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Today is the birthday of the Chevrolet Corvette.

It’s 58.

The creaton of Harley Earl rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan in 1953.  There were only 300 made.  The base price was $3498.oo.

A 1958 Corvette today would cost you about $185,ooo on e-bay.  Seriously, it’s in Brentwood, Tennessee…where all the Country Stars live.

It looked like this.

1953 Corvette

This First Generation style lasted until 1963 with the introduction of the Corvette Stingray.

1963 Corvette Stingray

Which frankly, is my favorite.  The Mako Shark inspired bullet car was designed by Larry Shinoda with major inspiration from a previous concept design called the “Q Corvette” by Peter Brock and Chuck Pohlmann under the styling direction of Bill Mitchell.  Mitchell was recruited by Harley Earl.  Harley was a pretty sharp guy.

The 3rd generation, 1968-1982 took on an even sleeker look, and featured T-Tops for the first time.  It sold in record numbers regardless of the new EPA reguations and the gas crisis of the 1970s.  I guess if you could afford a Corvette, you could afford gas.

1974 Stingray

Germantown, Ohio, where I grew UP was Corvette Crazy back then.  Most of them were Goodwood Green, a Chevrolet/GM signature color, and they rode around in packs through the tiny town. 

It was awesomely loud to this teenager driving his 1963 Dodge Dart with “push-button” transmission.

For shame!

The 3rd Generation included the 25th Anniversary Corvette as well.  It was sharkier looking generation and really, really popular.

The 4th Generation Corvette, or as I like to call it, the ungainly years, lasted from 1984-1996. 

1984 Corvette

1983 was not a good year for GM/Chevy or the Corvette.  The fourth generation Corvette was the first all-new Corvette since 1963. Production was supposed to begin for the 1983 model, but quality issues and part delays resulted in only forty-four 1983 model prototypes being produced.  They which were never sold. All of the prototypes were destroyed except one, it had white exterior and medium blue interior, a L83 350ci, 205HP V8, and 4-speed automatic transmission.  After extensive testing and modifications were completed, it was initially retired as a display sitting in a external wall over the Bowling Green Assembly Plant’s employee entrance. Later this only surviving 1983 prototype was removed, restored and is now on public display at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It is still owned by GM.

So, if anyone tells you they have an 83 – liar,liar, pants on fire!

Which brings us to C-5, or Generation 5.

 Corvette Z06 Hardtop Coupe 

From 1997 to 2004,  Cheverolet stole ideas from Nissan and Mazda listened to its customers’ complaints about styling design and ended UP being judged by the automotive press as improved in nearly every area over the previous Corvette design.  Frankly, it didn’t take much.

Now, with Generation 6, we have the most expensive Corvette ever, it’s also the safest.  It’s pretty too.

Corvette ZR1

Chevrolet has been working on the 7th Generation since 2007.

It was supposed to come out in 2011 to add to the 100th year celebration of Chevrolet, but well, the shit hit the fan with the car industry, and, oh heck, you read the papers.

The Corvette C7 will come equipped with Chevrolet’s upcoming 5.5 L small block V8 that features a number of technical advancements including an aluminum block and heads (does no one UP there remember the VEGA?) and a revised combustion system.

And for all you gear heads out there who actually know what this means, the engine will retain the pushrod, overhead valve design configuration.  WTF?

Power will likely total 440 hp (328 kW), – which is huge- an improvement over the 436 horsepower available currently in the Corvette C6, but with improved fuel economy due to the new engine’s smaller size and advanced features.

BTW, the MSRP is $109,800.00 for a 2011 Corvette ZR1.  Wonder what it will be worth in 58 years?

The C7 is on track for a debut in 2012.  Just in time for the end of the world.

So, happy birthday Corvette, even for a Thunderbird fan like me, it’s nice to know we’re both June babies, even if I am a year older!

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