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.
The Maserati name has long been associated with speed, performance, and fortitude. However, not every car produced was an instant success. One such example is the A6G which was first introduce in 1947. This model was not well received, and turned out poor performance, and lacked in style. This was in part due to a 1.5 Liter engine that could only muster a mere 65 hp. Not what one wants when in a racing machine. This was a great place to begin though, and with some tweaking, the 1953 Maserati A6G/2000 Spider turned out to be a sweet little ride.
In 1951, the A6 went through a few modifications to improve its likeability. For starters, the single overhead cam was replaced by a 2.0 liter displacement that helped to improve the hp rating to 100. This was an improvement, but still not the best tasting candy on the market, so back to the drawing board for more modification.
The coachwork by Pinin Farina for the Berlina, the Coupe by Vignale, and the Spider models by Frua gave new life to the A6, but this was still not enough to have the 2nd wave of the A6 be the success that was hoped for. Only 16 were produced in this phase of the operation. With forward thinking, aspects of the automobile were taken to heart and a prize was conceived.
The phrase “third time is a charm” really came through for the Maserati with its third stab at the A6G/2000. A few things happened here that truly made the car a success. Although it was never a speed demon, the design of the car took on a classic racing look. The addition of the DOHC valve train and a dual-spark engine with natural aspiration helped to increase output to near 200hp. The 1953 Maserati A6G/2000 Spyder was later replaced by the 3500 GT, but it is still a classic car to appreciate.
The 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Competition Spider is an exceedingly rare European built two door convertible race car. This sports car was designed with rear wheel drive and a five speed manual transmission. The engine is an incredible V12 Tipo 102. The Competition Spider weighs in at 2400 pounds. This lightweight racer is only 102 inches long and 53 inches tall. The double wishbone suspension with transverse leaf springs added both to the appeal and driveability of the Spider.
The makers of the 953 Ferrari 340 MM Competition Spider stated that the car was able to reach a top speed of 174 miles per hour. This speed was accomplished when the vehicle won the 1954 Nassau Trophy race.
Only 26 of the 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Competition Spider were ever made. Fifteen of those vehicles were made by race legend, Pinin Farina. Farina was a two time winner of notional race championships in Argentina in both 1955 and 1956.
The 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Competition Spider took its name from the Mille Miglia race win in 1953. The drivers sped their way to an ultimate win driving a Vignale Spyder. The win boasted Ferrari’s legend as a superior maker of race cars as this was the fifth win in as many years.
One of the few remaining 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Competition Spider’s is going up for auction in Monterrey in August of 2012.
1953 Ferrari 340 MM Competition Spider Photo Gallery: