions for the cars of the future, they didn’t hold back. The sketches, first spotted by Co.Design, suggest there are cupcake boosters, rainbow headlights, and shark fin rooftops on the horizon for the auto industry.

GoCompare’s gallery features the original doodles alongside their professionally illustrated counterparts. Some designs take cues from science fiction, as is the case with 11-year-old Paula’s double-decker hover car. The magnetic bottom pushes against the magnetic roads beneath it to glide above the ground. Then, there's 12-year-old Charlotte’s Rainbow Convertible 3000, which uses giant wings to float over traffic.

Power sources include chocolate fuel and rocket boosters. On the practical side, some kids worked electric generators and solar panels into their designs, anticipating the real-world need for alternative energy.

Kids drawing of car of the future.
Zach, 11

Kids drawing of car.
Isla, 6

Kids drawing of car.
Kyre, 11

Kids drawing of car.
Paula, 11

Kids drawing of car.
Joel, 11

Kid's drawing of car.
Boban, 11

Kid's drawing of car.
Danelle, 11

Kid's drawing of car.
Charlie, 11

Kid's drawing of car.
Harnitha, 11

Kids' dreams for the future extend far beyond cars. Here are some examples of what kids came up with when asked to draw the house of tomorrow.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of GoCompare.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
5 Questions to Ask Your Auto Mechanic
iStock
iStock

Own a car long enough and you will eventually find yourself standing in an auto repair shop trying to decipher what the technician is trying to tell you. The only common language? How much it’s going to cost.

Even though you might not understand all the nuts and bolts of a repair job, it’s still important you have enough information to make an informed decision. We asked mechanic Charles Sanville of The Humble Mechanic blog to pass along five simple questions that should elicit some helpful information from a repairman before (and after) you commit to getting the work done.

1. “CAN YOU SHOW ME THE PROBLEM?”

Most mechanics are not out to rip you off. But if they are, they can often be tripped up by a simple request to see which part is in need of attention. “You always want to ask this,” Sanville says. “Tell them you want to see the part that’s failing.” While some issues might be with a car’s electronics and therefore won’t have a physical spot to point to, it’s still a good idea to try. Having a visual aid will also make a tech’s explanation easier to understand.

2. “WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T FIX THIS?”

Be sure to ask the shop what the consequences might be of not taking care of an issue right away. “You should ask what happens in the long term if something doesn’t get fixed,” Sanville says. While a timing belt might need replacement, it’s possible it might be good for another few thousand miles; a brake issue probably can’t wait.

3. “CAN YOU PRIORITIZE THESE REPAIRS?”

Some technicians make repairs seem like urgent matters, but not everything needs to be addressed immediately. “Having five issues isn’t uncommon, but a couple of them might not be a big deal and can wait,” Sanville says. “Have them prioritize what’s wrong with the car.”

4. “CAN I SEE THE DEFECTIVE PART?”

Before the repair has been made, request that the shop save the faulty part so you can take a look. “Sometimes they’ll let you keep it,” Sanville says, depending on disposal requirements. It’s tangible proof they did the work promised.

5. “CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOU FIXED IT?”

Don’t worry about understanding much—or any—detail about the repair work. What you really want, Sanville says, is to build a relationship with the technician and not just the service advisor behind the counter. “Ask them to explain in a technical way what the problem was, how they caught it, and how it was fixed. It’ll help build a relationship and then you’ll have your own tech. You can bring it to ‘Bill’ instead of just ‘ABC Auto.’ That’s a guy who will know you and know your car and do what he can to keep you on the road.”

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios