There are many generations of Corvettes, but only one can take the credit for starting it all. Introduced in 1953, the C1 generation lasted ten model years, paving the way for the generations that followed and the two-seater American sports car craze. But that’s not all that the C1 generation is known for, as Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles discusses in this video dedicated strictly to the very first Corvettes. Check it out above.
Drawing closely on the 1953 prototype, the C1 Corvette generation is known for many things. Besides being the first generation of America’s favorite sports car, the C1 Corvette also really put the United States on the map as far as two-seater sports cars go.
A concept car brought to life, the production Corvette was introduced with the classic Blue Flame 6-cylinder engine but moved up quite quickly to the new Chevy small block V8 in 1955. By 1957, Corvette had hit the sweet spot with 283ci fuel-injected engines producing that magic one-horsepower-per-cubic-inch and making way for the “Fuelie” craze. From there, the Corvette gained performance, horsepower and a reputation like no other.
In 1960, three very special C1 Corvettes headed to Europe to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time against Europe’s prestigious fleet of two-seaters. It was there that history was made when Corvette won it’s class, beating out the competition. Of course, those C1s still maintain their fame and have even been in the news lately with the release of Michael Brown’s production The Quest and with the recent controversy over ownership of Le Mans Corvette #3.
By 1962, Chevrolet was looking to move on from the C1 generation and brought the C2 split-window Sting Ray on for the 1963 model year to usher in a new era. While these early C2s are quite popular, it is truly the C1 generation that made every following generation of Corvette possible.