September 1952, The Opel project sports car prototype is named CORVETTE, after a light fast type of World War II warship. The name was suggested by Myron Scott, employee of Campbell-Ewald, Chevrolet's advertising agency. Strong consideration had been given to naming the car "Corvair". Chevrolet executives wanted a "C" word, and regected 1500 suggestions. General Motors first began using the name Corvette for its new sports car as of September 27th, 1952.
The first Corvettes were too advanced for the factory. Because the Corvette was the first fiberglass body that GM mass produced, the factory was ill-equiped to handle the new tech, and they didn't know how to ground the car. The first few cars they made wouldn't start. Instead of driving them off the assembly line, they had to push. Only 300 made and all of them were white with red interior.
First Corvette off assembly line, June30, 1953.
The Corvette story involves Nazis, prostitutes and Christmas. Zora Arkus Duntov, a.k.a. "Father of the Corvette," was a Russian Jew born on Christmas in Belgium. He grew up in Germany, and was living in Paris when his wife had to outrun Nazis to Bordeaux in an MG while he hid in a bordello.
The first Corvette logo was illegal. Originally the Corvette was supposed to have a checkered flag and an American flag… until they realized that you can't trademark the American flag without changing it into an interpretation.
Corvette wasn't the original name. The car's code name was Opel while they were developing it.
GM lied about horsepower. The L88 engine was basically a racing engine for the street, so to discourage too many people from ordering it, Chevrolet published numbers that were about 70 horsepower below the actual rating, so that it would look less appealing than other engines. It worked — only 20 Corvettes were ordered with the L88 in 1967.
Corvette racing teams didn't always plan ahead. The L88-powered Corvette that competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in '67 not only set a record by topping 171 miles per hour on the legendary Mulsanne straight, but it actually had to be driven to the track, because the transporter was full of parts. Probably not coincidentally, the car's engine called it quits halfway through the race.
The Pontiac Banshee Out Corvetted the Corvette. Years before John DeLorean built Doc Brown's time machine, he was in charge of Pontiac. He wanted something that could hurt the Mustang, so they developed this Banshee... until GM said it would actually hurt the Corvette more. It's not a coincidence that the Corvettes of the seventies looked like a Banshee.
They understood the power of a photo. The 1978 Indy 500 Pace Car was painted specifically so that it would look good in black and white photography, because magazine ads were still typically not in color.
The ZR1 used a Lotus boat motor. The 375-horsepower LT5 engine used in the ZR1 of the early nineties was designed in England by the folks at Lotus, who then got in touch with the Mercury Marine people in Stillwater Oklahoma, who actually built the thing.
Prince wrote Little Red Corvette after dozing off in a backup singer's car following an all night recording session. He says the lyrics came to him in bits and pices during cat naps, but eventually, he finished the song without sleeping. It was Prince's first big hit. Chevrolet capitalized on the popularity of the song in 2001, when they put up billboards with a red 1963 Stingray that simply said, "They don't write songs about Volvo's".