The Goodwood Festival of Speed is Britain‘s premier motoring event celebrating racing heritage. Last year, the venue celebrated the centenary of the iconic Chevrolet brand. For 2012, Chevrolet returns once more to celebrate the 60th birthday of the Chevrolet Corvette.
First conceptualized as the 1952 EX-122 concept, designer Harley Earl wanted to create an American sports car to challenge Britain’s Jaguar and MG. The EX-122 made its first public debut in January 1953 at the GM Motorama, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.
GM also intended for its sports car to be made more affordable, utilizing existing mechanical components. However, this isn’t to say that the Corvette was made on the cheap. GM developed an ultra-modern, aerodynamic body and the Corvette became the first mass-produced vehicle to extensively use fiberglass, an innovative material that saved weight, prevented corrosion, and is capable of being molded into more complex shapes.
As for its engine, the first Corvettes came with GM’s ‘Blue Flame’ inline-six engine and an optional 265 cubic inch Small Block V8 before GM took it to new heights with a larger 283-hp 283 cubic inch Small Block V8 for 1957. The 283 became one of the first mass produced engines to achieve 1-hp per cubic inch.
Today, the Corvette remains one of America’s highly popular and iconic high performance sports cars. Over the span of six generations, more than 1.3 million Corvettes have been produced.
Chevrolet UK Managing Director Mark Terry said, “The Corvette is a true icon of the Chevrolet brand– it provides the performance DNA that runs through the whole Chevrolet model rage. Styling influences such as its trademark dual cockpit, there since the original, can be found in all of our cars today, and it still delivers the same performance, the same jaw-dropping styling and the same wow factor as it always has– it’s the greatest ambassador possible for the Chevrolet brand.”
Celebrate Corvette’s 60th with fellow automotive enthusiasts at the Goodwood Festival of Speed from June 28th to July 1, 2012.