If you're a Corvette owner or enthusiast you know the Corvette isn't just any other car, and it's likely you also know that June 30th isn't just any other day. June 30th, or as it's better know in the community "National Corvette Day," is the day we come together to celebrate the birth of a beloved American Classic. In only 69 short years the Corvette has come from the humblest of beginnings and transformed itself into a true piece of Americana history.
You can trace the Corvette's origins back to the dream of Chevrolet executive Harley Earl who created the notion that the company needed a sports car. Earl was able to convince GM to move forward with the project after pitching several of his concept sketches to Chevrolet General Manager, Ed Cole. Chevrolet executives knew they wanted the new vehicle's name to begin with a C, but ultimately couldn't unanimously move past that point.
After analyzing and reviewing more than 300 potential names it was a gentleman by the name of Myron Scott, who was a Public Relations Assistant Director for Chevrolet at the time, that would serve as the catalyst for reaction when he suggested the name "Corvette." Myron's naming origin was simply, but appropriately, borrowed from the small, but agile warships known as Corvettes. As fate would have it GM executives loved the name and it stuck immediately. Shortly thereafter Chevrolet debuted the Corvette concept sports car to the public at the 1953 GM Motorama event at New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Concept Corvette that appeared at the 1953 GM Motorama (Photo courtesy of Heacock Classic's Personal Collection)
It's hard to imagine that individuals such as Harley Earl, Ed Cole, Myron Scott or the legendary Zora Arkous-Duntov could've had any idea of the impact they'd have on the world when the Corvette was conceived and molded in their image. What started out as one man's dream quickly turned into a cultural icon that would not only change the automotive industry but our world as we know it.
Here we are 69 years later and the Corvette continues to be a unanimously relevant figure in both today's culture and society. Collector car shows draw hundreds if not thousands of Corvettes and their passionate diverse owners at a given time, Car Clubs continue to grow in numbers, Corvettes continue to be passed down to younger generations and the lifestyle continues to thrive with no signs of slowing.
Trends last only but a few years before dying off the moment something better moves in to take their places. Few trends transcend into something that leaves a permanent imprint on humanity for seven decades. To achieve this status, it really takes something special to create more than a trend or fad, and to put it simply the Corvette has had that something in all 8 of its Generations. Let the stats speak for themselves. According to GM Authority, Corvette sales were up 53% in 2021 with 33,041 units sold. Compare that to the just 300 Corvettes that were made and sold in 1953 and you'll only start to realize the overwhelming growth in the Corvette's popularity and the shear magnitude of significance its had for the countless people it carries with it.
Corvette car owners show remarkable amounts of pride in their cherished vehicles. (Photo courtesy of CorvetteStoreOnline.com customer Nolan Russell.)
70th Anniversary badging that will be included with all 2023 models. (Photo courtesy of GM)
The Corvette has come an unimaginably long way since it's humble beginning in the production lines of Flint, Michigan. What started out as a 150 horsepower Convertible with a sticker price of $3,490 has transformed into a 495 horsepower screaming beast that starts out a just over a year's salary, maybe more... but oh is it worth it!
So with that, all that's left to be said is Happy 69th Birthday Corvette, and thank you for what you've provided us for nearly 7 decades!! No matter which generation, style or color you may personally prefer it's safe to say we can all agree that fewer things in this world can bring as many people together, or as much joy, as this this all American badass car.
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*Credit to GM/Chevrolet for images