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Chevy Corvette: America’s First Sports Car

Chevy Corvette: America’s First Sports Car

Jul 20th 2021

By the dawn of the 1950s, the sports car had already taken off in Europe where auto racing was all the rage. Back in America, auto manufacturers were still designing cars that were heavy and bulky. They had power, but not the speed, handling, or slick design of a Ferrari or Aston Martin.

Looking for a way to stay on top of the auto industry, Chevy decided to enter the sports car market and the Chevy Corvette was born in 1953. Drivers were impressed by the look of the Corvette when Chevrolet unveiled it at Motorama, but buyers did not follow. This now iconic car had a less than auspicious first few years.

A Slow Beginning for the Classic Corvette

Chevrolet designed the Corvette with a fiberglass body, the first car to be built that way. This saved on costs since steel was not easily available with the Korean War going on at the time, but fiberglass also made the Corvette lightweight for better speed and handling. Under the hood, the 1953 ‘Vette had:

  • Blue Flame 6 Cylinder Engine
  • 150 HP
  • 2 Speed Transmission

Compared with other cars at the time, the specs on the first Corvette were not particularly noteworthy. Ford’s flathead V8 engine had more power and other models had better speed. Since Chevy knew that launching a car as different as the Corvette was a risk, they had not spent much on car parts.

The first Corvettes were not big on options either. The exterior was white, the interior was red. A convertible top, heater, and an AM radio were the only accessories.

As a result, the Corvette did not catch on with buyers that first year and Chevy only made 300. The 1954 Corvettes kept much of the same technical and design specifications as well. But the sleek design was a favorite and when Chevy added a V8 engine in the 1955 model year, they turned the Corvette into a driver’s dream car.

Despite the less than favorable reception at the time, the 1953 Corvette is now prized among collectors. The limited production run of 300 cars and the early styling makes these a rare find and keeping them in perfect condition is a priority for many owners.

If you need vintage car parts for the 1953 Corvette - or any other classic Corvette - Vintage Auto Garage is the best place to begin your search. We have all the parts you need, including 6 volt car accessories for the early ‘Vettes.