Amongst classic car lovers, the Corvette Stingray has long been revered as one of the best vintage sports models ever made – but what’s all the fuss about?
With more than sixty years of production and eight design generations behind its name, the Corvette has long been regarded as the darling of the Chevrolet automotive brand. Few vehicles have ever received the widespread popularity and longevity that the Corvette has received for all these years, and even now it’s still regarded as “America’s Sports Car”.
The Corvette became synonymous with freedom and adventure, and whilst originally named after a literal warship, it’s considered to be both the most successful concept car in history, and the most popular sports car in history. However, of all the many makes and models ever released, it’s the Corvette Stingray concept car that is still regarded as one of the automotive giant’s very best masterpieces.
How The Corvette Stingray Came Roaring To Life
Like many other automobile manufacturers of the era, the onset of World War II saw a rapid change in direction for Chevrolet. The production of consumer automobiles quickly shifted to that of military grade trucks in the Canadian and American factories, and the manufacturing of civilian vehicles was put on hold while the world dealt with the war effort. However, once this moment in history passed, the 1950’s signalled a new era for Americans. Life was good, and it was time to think big – and that included cars.
The very first Corvette was actually unveiled as a show car for the 1953 General Motors Motorama, held January 17th – 23rd at New York’s exclusive Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Public enthusiasm for the Corvette certainly generated enough ‘buzz’ to speed production up from it’s twelve month wait period, and the first Corvette was released to the public in June that same year.
That model – the C1 Chevrolet Corvette – was produced between 1953 and 1962. Although it was a lightweight fibreglass-bodied two-door roadster, the C1 Corvette was a far cry from the performance icon the Corvette would become. Under the hood sat a 150-horsepower 3.9-litre I-6 paired with a two-speed automatic transmission, so while sales were initially slow to start, it certainly provided a good starting point.
Inspired by a recent trip to an Italian motor show, in 1957, Bill Mitchell – Vice President of Design at General Motors – gave his team a goal. His brief instructed them to create a car that was “a complete breakaway from anything that we’ve seen here in the past”. The resulting concept sketches depicted vehicles that departed from the rounded forms that were popular during the 1940’s and 1950’s, with the first 1963 Corvette Stingray.
Although it was technically the second generation of Corvettes, even in the early days the C2 Corvette Stingray of 1963 was already in a league of its own. Outrageously popular with its attractive and aggressive body style, the public had managed to purchase 10,594 coupes, and 10,919 convertibles – needless to say, the demand was almost insatiable.
This Corvette sourced its inspiration from a Q-Model concept ‘Vette, which was smaller and quicker than previous releases. The 1963 Corvette Stingray also included elements sourced from a concept CERV I, which was a rear-engine single-seat Corvette. By blending these features, the C2 Corvette Stingray became a car that boasted a futuristic and bold body, but still had the guts under the hood to back up its looks.
The 1963 Corvette Stingray was also the first American car to sport an independent rear suspension which used a single transverse nine-leaf spring and half-shafts attached to the linkage. As a result, this addition provided superior riding and handling. However, the C2 still sported the base 327 V8 from its 1962 predecessor, and was rated at 250 hp. Despite this, it could still reach 60mph in 5.8 seconds, and did the famous quarter-mile stretch at 14.5 seconds while reaching 102mph.
The first Corvette Stingray left such a strong impression on the American public, that the humble sports car is still in production today, with the latest model being released only last year in 2020. As it’s very name is a nod to the powerful yet sleek ocean predator, it’s unlikely that the global demand for the Stingray is to diminish anytime soon.
How To Get Your Hands On A Prized Corvette
As a piece of American history, a social experience and an all round affordable classic sports car, owning a Corvette has been on the bucket list for many car lovers young and old – but where do you find one?
Finding a fellow vintage auto enthusiast can feel a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, but rest assured that Wayne’s Garage understands the thrill more than most. Having spent forty years collecting anything and everything from matchbox cars to hub caps, he’s successfully followed his passion to source, collect and stock beautiful and low mileage classic automobiles from around the world. With extensive experience in the automotive industry, it was only a matter of time before Wayne expanded on his love of vintage, iconic vehicles to share his knowledge and passion with the public.
Although his passion is for automobiles built before 1978, with a particular love for Buicks, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Oldsmobiles and even Fords, Wayne is just as passionate about the stories of the owners. Just like the cars, he has found that his fellow classic car enthusiasts all have wildly different attractions and logic behind their passion or hobby, and this often translates into how the car is presented. If it’s even remotely different, rare or just plain unusual, Wayne will overcome the relevant logistical and geographical challenges of bringing the cars to his showroom in Australia.
Wayne’s Garage is a showroom conveniently located at Seventeen Mile Rocks, that specialises in the restoration and sales of vintage automobiles. In fact, he’s even got a fully restored 1993 Chevrolet Corvette 40th Anniversary model in stock right now. If you’re on the hunt for Brisbane classic cars – quite simply, Wayne is your man. If you would like to arrange a viewing or inspect any other of our classic vehicles, please get in touch with us today.