1953 Chevrolet Corvettes
After the dust settled from the rigors and sacrifices dictated by WWII, upbeat Americans sought a fun, sporting car to traverse America’s expanding roads system. Celebrating hard-earned victory and freedom, the 1953 Corvette was GM’s Chevrolet division’s experiment in two passenger sports cars. GM committed to build only 300 first-year examples, with a fiberglass crafted body, a feature of every Corvette body to come, right up to the present day. All 300 cars were painted Polo White, with red vinyl interior, black soft top and red wheels. They were propelled by a 150 hp inline “Blue Flame” six cylinder motor mated to a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. The result was a comfortable tourer at home on the straighter boulevards of suburban America. Base priced at $3,498, the only options were a heater and AM radio, but all 300 cars were built with both options.
The 53’s lines are rounded, sleek and sinuous, in deference to streamlining, which was, stylistically, all the rage back then. The spring-leaf suspension and modest drivetrain were utilitarian, typical of the time, as GM had yet to invest in working hardware that was fit for track or spirited road use. Today, and in recent decades, perhaps half of the ’53 Corvettes are still running, most of them having been restored to as new condition, commanding prices befitting one of Detroit’s rarest factory-made collectibles. That said, no Corvette collection can be called impressive without a ’53 holding a place of pride.