Some American cars are widely known as Chevrolet Corvette. Regarded by some as a muscle car and by others as a sports car, this model has been a huge success for the brand, with the car now in its eighth generation.
The original Corvette, the C1, was released back in 1953, while the most modern iteration was released in 2020. While most people feel they know everything there is to know about this iconic sports car, some of the facts on this list might surprise you. Here are 10 facts about the Corvette that only die-hard fans know.
10 Generation C7 Very Fast In Reverse Gear
While you may be more interested in the Corvette’s straight-line speed, you may be surprised to learn that the car is incredibly fast in reverse.
In fact, it’s quite possibly the fastest reverse car ever made. The driver of the car reaches an astounding 53 mph in reverse. While this trick has almost no real-world application, it’s definitely something to add to the car’s bragging rights. We certainly don’t recommend that you test this fact, because traveling at that speed with limited visibility is risky, to put it mildly. Even on closed tracks, there is a high risk of damaging the car, as steering inputs can easily knock you out.
9 His Name Comes From The Battleship
Naming a car can be a tricky job, misnaming it, and the sale may never arrive. Being such an important model for a brand, a good name is very important.
To decide on a name, the brand staff submits a name, and the best one is selected. The Corvette eventually took the crown, and its name comes from the speedboats used in the Second World War. It was definitely a good choice, as the name remains unchanged to this day.
8 Split Window Version Available For A Limited Time
One of the most iconic design features of all generations of Corvettes, is the beautiful split rear window. Available for only one year, and fitted to the 1963 Stingray model, this Corvette is extremely rare.
Surprisingly, many buyers of this second-generation car did not appreciate the design, complaining that rear visibility was severely impaired. Some owners even went so far as to remove the windows, and as a result Chevrolet had to revise their designs. Today, the tables have turned, and the 1963 Corvette split window coupe is now attracting some of the highest selling prices.
7 Cars Have Left A Legacy Of Windshield Design
While the windshield is not an aspect that many buyers pay attention to. There’s something quite interesting about being mounted on a Corvette.
The first-generation C1/ had a futuristic-looking “wraparound” windshield, and Chevrolet was the first mainstream manufacturer to integrate this feature. While this looks great and is very popular, it turns out that the design produces an unacceptable level of visual distortion. For this reason, the design was shelved. Safety is also a big concern, as the lack of a traditional A-pillar would put passengers at higher risk in a crash.
6 Original Logo Does Not Comply With The Law
Designer Robert Bartholomew came up with the original logo for the 1953 Corvette. The design is simple and seemingly non-offensive, featuring the US flag and the checkered flag associated with racing.
However, what Bartholomew clearly didn’t know was that Stars and Stripes could not legally be displayed on commercial products. Fortunately, the breach was discovered before the car’s launch and a “fleur-de-lis” design was implemented instead, celebrating the legacy of the French brand.
5 Manual Gearbox Discontinued During 1982
Being a car designed primarily for enthusiast driving, the choice of a manual gearbox is quite a necessity. Despite the first two years of production (1953 and 1954) when it could only be obtained with the “Powerglide” automatic transmission, the Corvette always met this need. Well, that was until 1982.
For unknown reasons, Chevrolet dropped the manual gearbox in 1982, making all of that year’s ‘vettes automatic. There was backlash from customers, who were disappointed with the decision, and the brand revived the manual for the 1984 model year. The reintroduction undoubtedly took place in 1983, but that year no new cars were produced, due to associated development delays. with the fourth generation car (C4).
4 Corvette Goes From No Baggage To Two
While Corvette buyers are unlikely to buy a car because of its carrying capacity, there’s no denying that having space does make life a lot easier.
The current C8 generation car is actually quite generous, with the two trunks offering a combined 357 liters of space. While this won’t set the world on fire, it does better than a small hatchback. Skip back to 1963, and the introduction of the second generation, or C2 model, which offered a small cubby area behind the seats but didn’t get in the way of conventional luggage. This trend persisted for about 20 years, before the release of the fourth-generation car in 1984, and today’s buyers may not appreciate how lucky they were.
3 Astronauts Given Discount Access
Over the years, many famous astronauts have owned the Chevrolet Corvette. The relationship began when the first American in space, Alan Shepard, was presented with a car after his journey.
NASA doesn’t allow its employees to receive free stuff, so to work around this, local dealers rent out cars to astronauts for as little as $1. With deals like that, it’s no wonder they’re so popular with astronauts.
2 It Caused Fiberglass To Be Mainstream
The original 1953 first-generation Corvette was one of the first cars to use fiberglass extensively in its construction. The material was not trusted or considered very highly, and few cars were made from it in the 1950s.
Today, the material is fully accepted and used by manufacturers, thanks in large part to the pioneering role of the Corvette.
1 Stingrays Inspired by a Fish
While it’s not uncommon for automakers to take inspiration from nature when designing their vehicles, the second generation, 1963 Corvette took it a step further, by imitating fish. To be precise, the short-finned mako shark, a cousin of the dreaded great white shark.
After catching one of the creatures during a fishing trip in Florida, the head of design at General Motors, Bill Mitchell, enlisted the help of designer Larry Shinoda to create a design that imitated the shark he was so interested in. A concept version was revealed in 1961 under the name XP-755 Shark, and its radical styling was tamed to influence the design of the second generation of cars.