This is the Corvette prototype that made its debut at General Motors' Motorama in January, 1953. It was definitely the hit of the show, and GM announced that it would go into limited production by June. The first Corvettes were more 'eye candy' than sports car. They were grossly underpowered with Chevy's 'Blue Flame' six coupled with a two-speed automatic transmission. This prototype was retained by GM's engineering department and later used as a test bed for the new V-8 that would see production in 1955.
In 1953 the Corvette was debuted at the Motorama display at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. It was conceived by Harley J. Earl. It was a two seat convertible built by GM aimed at capturing the small car market from manufacturers like Jaguar and MG. All 1953 Corvettes were convertibles with black canvas tops, Polo white with red interiors, and built by hand.
Power came from an existing Chevrolet 235 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine. Modifications were done to it such as a three carburetor design and dual exhaust which resulted in higher horsepower ratings. The 150 hp 'Blue Flame Special' engine was paired with a a2-speed automatic gearbox. The first twenty-five vehicles used the standard Chevrolet 'baby moon' passenger car wheel covers due to a shortage of wheel covers.
During the 1953 production year, 300 Corvettes were produced making it the rarest Corvette. 255 are still in existence. In 1953 the base price for the Corvette was $3,498 with a heater and AM radio offered as optional equipment. The heater could be purchased for $91.40 and the AM Radio for $145.15.By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2008