1958 Chevrolet Corvette
|Written by Sports Car Market|
|Friday, 31 May 2002 16:00|
The Chevrolet Corvette saw the light of day at the 1953 Motorama, the concept coming from Harley Earl, head of GM's Art and Color Department, who sought to produce an American counterpart to the imported Jaguar XK 120. Until then, America had been without a real postwar sports car. The Corvette was the first quantity-produced car to use a fiberglass body and was initially fitted with a straight six-cylinder engine producing 150 bhp through a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. Only two years later did the V8 become available, together with a three-speed manual gearbox. As the model evolved, it became both more powerful and offered a wider array of options. The 265-cubic-inch V8 became standard in 1956, and in 1957 a fuel-injection 283 cubic inch V8 that produced 283 horsepower became an option.
The 1958 Corvette was visually unmistakable, with its quad headlights and prominent "shark's tooth" grille. It was also ten inches longer, two inches wider and 200 pounds heavier than the 1957 model. The car was an immediate hit with the buying public, with 9,168 units selling, allowing Corvette to turn a profit for the very first time.