12 Facts Only Real Heads Know About Chevrolet Corvette

12 Facts Only Real Heads Know About Chevrolet Corvette


Over the course of eight generations, Chevy Corvette got its name as “America’s Sports Car.” Increasing levels of performance and no shortage of special editions have resulted in a truly legendary status. During that long history, which goes back more than 70 years, Chevrolet has constantly played with the Corvette formula.


It’s filled with all kinds of interesting stories, fun facts, and interesting features of this all-time American sports car. HotCars were archived to find several pieces of Corvette history that any true head should know.


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12 Record-Setting Corvette For Back

There are many examples of Corvettes setting speed records, but there is only one that can claim the title for doing so in reverse. Scot Burner (real name) did it in his 2017 C7, hitting 54 mph and setting a Guinness World Record for “world’s fastest mile in reverse” in the process.


2017 Corvette specs

Engine

6.2L V8

Strong

455 hp

Torque

460 LB-FT

Contagion

7-Speed ​​Manual, 8-Speed ​​Automatic

High Speed

181 MPH

(Source: Car and Driver)

Equally impressive is that setting the record needed to take several turns, in reverse, to prepare for the final outright at NCM Motorsports Park. The unofficial recording of this song comes from Burner’s YouTube channel called “Always In Reverse”.

11 Corvette With Keyless Entry And Key Ignition

Chevrolet


In the early 1990s, the C4 Corvette pioneered the use of what Chevy called Passive Keyless Entry, a technology that allowed owners to lock and unlock the Corvette’s doors without inserting a key or pressing a button on the fob.

This is a familiar technology in 2024, but what’s interesting about this feature, is that back in 1993 it still required a physical key to be inserted into the ignition to start the car. These days, it’s hard to find any car with this old-school engine firing technique.

10 There’s More Than One Corvette Without a Stick

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Chevy made waves with the C8 Corvette by keeping it automatic only, ending a long tradition of enthusiast-friendly manual transmissions. Not to mention making it a mid engine. But some 40 years earlier, the automaker did the same thing when they released the manual for the 1982 Corvette.


1982 Corvette specs

Engine

5.7L “Cross-Fire” V8

Strong

200 hp

Contagion

4-Speed ​​Automatic

0-60 MPH

7.9 seconds

(Source: CorvSport)

Customer backlash quickly overturned the decision, which has no apparent reason, but the story traces its roots back even further — to 1953, the first year of the Corvette and the one that was equipped with a 2-speed Powerglide automatic.

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9 Chevy Installed the L88 Corvette

Mecum Auctions


In 2024, access to high-performance vehicles is the norm. In 1969, however, Chevrolet was not convinced that the average driver should be given the keys to a machine like the Corvette L88. Starting with the “standard” 427 V8, the L88 got a solid lift cam, forged pistons and crankshaft, heavier connecting rods, and other upgrades to produce 430 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque.

Highlights of the 1969 Corvette L88

Engine

427 CI V8

Strong

430 hp

Average Price Today

$318,135

(Sources: TopSpeed, Classic)

It was aimed at the die-hard Corvette fan and would put the L88 in a happy place on the racetrack. In an attempt to put it this way, the Chevy sales people did not talk about this unusual power. It was a natural, “If you know, you know.” That led to its extreme scarcity – and value – today, as Only 100 of the nearly 39,000 Corvettes built in 1969 featured the L88 engine.


8 Corvette With 36 Gallon Gas Tank

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The 2024 Chevy Corvette comes with an 18.5 gallon gas tank, which is on the high side for modern vehicles. At the other end of the Bowtie brand’s current lineup is the Chevy Suburban with a 28-gallon gas tank, which is relatively large.

All pale in comparison to the “Big Tank” variant of the C2 Corvette that came with a 36-gallon tank. As you might expect, this was intended to stretch track intervals, but it’s still a large tank given the car’s size. Only 41 were ever made and today the hand trades for more than $100,000.

7 NASA Astronauts Paid $1.00 for their Corvettes

Space.com


In one of the most memorable advertising moments in automotive history, Chevy tied the Corvette to the Space Age by gifting new Corvettes to NASA astronauts. It started with the first American in space, Alan Shepard. Although he already had a 1957 model, he was given a brand new 1962 Corvette when he returned to Earth.

Famous NASA Astronaut Corvettes

  • The Apollo 12 crew ordered 427 color-matched 1969 designs
  • The Apollo 15 crew coordinated a set of patriotic red, white and blue Corvettes

Due to NASA rules against gifts, this direct giveaway soon changed to a standard $1.00 transaction between astronauts, for a 1-year lease, and Florida businessman Jim Rathmann. Technically, any Chevrolet model was up for grabs, but most astronauts went for the ‘Vette.

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6 Rare German Car That Led Split Window Corvette

Hemmings


Because of its rarity, the 1963 Corvette Split Window is highly collectible today. But another lesser-known fact that makes these Corvettes interesting is that the rear window design was inspired by an even rarer car, the 1938 Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine from Germany.

1963 Corvette Split Window Current Values

Condition

Value

Concours

$191,000

Absolutely excellent

$133,000

Good

$98,000

Right

$77,200

(Source: Hagerty)

Legend has it that a US Air Force officer brought one of these Adlers from Europe in the mid-50s. A Mr. James McLynas ended up with the car and claimed that GM later “stole” the split window look during a chance meeting with the company’s designers. It is difficult to know how true the story isbut there is no denying the remarkable resemblance between the two.


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5 Stingray Inspired by Sharks

GM

The Stingray, or Sting Ray in the early days, is almost as popular a name as the Corvette. But Mako Shark may be more suitable. That’s because the 1963 Sting Ray is a direct descendant of the original Mako Shark concept car.

1963 Corvette specs

Engine

327 CI V8

Strong

250-360 HP

Production Volume

21,513 units

(Source: CorvSport.com)

Inspired by a real-life shark that GM chief designer Bill Mitchell caught on a fishing trip, this one-off sported an unmistakable blue color that blended into white on the sides of the car. Just like a shark. But, for reasons lost to history, Chevy went with the Sting Ray in 1963 and then the Stingray 6 years later.


4 The First Corvette Did Not Have A-Pillars

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As part of its efforts to present a modern sports car with the new Corvette, Chevy built it with a wraparound windshield. It was the first time this design was used on a regular car, but it didn’t last long.

Corvette windshield

  • It was only used on the first generation Corvette.
  • The driver’s visibility was reduced due to the curvature of the glass.
  • The lack of an A-pillar was an obvious safety issue.

It turns out, such a beautiful style causes a strange distortion when looking at it. Along with this safety issue, you can see from the design that there is an A-pillar that is replaced by glass. Although it was a neat design feature for the Corvette, it was quickly shelved due to safety concerns.


C3 Vette subscriber

Robert Bartholomew is credited with designing the Corvette logo. Today, the design is best known for combining a checkered flag to honor the Corvette’s racing credentials with a flag featuring a Chevy bowtie and fleur-de-lis.

But out of the gate, Bartholomew was using the American flag to go with the checkered version. Turns out, the US flag code prohibits using it for commercial purposes, so Chevy switched gears. The model offered pays homage to the automaker’s French heritage and is said to be from the Louis Chevrolet family.

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2 Fewer Than 200 Corvettes Were Sold In 1953

Mecum Auctions


It’s hard to imagine the Corvette ever struggling to sell, given how popular the car has been over the past few decades. But in 1953, the first year of the Corvette, Chevy only built 300 of their new sports car and managed to sell just 153 of them.

C1 Corvette Highlights

  • Only 300 were made
  • Each model came in Polo White color
  • “Hot Blue” inline-6 ​​was under the hood

These C1s were a far cry from the track-ready V8 bruisers that the modern Corvette has become. The very first Corvette was only offered with a Polo White paint job, a red interior, and an inline-6 ​​powertrain. Fortunately, Zora Arkus-Duntov would soon change all that and help create the Corvette we know today.

1 Zora Arkus-Duntov was not the Father of the Corvette

ViaL Chevrolet


The Internet is full of references to Zora Arkus-Duntov as the “Father of the Corvette,” and he played a key role in the car’s success, but it was famous automotive designer Harley Earl who came up with the idea for the Corvette in the first place.

Harley Earl, Zora, and The Corvette

  • The idea for the Corvette is credited to Harley Earl
  • He named it “Project Opel”
  • Zora Arkus-Duntov is credited with putting the V8 in the Corvette

Inspired by the European sports cars from Jaguar and MG that tore up tracks like Watkins Glen after WWII, Harley Earl presented the Corvette idea to GM brass, who immediately approved. It wasn’t until several years later that Arkus-Duntov convinced the executives to put a V8 under the hood. This was a very important development of the Corvette, but the original idea came from Earl.

Sources: Corvette Museum, Car and Driver, Corvette platformhotcars, The legacy of GM, Robb’s report, Automotive Trends, Hagerty, High Speed, Classic, GM authority