Chevy Happy Returns

  • Chevrolet returns to Goodwood Festival of Speed for 2012
  • Corvette Celebrates 60th anniversary at prestigious venue

What have Dan Akroyd, Stevie Wonder, Jay Leno, Richard Branson and the Chevrolet Corvette all got in common?

Chevrolet Corvette

Believe it or not, they all celebrate their 60th birthdays in 2012. And in addition, they’re still looking pretty good for their age!

What better venue to celebrate, then, than the Goodwood Festival of Speed? Set in the heart of the Earl of March’s Goodwood estate, the Festival has become Britain’s premier motoring event, and the iconic Chevrolet brand is returning for the third year running, after marking its centenary in 2011, to celebrate another iconic birthday.

The first Chevrolet Corvette was born in 1952 as the EX-122 concept, designed by Harley Earl – GM’s first vice-president of design and the man behind the world’s first concept car, the 1939 Buick Y-Job.  Earl created the car to answer America’s rising demand for sports cars, which had seen an influx of sporting imports to the US, primarily from Jaguar and MG in the UK. Although built in 1952, it made its public debut in January 1953 at the GM Motorama, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.

It was named Corvette by Myron Scott, an American photo-journalist and founder of the original Soap Box Derby races, after a small French warship renowned for its manoeuvrability.

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 production fibreglass body, which allowed the designers to create moulded curves, saved weight and also prevented corrosion, which was a common problem for other models of the era.

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 – one of the USA’s oldest industrial cities, immortalised by the Everly Brothers in an eponymous 1967 hit.

Six generations later, the Corvette comes from the same production line, and remains America’s most popular high performance sports car. Over 1.3 million Corvettes have been built since the model’s inception.

Chevrolet UK Managing Director, Mark Terry, commented: “The Corvette is a true icon of the Chevrolet brand – it provides the performance DNA that runs through the whole Chevrolet model range. 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.”