C1 First Generation Corvette circa 1953-1962

The first generation Corvette was introduced late in the 1953 model year and ended in 1962. These cars are often referred to as the "solid-axle" models since the independent rear suspension did not debut until the 1963 Sting Ray. 300 hand-built polo white Corvettes were produced for the 1953 model year, making it the rarest and one of the most sought after of all Corvettes. The 1955 model saw the introduction of the 265 cu in (4.34 L) V8 engine offered as an option, however the first seven off the production line featured the standard "Blue Flame" Inline-6.

A new body shape was introduced with the 1956 Corvette and an optional fuel injection system was made available starting in the middle of the 1957 model year. It was one of the first mass-produced engines in history to reach 1 bhp (0.75 kW) per cubic inch and Chevrolet's advertising agency used a "one hp per cubic inch" slogan for advertising the 283 bhp (211 kW) 283 cu in (4.64 L) Small-Block engine. Other early options included power windows (1956), hydraulically operated power convertible top (1956), four speed manual transmission (late 1957), and heavy duty brakes and suspension (1957).

The 1958 Corvette received another body freshening, with the most exterior chrome of any C1 generation model: quad headlights, hood louvers, twin trunk spars, and bumper exiting exhaust. The 1959-60 model years had few changes except a decreased amount of body chrome and increased engine horsepower.

For 1961, a complete redesign to the rear of the car was made with a preview of a design to come. It was a "boat tail" with four round tailight, a treatment continues to all following Corvettes. In 1962, the Chevrolet 283 cu in (4.64 L) small block was enlarged to 327 cu in (5.36 L) and produced a maximum of 340 bhp (250 kW) making it the fastest of the C1 generation. 1962 was the last year for the wrap around windshield, solid rear axle, and convertible-only body style. The trunk lid and exposed headlights disappeared for many decades.

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