More than any other vehicle, the Corvette represents the American sports car. Ironically, one of the men who helped to make the Corvette into the powerhouse it is today is a Belgian-born Russian engineer named Zora Arkov-Dunkov.
After seeing the Corvette prototype at a NY car show, he campaigned for GM to bring him on board. He loved the look of the car, but was highly disappointed at what was under the hood. His vision for the Corvette, coupled with Harley Earl’s original concept, made GM’s first foray into the sports car arena a smashing success.
The Corvette That Almost Wasn’t
The initial Corvette was a poor attempt by GM to create its first sports car. In 1953, GM decided to go with a fiberglass body design. While this was a bit innovative for the time, what powered the Corvette was definitely not.
The Corvette was created with spare Chevy parts, a Frankenstein of sorts. There wasn’t a whole lot of thought put into the engine and GM just dumped their 235 cubic inch 6-cylinder Chevy sedan motor in it. That is until Arkov-Dunkov and Ed Cole stepped in. Their vision was to create a powerful sports car and take advantage of the younger drivers and the emerging hot rod scene.
With the fiberglass design, came production issues. The GM factories weren’t really equipped or knowledgeable in this type of assembly. The first cars off the production line wouldn’t even start as the workers were unable to properly ground the vehicle. Needless to say, they figured it out.
At the time of its debut at the New York Auto Show, it was intended to be a concept car. It was only after an enormously enthusiastic reception at the show that GM decided to actually put it into production.
The Corvette is one of the longest running production cars in history. The Corvette has been consistently produced since its introduction in 1953. At this point, they are at 63 years and counting, with no signs of slowing down. They are like the Rolling Stones - around forever and showing no signs of old age. In fact, the Corvette has the Stones beat by a little more than a decade./p>
The Corvette has obviously been through some changes over the years and GM has wowed with most of them. There was a time in the early 80’s that the Corvette stumbled a bit until the 1984 C4 was rolled out and resurrected the line back into a premier sports car.