Corvette: Year By Year

    

About The Corvette

    

1953 Corvette

1953 Chevrolet Corvette in Polo White

1953 Chevrolet Corvette in Polo White

Close1953 Chevrolet Corvette in Polo White

Modest Beginnings

As introduced in 1953, the Corvette was mostly a thrown together experiment. Production was limited to 300 units total, so sales of the entirely new model was not a problem.

1953 Chevrolet Corvette - first Corvette off the production line

1953 Chevrolet Corvette - first Corvette off the production line

Close1953 Chevrolet Corvette - first Corvette off the production line

   Above: The first Corvette reaches the end of the assembly line on June 30, 1953. The entire 1953 production took place in the back of a customer delivery garage in Flint Michigan. The first two were engineering test cars and according to official records, were destroyed. Of the first 300 Corvettes, approximately 225 are known to exist today.


First production Corvette - June 30, 1953

First production Corvette - June 30, 1953

CloseFirst production Corvette - June 30, 1953
Early 1953 Corvette wheel

Early 1953 Corvette Wheel Cover

CloseEarly 1953 Corvette wheel
Notice the Chevrolet Bel Air wheel covers. According to GM, they were supplied on the first 25 Corvettes. Photo on the right is the wheel on the 13th Corvette produced.
Later 1953 Corvette wheel

Later 1953 Corvette Wheel

CloseLater 1953 Corvette wheel
Right: The remaining production was equipped with the faux knock-off style. The same wheel continued thru 1957.
1953 Chevrolet Corvette

1953 Chevrolet Corvette

Close1953 Chevrolet Corvette

All 1953 Corvettes were Polo White with a red interior and a black canvas top. There were two options offered: a signal seeking AM radio ($145.15) and a heater ($91.40). Although listed as options, all 1953 Corvettes were equipped with both items. The base price was $3,498.00, including the federal excise tax and $248.00 for shipping and handling. The radio had an interesting feature: since fiberglass is electrically inert, the antenna was simply incorporated in the trunk lid. This would not be possible with a conventional steel body.

1953 Corvette X-Ray View

1953 Corvette X-Ray View

Close1953 Corvette X-Ray View
Later 1953 Corvette carburation

Later 1953 Corvette Wheel

CloseLater 1953 Corvette carburation
When introduced in 1953, the Corvette featured the "Blue Flame" six cylinder engine. This is not as the Chevrolet engineering team wanted things, but they had no choice. Although other GM marques featured V8 motors they were not willing to share; a very different situation compared to years later when various divisions would feature the same powerplants. It was renowned for reliability but with a rating of 105 HP, performance and sportiness was not included.

The engineering staff responded with the usual engine upgrade methods. A more radical camshaft rubbing on solid lifters, dual valve springs, and a higher compression ratio cylinder head (8.0:1; previous was 7.5:1) all contributed to the effort. The largest gain was achieved via an upgrade to the induction system. Three Carter type YH sidedraft carburetors featuring "bullet" air cleaners with an aluminum manifold were incorporated and the output soared to 150 bhp at 4,500 RPM.

1953 Corvette Blue Flame Special Engine

1953 Corvette Blue Flame Special Engine

Close1953 Corvette Blue Flame Special Engine
1953 Chevrolet Corvette EX122 on Pacific Coast Highway, August 2008

1953 Chevrolet Corvette EX122 on Pacific Coast Highway, August 2008

Close1953 Chevrolet Corvette EX122 on Pacific Coast Highway, August 2008
1953 Corvette C1 Postage Stamp

1953 Corvette C1 Postage Stamp

Close1953 Corvette C1 Postage Stamp

You know you've hit the big time…
When the post office issues a stamp in your honor. Announced in 2004 and available in 2005, it was the work of Carlsbad, California artist Art Fitzpatrick and featured the 1953 Corvette owned by noted Corvette restorer Noland Adams.

1953 Corvette C1 Noland Adams Stamp Car

1953 Corvette C1 Noland Adams Stamp Car

Close1953 Corvette C1 Noland Adams Stamp Car

The same car (#284) was auctioned by Russo and Steele in 2012 for $467,500.00.


1953 Corvette, Part Two
1953 Corvette, Part Three

1953 thru 1955 Photos
1954 Corvette

1953 Corvette Options