England's Festival of Speed to mark the 60th anniversary of the Chevrolet prototype that led to the first Corvette sports cars.
Viknesh Vijayenthiran  | http://motorauthority.com  |  Posted March 14, 2012   Goodwood, GB
One of the first production 1953 Corvettes is on display at the National Corvette Museum. (Photo: National Corvette Museum)

The first Corvette wasn’t introduced to the public until 1953, but the original concept was born one year earlier when it was unveiled at the GM Motorama in New York City as the EX-122 concept. So 2012 actually marks 60 years of the Corvette.

To celebrate the event, the Chevrolet brand will make an appearance once again at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed taking place in the UK in late June.

An early Corvette is driven off the original assembly line in 1953. (Photo: General Motors Heritage Collection)

The appearance at the British event is quite fitting since a major reason for the Corvette was to answer America’s rising demand for sports cars, which had seen an influx of sporting imports from such British brands as Jaguar and MG.

The first Chevrolet Corvette was born in 1952 as the EX-122 concept, designed by the famed Harley Earl, GM’s first vice-president of design and the man behind the world’s first concept car, the 1939 Buick Y-Job.

The Corvette name, which was borrowed from a small French warship renowned for its maneuverability, was supplied by Myron Scott, an American photo-journalist and founder of the original Soap Box Derby races.

The intention was to create a sports car that would use affordable existing mechanical components but would be clothed in an ultra-modern, aerodynamic body. It was also the first mass-produced sports car (and one of the first cars) to have a fiberglass body, which allowed the designers to create molded curves as well as save weight and prevent corrosion.

The first models came with a derivative of GM’s renowned Blue Flame in-line six-cylinder engine, with the now-legendary V8 units first appearing in 1955. In 1981, Corvette production moved from Missouri to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the current C6 model is built and the upcoming C7 is destined to be.

More than 1.3 million Chevrolet Corvettes have been built since the model’s inception.

This story originally appeared at Motor Authority.

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