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C1 History

(C1) First Generation Corvettes 1953-1962

Chevrolet's Corvette has been in production since June 1953. The 1953-1962 Corvette is referred to as the C1 or "First Generation" Corvette. Many fans of the "solid axel" series believe this is the only generation Corvette to represent the original concept car.

History:

1953 - The original 300 cars titled as 1953 Corvettes were produced in Flint, MI.

1954 - 3,640 roadsters were produced in St. Louis, MO, but a large percentage did not sell and were left on dealer's lots at the end of the 1954 model year.

1955 - The Corvette program came close to being discontinued by Chevrolet (see Duntov's letter). First V8 offered as an option.

1956 - New body style introduced. Dual four-barrel offered as a fuel delivery option. Optional removable hardtop was offered as an option. First year for optional power windows.

1957 - 283 cubic inch V8 as standard engine. Fuel injection offered as an option. Selection of the F.I. option resulted in the first production car to offer one-to-one horsepower to C.I. ratio. The Corvette was recognized as a world class performance automobile.

1958 - New body style with dual headlights was introduced.

1959 - Minor improvements, removed the 1958 fake hood vent moldings and trunk "iron rails."

1960 - Little change from 1959. No exterior changes.

1961 - New "duck-tailed" rear-end design introduced.

1962 - New 327 cubic inch V8 introduced as the standard engine. The chrome enclosed body side cavity was redesigned without the side molding. The last "solid axle" model.

Production numbers by year:

1953: 300
1954: 3,640
1955: 700
1956: 3,467
1957: 6,339
1958: 9,168
1959: 9,670
1960: 10,261
1961: 10,939
1962: 14,531
 
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