History of the Marques - Corvette
Of The Marques)
After the Y Job in 1938 came a number of show cars from every division of GM. Year after year there were new creations each competing with the other. Chrysler and Ford also joined in. Soon the jet age was ushered in and the new cars and dream cars began to sport jet age accouterments.
In 1950/1 Harley Earl really outdid himself and started the ball rolling with the Buick Le Sabre. Here was a car that was so advanced for its time that even a few generations after its creation people can hardly believe it was created in 1950. It was so low to the ground when cars were still stodgy and upright. Though1953 was not the first year for GM's Motoramas the previous years were actually giant showrooms of products going on sale that fall. The 1953 was the first for the dream cars.
Almost all of GM's divisions each had a Corvette look alike made of fiberglass. They were the Wildcat, Starfire, and Le Mans, names that would appear later. Of course Chevrolet's Corvette would dominate the attention in part because this was the car earmarked for the common man and the one that had a simplicity of style which in retrospect comes off looking the best with time not playing any favors to busy gimmicky design. New York's Waldorf Astoria was the stage for this extravaganza and the Corvette wowed a crowd of 300,000 and the nations press.In time the lines between dream car and reality would begin to be blurred.
This car did not have an easy time of it and almost did not last. The fiberglass concept came when Glasspar Boats founder Bill Tritt attached to a Jeep a fiberglass roadster body for Kenneth Brooks. This body was provided by Naugatuck Chemical Devision of U.S. Rubber. At the National Plastics Exposition in Philadelphia in 1952 it was viewed by Chevy engineers who then took it to Detroit where it was shown to Harley Earl. The basic components for the Corvette were pure Chevy sedan but with the passenger compartment well aft in a sports car configuration. The blue flame six, transmission and front suspension were the same as the sedan though the engine was given a high lift cam. Still the car was hardly the performer we know of today.