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.