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Corvette - An American Dream: 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back in time

I'm inspired by this photo to talk a little about how this whole Corvette phenomenon began. So let's hop again into the Way Back Machine and take a trip back to 1951.

While there were many involved in its design and production, Zora Arkus-Duntov is generally considered to be the "Father" of the Corvette. But designing and building a classic vehicle that has stood the test of time for over 50 years takes more than one man. At that time Harley Earl’s “Special Projects” crew began work on this new sports car for General Motors. As the concept work began, Bob McLean designed a general layout for the car which was originally code named, "Project Opel."

Chevrolet’s chief photographer at the time, Myron Scott, is credited for coming up with the name that has become legendary in the automotive world — Corvette — drawing from the small, fast warships of the "Corvette" class.

The logo for the new car was supposedly determined by the wallpaper design on a hotel room in Paris in 1908. The story goes that William Durant, the founder of GM, ripped off a small piece of this wallpaper and brought the scrap back to Detroit. It apparently had designs on it that resembled a bow tie.

For its introductory year, the Corvette was produced in a temporary GM facility in Flint, Michigan. This 1st generation Corvette (C1) was available only in Polo White with a red vinyl interior, black soft top and red wheels. Although Corvette was not the first car to be made with a fiberglass body, it was the first car — and the last — to have a wrap-around windshield.
Corvette's fiberglass body was comprised of 46 pieces glued together to form the nine major subassemblies.

A 150 hp Blue Flame Six engine powered it, and it was backed up by a Powerglide transmission. At only 150 hp, the performance was less than startling, but with a total production run of only 300 units, the 1953 is still the rarest of all model year Corvettes. And although only 300 were produced, there are approximately 225 still existing today.

At the Autorama show circuit the new Corvette featured crossed American and checkered flags on the front emblem and horn button. When it was later discovered that using an American flag on a product trademark was illegal, the emblem was changed shortly before the Corvette made its debut in January, 1953, at the Motorama in New York.

Less than six months later, on Tuesday, June 30, 1953, Corvette #1 Serial Number E53F001001 rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan, and Corvette production began. The first two Corvettes, VIN Numbers 1 and 2 were said to have been destroyed, but no records prove that fact, and there are no witnesses to the destruction. You may want to quit reading now and go check the Serial Number of the one in your garage. It might be one of them.

The following year production was moved to the plant in St. Louis. Every Corvette from model year 1954 through model year 1981 was produced in the St. Louis facility.

If you would like additional information the 1953 Corvette, here's a great website with more info than you can imagine:

If you found this article interesting, please leave a comment by clicking on the word "comment" at the bottom of this post. You may as well find it now and get used to clicking it because you're going to be clicking it a lot when we start having the Corvette Giveaways. Also, if there is anything inaccurate in here, please let me know so I can correct it.

Look for the word "comment" below. It should be right under the right front tire of that 1953 Corvette you see there. See it? Well click it, and you can add anything you'd like.
This is a repost of a previous story from back in January.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Where is your gas tank?

I haven't verified this information yet, but I have no doubt it's accurate. And I found it quite informative since it was something I had never heard of before. Perhaps you haven't either.

If you drive more than two or three cars, there's a good possibility that you're going to pull into the gas station with the pumps on the wrong side of the car someday, simply because you don't remember which side of the car the gas tank filler tube is on. You don't have to worry about ever doing that again because there's an easy way to determine this ahead of time.

If you look at your instrument panel, you'll see a little gas pump next to your gas gauge. The side of the pump that the handle is on indicates which side of the car you fill the tank from. Take a look at the photo. If the pump handle is on the left, your tank is filled from the left. If it's on the right, it's the opposite side. Another possible option is a gas tank icon with an arrow. That's what my Lexus has. Now how handy is that to know?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Save the Wave

So, you ask yourself, what in the world is this guy doing putting a picture of the ocean on a site related to Corvettes?

And you're absolutely right. We're not supposed to be talking about the ocean here, but I thought this photo was kind of cool, and it adds some interest and color to the page. If I knew who the photographer was, I would give them a credit because they caught a great shot.

But it's springtime, and those Corvettes are coming out of winter storage and hitting the road. Surf's up! The subject of this post is a different kind of wave. So let's wander back in time a bit (Set the Wayback Machine for 1969, Sherman) and see what we can learn about this time-honored tradition among Corvette owners.

Below is an article entitled "Save the Wave" that was published in the August/September, 1969, issue of Corvette News. I hope you find it interesting and informative.

Ever since Corvette No. 00001 first met Corvette No. 00002 on the road, their drivers saluted each other with waves. Today, unfortunately, this grand and glorious tradition is wavering.

There's one item of standard equipment that comes as a pleasant surprise to every new Corvette owner. It's an instant wave of recognition he or she recieves when he meets one of their ilks on the road. The first time it happens, they will be taken by surprise.

He immediately thinks: 1. He has been mistaken for Stirling Moss. 2. His lights are on. 3. He has just been given the bird.

Soon, however, the new Vette owner anticipates, indeed even relishes, encountering other Vettes as he drives. During this period, he experiments with his waves, running the gamut from the gaping "yoo hoo" to the ultra cool "two finger flip." He perfects his timing, making sure he affects neither a too-early wave, nor the jaded "oh brother" too-late variety.

Determined not to be one upped, he even developes a defense mechanism for non wavers, usually settling on the "Wave"? My hand was just on the way to scratch my head" approach. (This is especially useful when you're not driving your Vette, but you forget, and like a dummy, you wave anyway.)

Indeed, one of the most perplexing problems facing a would-be waver is what to do when driving next to a fellow Vette owner. Passing him going in opposite directions is one thing. Greetings are exchanged, and that's that. But what happens when you pull up next to a guy at a light, wave, nod, smile and then pull up to him at the next light, a block later? Wave again? Nod bashfully? Grin self-consciously? Ignore him? Or take the chicken's way out and turn down the next side street? If you're expecting an answer, you won't find it here. Sad to say, some questions don't have any.

Girl-type Corvette drivers also have a unique problem: to wave or not to wave. This miss or misses who borrows her man's Corvette for the first time is immediately faced with this quandary. Should she wave first and look overly friendly, or ignore the wave and look like a snob? Most ladies who drive their own Vettes prefer to suffer the latter rather than take a chance of being misread. For this reason, all girls are excused for occassionally failing to return a well-meaning wave. So are new owners who are still learning the ropes.

There is no excuse, however, for a guy who refuses to return the wave, not out of ignorance, but of arrogance or apathy. While this type of behavior is the exception to the rule, it seems a few owners of newer models refuse to recognize anything older than theirs, while some others simply won't wave, period. Boo on them. These ding-a-lings don't seem to realize that they are helping to squash a tradition that had its beginnings back when most of us were still driving tootsietoys.

So now you know, and you have no excuse. When you meet another Corvette driver out there on the Great American Road, don't forget to wave. It's a tradition.