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Chevrolet Corvette C1

The first Corvette came from the pen of the great Harley Earl and was introduced in 1953 filling a gap in the market for a moderately priced two-seater American sports car. To mark its debut 300 polo white C1 Corvette convertibles were hand-built while a factory was prepared for a full-scale 1954 production run. Steel was still in short supply following the Second World War and fibreglass was chosen as a body material. This helped to keep the weight down, however under the body the components were inherited from less sporting cars in the range. This included a Blue Flame six-cylinder engine, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, solid rear axle and drum brakes.

By 1956 the Corvette had been developed into a proper sports car. With a 210 horsepower V8 and a 3 speed manual gearbox it could brush off the sluggish reputation of the earlier car. It also had a new look with prominent headlamps and a distinctive side-vent. The new engine was lighter and more powerful than the earlier model allowing it to set a new land speed record for a production car of 150 mph. The event held at Daytona Beach wrote the Corvette name into the history books as it graduated to the big-league of sports cars. The speed record was then followed up by setting a new hill-climb record at Pike’s Peak – the 12.5 mile prestigious American motoring event.

The ’56 C1 Corvette also featured wind-up windows and a much better convertible top with a power-opening option. By ’58 there were quad headlamps and an updated instrument panel but the recipe stayed much the same right up until 1962 when the C2 Corvette was released.

Chevrolet Corvette C1 Specifications

Car brand Chevrolet
Production dates 1953-1962
Engine type V8
Engine capacity 3900-5400 cc
Power 150-360 BHP
Transmission type 3 Speed Manual / 2 Speed Auto

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