When I was a little girl my dad used to take me to every car show that passed through town. I hated it. That is until I fell in love (instantly) with the beautifully streamlined Corvette in the summer of ’81. The C3 Corvette made famous by the 1978 release of the movie Corvette Summer was my all-time favorite. I was eight years old when this movie came out and all I wanted for every birthday after that was my very own Vette.
Since 1953, Chevrolet has been producing Corvette’s. This unique and powerful two-seated sports car has achieved what no other car has in automotive history; continuous production. The first 300 Corvette’s were manufactured in Flint, Michigan. All were white roadsters with red interior. Made of fiberglass with weak 150 horsepower 6 cylinder engines, the first Vettes were built more for cruising than for racing.
By the 1960′s, engine options increased and the Corvette Grand Sport was born. In 1963, production rose to some 27,000 cars per year. Around this time we were introduced to the infamous “muscle cars”. The Corvette was originally designed by GM designer Harley Earl and was meant to compete with other muscle cars of its era. The 1968 introduction of the Stingray models were by far the largest generation of cars ever produced. From 1968 to 1982, 540,000 Corvettes were produced and manufactured. This era did, however; bring about a depression in both horsepower and value. The early 1980′s brought us new Corvette prototypes but many had their problems with quality standards. It wasn’t until 1984, with the release of the C4, that Chevrolet Corvette’s once again gained in popularity. By kicking out a model that exceeded in quality and horsepower, Chevrolet gave us an affordable, driveable Vette, suitable for every day use.
In 1997, Chevrolet reclaimed their status in high performance sports car manufacturing by introducing to us the C5. Many of these models popped up in world class auto races around the world. The Corvette’s of the last decade or so exceeded standards by giving us Vettes capable of reaching speeds of over 200 mph, such as the ZR1 models. What will the Vettes of the future bring to the steering column? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?
The years passed and I never got that birthday wish, but I still look back fondly at the memory of the C3. Today, I work daily with the Corvette and I still get that same tingle everytime I see one.