What Do Jay Leno, Dan Akroyd and Stevie Wonder have in common with the Chevrolet Corvette? All celebrate their 60th birthdays in 2012!
To celebrate Chevrolet brand is returning to the Goodwood Festival of Speed for the third year in succession, having marked its centenary there in 2011.
The first Chevrolet Corvette was born in 1952 as the EX-122 concept, designed by Harley Earl – GM’s first vice-president of design and the man behind the world’s first concept car, the 1939 Buick Y-Job.
Earl created the car to answer America’s rising demand for sports cars, which had seen an influx of imports to the US, primarily from Jaguar and MG. Although built in 1952, it made its public debut in January 1953 at the GM Motorama, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.
It was named Corvette by Myron Scott, an American photo-journalist and founder of the original Soap Box Derby races. It was named after a small French warship renowned for its maneuverability.
The intention was to create a sports car that would use affordable, existing mechanical components, but would be clothed in an ultra-modern, aerodynamic body. It was also the first mass-produced sports car to have a production fibreglass body, which allowed the designers to create molded curves, saved weight and prevented corrosion.
The first models came with a derivative of GM’s ‘Blue Flame’ in-line six-cylinder engine, with the V8 first appearing in 1955.
In 1981 Corvette production moved from Missouri to Bowling Green, Kentucky – one of the USA’s oldest industrial cities, immortalized by the Everly Brothers in an eponymous 1967 hit.
Six generations later, the Corvette comes from the same production line, and remains America’s most popular high-performance sports car. Over 1.3 million Corvettes have been built since the model’s inception.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place at Goodwood House in West Sussex, England from June 28 to July 1, 2012. For more information, visit www.goodwood.co.uk