Showing posts with label Business Auto Corvette. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business Auto Corvette. Show all posts

Sunday, June 28, 2009

This Day in History: Workers assemble first Corvette in Flint, Michigan

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June 28: General Interest
1953 : Workers assemble first Corvette in Flint, Michigan

On this day in 1953, workers at a Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan, assemble the first Corvette, a two-seater sports car that would become an American icon. The first completed production car rolled off the assembly line two days later, one of just 300 Corvettes made that year.

The idea for the Corvette originated with General Motors' pioneering designer Harley J. Earl, who in 1951 began developing plans for a low-cost American sports car that could compete with Europe’s MGs, Jaguars and Ferraris. The project was eventually code-named "Opel." In January 1953, GM debuted the Corvette concept car at its Motorama auto show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. It featured a fiberglass body and a six-cylinder engine and according to GM, was named for the "trim, fleet naval vessel that performed heroic escort and patrol duties during World War II." The Corvette was a big hit with the public at Motorama and GM soon put the roadster into production.

On June 30, 1953, the first Corvette came off the production line in Flint. It was hand-assembled and featured a Polo White exterior and red interior, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, a wraparound windshield, whitewall tires and detachable plastic curtains instead of side windows. The earliest Corvettes were designed to be opened from the inside and lacked exterior door handles. Other components included a clock, cigarette lighter and red warning light that activated when the parking brake was applied--a new feature at the time. The car carried an initial price tag of $3,490 and could go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 11 or 12 seconds, then considered a fairly average speed.

In 1954, the Corvette went into mass production at a Chevy plant in St. Louis, Missouri. Sales were lackluster in the beginning and GM considered discontinuing the line. However, rival company Ford had introduced the two-seater Thunderbird around the same time and GM did not want to be seen bowing to the competition. Another critical development in the Corvette's survival came in 1955, when it was equipped with the more powerful V-8 engine. Its performance and appeal steadily improved after that and it went on to earn the nickname "America's sports car" and become ingrained in pop culture through multiple references in movies, television and music.

General Interest
1953 : Workers assemble first Corvette in Flint, Michigan
1519 : Charles elected Holy Roman emperor
1914 : Archduke Ferdinand assassinated
1919 : Keynes predicts economic chaos
1969 : The Stonewall Riot

American Revolution
1836 : Former President James Madison dies

1914 : Ferdinand assassinated in Austro-Daimler

Civil War
1862 : Confederates capture the St. Nicolas

Cold War
1948 : Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM

1975 : A teenage girl's boyfriend murders her parents
1993 : A serial rapist strikes in Allentown

1992 : Two big quakes rock California

1916 : Lasky Co. and Famous Players Co. merge
1928 : "West End Blues" recorded
1975 : Rod Serling dies

1888 : Robert Louis Stevenson sets sail for the South Seas

Old West
1857 : Western writer Emerson Hough is born

1919 : Harry S. Truman marries Bess Wallace

1997 : Mike Tyson bites ear

Vietnam War
1965 : U.S. forces launch first offensive
1972 : Nixon announces draftees will not go to Vietnam

World War I
1914 : Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated

World War II
1940 : Britain recognizes General Charles de Gaulle as the leader of the Free French

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