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History Chevrolet Corvette

General Motors, Chevrolet, Corvette C1
EngineIn-line six-cylinder
Displacement3859 cm³
Bore * stroke90,4 * 100,1 mm
PistonCast iron
Compression8,0 : 1
Engine controlOHV (gear drive, rocking levers)
Mixture preparation3 single carburetors, choke
Torque317 Nm at 2400 rpm
Performance110/114 kW (150/155 SAE-HP)
Rated speed4200 rpm
DrivetrainFront (mid-mounted) engine with rear drive
Wheelbase2591 mm
Front suspensionWishbone transverse arms
Rear suspensionRigid axle, leaf springs
SteeringWorm, roller
Brakes f/rDrums
Tyres6.70 - 15
FrameSheet steel
Length4242 mm
Width1834 mm
Height1323 mm
Basic weight1225 kg + driver
Max. SpeedApprox. 170 km/h
PresentationMotorama, New York, Januar 1953
Manufactured1953 - 54
Sales priceApprox. 3500 $
AccessoriesHeating, radio
Elektric system6 Volt

The name originates from the Second World War. In 1940 the British, Canadians and later the Americans have great difficulties to protect their gigantic transports to England against German U-boat attacks. Through various techniques and better cooperation this change in 1941. A not insignificant role in this development has a type of ship called Corvette, especially designed for the defense of submarines and fighter aircrafts. Slightly smaller than a frigate, a corvette is faster and more agile matched with corresponding armament. The name of this ship type General Motors seems especially true for the new sports car. We have opted for the female title, although there is also literature for which the root of Corvette is male.

Inspired by the Jaguar XK 120 ...

Since we already are by name, the development project for the Corvette is called GM internal 'Opel'. In January 1953 the car is presented as prototype in the ballroom of Waldorf Astoria in New York. Only a year will have taken the development to production. From the Chevrolet-mass production distinguish actually beside the bodywork only the frame. It has a shorter wheelbase, but must be considerably buckling resistant, because the car is planned as a convertible. The engine is a little lower and behind the front axle, which is significantly affect to the weight distribution and performances. However, the implementation of the shortened drive shaft has to be changed.

Prewar pickup inline six-cylinder

Actually new is the supplied body made of fiberglass reinforced plastic, the first time in a car in mass production. While the weight of the chassis is about 100 kg, the construction is even easier. The first series knows only a white exterior paint and red for the interior trim. But it goes very slowly with the production figures. The interest is so great and the presence of the car to the public so low, that the Americans are slow to doubt its reality. Chevrolet has simply not yet enough experience with the new material, which one at this time still called fiberglass. One will not risk his good name and remains far behind the production target. At the end however changed an order in a production surplus.

Up to the entire chasssis, it is also an unusual car. Harmless then the hub caps with central nuts as a fake, by the way not on all vehicles in the series. Headlight covers against stone-chipping, rocket-like tail planes, plug in side windows made from plastic, three carburetors with minor synchronization problems and from underpressure of the motor operating windshield wipers. It will never be clarified, whether General Motors has done well to be so slow with the begin of production, but almost it would have carried off the entire project. 01/08

Corvette innovations
1953Market introduction of the C1 with an unfavorable reputation for quality, good handling characteristics and weak brakes
1954Competitor Ford Thunderbird comes to market
19554,3l V8 engine, 143 kW (195 SAE-HP) at 4600 rpm, 12V system
1956Completely reworked body, distinctive side view, easier top handling, crank-window instead of window to insert, 154/176 kW (210/240 SAE-HP)
1957V8 with continuous fuel injection, 208 kW (283 SAE-HP)               Top of page               Index
2001-2014 Copyright programs, texts, animations, pictures: H. Huppertz - Email
Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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