Blast from the past: What made the Chevy Corvette so reputed?
Chevrolet has sold over 1.75 million units till date.
The United States and muscle cars go hand in hand with each other. Since the early years of the last century, we have seen muscle cars from Ford, Dodge and GM that were respected worldwide and were imbued with all the virtues to make themselves stalwarts in globetrotting. The Ford GT, the Dodge Challenger, the Chevrolet Camaro, all are manufacturing marvels that even today, continue to banter about the driving sensation they arouse in their lucky owners.
Ask a layman about record-breaching supercars and he will direct you the way to Maranello or any other place in Italy because America always had a dearth of cars like the Gallardo or the 812 Superfast. The only one we remember and that which is capable of shaking our now estranged planet, is the hooligan, the mighty, Corvette, colloquially known as 'Vette.
Corvette (C1) in production.
The car, in its 67th year currently, deserved a shoutout, but more than that, I thought let me tell you what makes it so 'coveted.' Born on the 30th of June, 1953, this longest running production car has achieved yet another sales milestone of 1.75 million samples sold till date and counting.
In line with Chevrolet's objective of giving the people a highly powerful car that bore a distinct panache, it was shown to the Americans hankering for something like it as a concept on the 17 th Jan, 1953 that could act as a prelude to its launch. Soon, there was profound hullabaloo clearly intimating the brand that it was a green signal from the masses. Hence, the bowtie fathomed of launching a limited-run 300 examples of the Corvette, all of which were slated to go in the hands of their respective owners, a few months later. Interestingly, all the units were specced out in Polo White with red interior, colour medley that was just ideal for its purpose. Back then, every car was priced at just USD 3,498! With the name shaping an illustrous history, the value of this C1 Corvette was proliferated to USD 1.06 million in 2006 for which it was sold at an auction.
The Corvette has not only undergone massive facial changes, but also mechanical ones. We are all familiar with the mid-engined V8 layout of the Corvette. However, in the yesteryears, things were remarkably different. The corpulent car was first amalgamated with an inline 6-cylinder engine till 1955 with the option of a V8 that a measly 7 buyers opted for.
In case you are bewildered with the above fact, you will be perturbed to know that for the first decade, the car was sold in a sole convertible body style. The revered 'split-window' coupe came only in 1963 as a hard-top counterpart. Being more pragmatic than the open-top model, it resulted in sales graph inclining with nearly twice the number of units sold.
Though the Corvette has been an unencumbered runaway success, in 1983, GM sold 0 units of the car as they were busy gingerly preparing the 1984 model, better known as the C4 eon. The company did contrive 44 prototypes in '83 of which only one is known to be existing, finding its habitat at the National Corvette Museum. It is wrapped in Bowling Green livery.
After showing longanimity against its formidable contention for nearly seven decades, Chevrolet took a bold step, which was to replace the car's front engine layout with a mid-engine one. When they announced this, folks had their thoughts divided, some liked it, some loathed it. But going by the overwhelming response it has received in the markets it debuted, it seems naysayers are soon accepting the new bandwagon. In fact, the first current Corvette Stingray sold for an astounding USD 3 million through an auction company. Chevrolet says this new placement of the engine makes it more nimble. The new integument seeks to give the owners a sense of plushness, luxury and sportiness.
Whether a toddler or a mature being, nobody will ever balk at the idea of buying a Corvette because of the rich legacy it has made and the records it has made thanks to its performance prowess. Even in games like Need For Speed Most Wanted, we have always dreamt of buying the car. It perfectly fuses all the characteristics that make it a great daily driver and a beast when knocking lap after lap on a circuit. This car is born of a rich pedigree and going by what it is, we can only expect better and better iterations to roll out in the future.
Corvette C8 Stingray in Dubai.