At the 1953 Motorama, Chevrolet unveiled the 1953 Corvette which was quickly dubbed America's Sports Car. The 1953 Corvette was unprecedented in many ways it was the first production car with a body made of plastic material to be mass produced and it was also the first two seater sports car built by an American automobile manufacturer. However, the Corvette almost missed its debut party, due to a problem with the original emblem.
The Chevrolet Corvette has seen 6 generations of engineering and design changes since its introduction in 1953 throughout the 2007 model year and is extremely popular today amongst sports car enthusiasts as a sleek, sexy and sophisticated sports car. But the Corvette was not initially so readily accepted or popular with American car buyers. The first generation of Corvette was frowned upon due to its lack of power as compared to the European sports cars manufactured during this time period, in addition to its inadequate ability to come to a complete stop quickly and its lack of an advanced performance car transmission.
As sales continued to decline, General Motors seriously considered discontinuing the Corvette-until the introduction of Chevrolet's V8 engine in 1955 combined with the creative input of Zora Arkus-Duntov, a proactive and clever GM engineer who is credited for designing a three speed transmission to compliment the V8 engine in the Corvette. The new manual transmission and V8 engine were instrumental in changing the opinion of automotive experts and consumers' whose original impression of the Chevrolet Corvette was that it was inadequate and lacking pizzazz. With the new tranny and V8, the Chevrolet Corvette was now truly powerful and engaging amidst its European competition and was soon accepted into the inner circle of impressive performance based sports cars and the Corvette would become a symbol of the iconic evolution of a sleek, sexy and sophisticated sports car.
Over the years the Chevrolet Corvette has been the recipient of many awards including the prestigious Best Engineered Car of the 20th Century as determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers in 1999. The Corvette has also been used to represent the pace car on the track of the Indianapolis 500 nine times between 1978 and 2007.