Corvette turns 60 today

First Corvette drove off an assembly line in Flint, Michigan on June 30, 1953

Published: June 30, 2013, 8:00 AM
Updated: November 22, 2021, 4:03 PM

2013 Chevrolet Corvette 427 convertible with 1953 Corvette

Sixty years ago today, the first production Chevrolet Corvette drove off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan.

Only 300 1953 Corvettes were built but, since then, approximately 1.56 million Corvettes have been produced and the car has become a true American icon.

Here are some highlights of the Corvette's 60-year history:

> Corvette is the world’s longest-running, continuously produced passenger car, according to General Motors. The longest-running vehicle of any type is the Chevrolet Suburban.

> Corvette made its debut as a show car at the General Motors Autorama in New York City on Jan. 17, 1953. It was such a success that a limited run of 300 production Corvettes began on June 30 of that year.

> All 1953 model Corvettes were Polo White with a red interior and they were priced at $3,498 (US). In 2006, the third 1953 Corvette produced sold for a record $1.06 million (US) at auction.

> The Corvette was available only with an inline six-cylinder engine until 1955. That year, the optional V-8 engine was ordered by 90 percent of buyers. The six-cylinder was dropped in 1956. Corvette has been available exclusively with V-8 power since.

> The Corvette was produced only as a convertible for its first 10 years. The first fixed-roof Corvette was the second-generation 1963 "split-window" Sting Ray coupe. Sales doubled and it became a year-round car for drivers in colder climates.

> The 500,000th Corvette was built in 1977; the 1 millionth was built in 1992, and the 1.5 millionth in 2009.

> Corvettes have been produced at three facilities: Flint, Mich. (1953); St. Louis, Mo., (1954-1981); and Bowling Green, Ky. (1981-2014). The change from St. Louis to Bowling Green happened during the 1981 production year. The first 1981 Corvette was built in St. Louis, and the last 1981 Corvette was built in Bowling Green.

> No 1983 Corvettes were sold to the public. The model year was skipped in preparation for the all-new 1984 Corvette, which launched the C4 generation. Forty-four Corvette prototypes were built as 1983 models. Only one remains, and it is on display at the National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green, Ky.