The Chevrolet Corvette is a legend that has endured for nearly sixty years, leaving an indelible mark on the very face of the American automotive landscape. Its timeless design and enduring mission as America’s premier two-seater sports car has captivated countless millions across the globe.
Every legend has to have a beginning. The Corvette’s legendary story starts with the 1953 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster, representing the first of a long line of Corvettes to be produced by General Motors’ principal automotive division. Starting out life as the EX-122 Concept of 1952, the 1953 Corvette stepped off the GM Motorama turntable and onto the tarmac. The 1953 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster’s exotic styling hewed closely to contemporary British roadsters, while the fiberglass construction was unlike anything used on American road vehicles at that time. Unlike the average British roadster, the Corvette was meant to cruise down the boulevards instead of carving along back roads.
While the outward appearance of the Corvette wowed critics, the underpinnings were surprisingly pedestrian for a car of its type. The Corvette used an independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs. At the rear, the roadster employed a live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs. Stopping power came courtesy of four-wheel drum brakes. Under the hood, Chevy used a 3.9-liter “Blue Flame” straight six-cylinder engine producing 150 horsepower. Mated to a two-speed Powerglide transmission, it didn’t provide the most captivating performances, but that problem would be taken care of in subsequent years.
A total of 300 examples were produced for 1953 and all were built largely by hand. Every single Corvette produced that year bore Polo White exterior paint with red interiors and black canvas soft tops.
Of the nine 1957 250 Gran Turismo Berlinetta model Ferraris crafted between November, 1956 and July, 1957, with their distinctive fourteen louvres gracing the rear sail panels, eight survive to this day. The sole causality was crashed in 1967 by Peter Helms and later scrapped for parts by famed Ferrari aficionado Peter Niles. Carrying a Pininfarina designed body built by Scaglietti with the newest lightweight aluminum and Perspex glass encasing a scantly clad interior and equipped with a 2,953 cubic centimeter overhead cam V-12 engine with triple Weber carburetors, a four speed synchromesh manual transmission, alloy drum brakes, an independent wishbone front suspension, and semi-elliptical leaf springs on a live rear axle.
The 1957 Ferrari 250 GT was crafted to excel in the new safer Gran Turismo racing classification born in response to the tragic 1955 accident at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and excel the Berlinetta did. With First Overall finishes at the demanding Tour de France races of 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959, the 250 GT Berlinetta would unofficially become know at Ferrari as the “Tour de France” or “TdF” model. While Ferrari’s progressive development style and their penchant for hand crafted bodies guaranteed no two Berlinettas would be identical, the styling of these nine 1957 250 GT Berlinettas is distinctive and very sought after by automobile collectors and Ferrari enthusiasts worldwide The 1957 GT Berlinettas were designed with lowered front ends, sharply defined and nearly finned rear fenders, and a flatter, less wrapped rear window than previous Ferrari models. A prominent cold air induction scoop opens up a large portion of the 1957 Berlinetta’s long low hood, but its most defining elements are the fourteen louvres that sweep down the rear sail panels from roof line to rear fenders. Later editions of the GT would reduce the louvres to three, then one or none, making the 1957 a visual standout in the Ferrari pantheon.
The 1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Coupe is an example of the Italian automotive manufacturer’s early post-war efforts. Like most vehicles produced shortly after World War II, the 6C 2500’s underpinnings dated prior to the war while the various coachwork and chassis were post-war efforts. The 2500 SS or “Super Sport” was the top-of-the-line variant of the 6C series, featuring a 106.3-inch wheelbase that was significantly shorter than the Turismo and Sport variants.
Several bespoke coachmakers including Ghia, and Carrozzeria Touring created unique coupe bodies for the 6C throughout its production. For instance, Carrozzeria Touring produced 36 of its Villa d’Este Coupé bodies. These bodies are also considered one of the last ever hand-made Alfa Romeo cars. The Ghia Supergioiello coupe body was the rarest of the lot, with only four built. Out of the four bodies produced by Ghia, only one featured an advanced post-war tubular chassis designed by Gilberto Columbo and manufactured by Gilco. Columbo would go on to design chassis for Maserati and Ferrari throughout the rest of the 1950s.
Underneath, the 1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Coupe featured a 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine. Fitted with triple Weber carburetors for greater performance, the 2.5-liter engine produced 110 horsepower. A four-speed manual gearbox helped channel this power to the rear wheels. The 6C 2500 SS Coupe featured excellent handling and overall performance for the post-war era, thanks in large part to its independent front and rear suspension. Four wheel hydraulic drum brakes provided adequate stopping power for the era.