The very first Corvette, the XP-122 rolled off the line in 1953. It's separated by 60 years of development and advancement from the 2013 Corvette 427 and though they don't share a single common component, the visual connection is obvious.
Tom Peters, the GM Performance Vehicle Design Director had this to say: "Every generation of Corvette has had a signature look, as the Corvette changed to reflect the high performance technology and design of the times. However, each generation of Corvette shares some common elements which create a consistent Corvette theme that is expressive, distinctly American, artful and passionate."
So as the Corvette enters its seventh decade here are some of the elements that will help you spot a Corvette from 100 yards away.
- Proportions: Each Corvette has similar proportions = from the long "dash to axle" element to the tail.
Peters continued: "Corvette designers have often looked to fighter planes for inspiration. You can see that aerospace in the Corvette's low, wide stance, proportionately small cockpit, and how the body is wrapped around the mechanical components."
- Waterfall effect: A powerful, signature cue common among all Corvette generations is the way a part of the exterior bodywork cascades into the passenger compartment between the seat backs, introduced on the first generation Corvette convertibles. Since then, the waterfall effect has been reinterpreted to make a seamless transition from the exterior to the interior of the Corvette.
- Dual cockpit architecture: Another iconic Corvette design cue that was inspired by jet fighters in the dual, wraparound cockpit. Introduced when Americans were obsessed with space flight, the wraparound cockpit instantly conveyed purposeful performance. Today, the Corvette's interior still conveys the car's sporting intentions, with easy access and visibility of the critical controls.
- The bodyside cover: While a spear-like chrome feature highlighted the side of the 1953-55 Corvettes, for 1956, a concave cover was sculpted into the bodywork behind the front wheels. Although its form and function have been reinterpreted over the years, a cove or vent has been a signature cue in the Corvette's bodyside ever since.
The last iconic element of the Corvette is the tail. It's not just the use of twinned and rounded tail lamps at either side of the back of the car. Instead, it's how the relationship between those lamps, exhaust pipes and event license plate opening compliment the low, wide proportions of the Corvette body.
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