Chevrolet Corvette C1 235/150 Convertible

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Corvette C1 235/150 Convertible





The first generation Corvette was introduced late in the 1953 model year. Originally designed as a show car for the 1953 Motorama display at the New York Auto Show, it generated enough interest to induce GM to make a production version to sell to the public. First production was on June 30, 1953.

This generation was often referred to as the "solid-axle" models (the independent rear suspension was not introduced until the second generation). 300 hand-built polo white Corvette convertibles were produced for the 1953 model year.

The 1954 model year vehicles could be ordered in Pennant Blue, Sportsman Red and Black, or Polo White. 3,640 were built, and sold slowly.

The 1955 model offered a 265 cu in (4.34 L) V8 engine as an option. With a large inventory of unsold 1954 models, GM limited production to 700 for 1955. With the V8, 0-60 mph time improved to 8.5 seconds.

A new body was introduced for the 1956 model featuring a new "face" and side coves; the taillamp fins were also gone. An optional fuel injection system was made available in the middle of the 1957 model year. It was one of the first mass-produced engines in history to reach 1 bhp (0.75 kW) per cubic inch (16.4 cubic cm) and Chevrolet's advertising agency used a "one hp per cubic inch" slogan for advertising the 283 bhp (211 kW) 283 cu in (4.64 L) Small-Block engine. Other options included power windows (1956), hydraulically operated power convertible top (1956), heavy duty brakes and suspension (1957), and four speed manual transmission (late 1957). Delco Radio transistorized signal-seeking "hybrid" car radio, which used both vacuum tubes and transistors in its radio's circuitry (1956 option).

If 1957 was a high point in the development of Corvette performance, the following year can be considered important from a styling and design viewpoint. While the wheelbase remained at 102 inches, Corvette grew slightly in overall dimension and presented a comprehensive freshening in its quad headlight front fascia, “washboard” faux-louvered hood and chrome trunk spears. The interior was also completely revised. The gauges were gathered up from across the dash and clustered directly in front of the driver and a center console and passenger grab handle appeared for the first time. The changes were largely cosmetic. What remained unchanged was Corvette’s potent powertrain lineup that included two versions of the Rochester fuel injected 283/290 HP small block V-8.

The 1959–60 model years had few changes except a decreased amount of body chrome and more powerful engine offerings. By 1960, the Corvette had evolved from the wheezy six-cylinder grand tourer of 1953 into a true sports car of which the entire world could be proud. Whilst the styling was pure 1950s American, with large chrome bumpers, a two-tone paint treatment divided by body-side “coves”, quad headlamps, and a toothy grille, the chassis underneath adopted the best European racing practices. The car also had sway bars and an aluminium clutch, and amongst the ranks of the strong V-8 engines available was a 283-cubic inch mill, which, when equipped with dual Carter carburettors, produced 270 horsepower.

In 1961, the rear of the car was completely redesigned with the addition of a "duck tail" with four round lights. The light treatment would continue for all following model year Corvettes until 2014.

New for Chevrolet in 1962 was the 327-cubic inch V-8, which replaced the venerable 283 in all Corvettes. In standard form it produced 250 bhp (190 kW). For an extra 12% over list price, the fuel-injected version produced 360 bhp (270 kW), making it the fastest of the C1 generation. Corvette’s base price topped $4,000 for the first time, and gone was the contrasting paint color in the body’ side coves. Surprisingly, the car weighed the same in 1962 as it did in 1953, despite being fitted with more equipment and structural reinforcements to improve rigidity. This was done by eliminating the unnecessary bulk in the layers of the fiberglass skin, in what would become the final version of the first-generation Corvette.

At the rear, the 1962 styling mirrored that introduced on the 1961 model, which foreshadowed the upcoming 1963 Sting Ray yet-to-be introduced. The 1962 Corvettes were the first to come with rocker moldings, which were made from one-piece stamped aluminum and featured horizontal ribs and bright anodizing. Interestingly, up until about serial number 6000, they were unpainted, while later models had flat black paint between those ribs. 1962 was also the last year for the wrap around windshield, solid rear axle, and convertible-only body style. The trunk lid and exposed headlamps did not reappear for many decades.


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