Despite the many years, trends and innovations that separate the first Chevrolet Corvette from the most current, its classic look remains instantly recognizable. Sixty years of automotive development and advancement separate the 1953 XP-122 Motorama concept car and 2013 Corvette 427 Collector Edition convertible, yet they continue to share common design cues that maintain its signature American style.
“Every generation of Corvette has had a signature look, as the Corvette changed to reflect the high-performance technology and design of the times,” said Tom Peters, GM performance vehicle design director. “However, each generation of Corvette shares some common elements, which create a consistent Corvette theme that is expressive, artful, and passionate.”
Since 1953, more than 1.5 million Corvettes have been built. Those cars have become globally synonymous with American performance – from cruising on Route 66 to taking the checkered flag at the world’s most prestigious road race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
As Corvette celebrates its 60thanniversary, here are a few of the common elements that help give each unique Corvette a signature cue:
- Proportion: Corvette designers have often looked to fighter planes for inspiration. You can see that aerospace influence 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 is the way a part of the exterior bodywork cascades into the passenger compartment between the seat backs. While reinterpreted throughout the years, this effect makes a seamless transition from the exterior to the interior of Corvette.
- Dual cockpit architecture: Another iconic Corvette design cue that was inspired by jet fighters is the dual, wraparound cockpit. This cue conveys the car’s sporting intentions, with easy access and visibility of the critical controls.
- The bodyside cove: Arguably the most iconic Corvette design element, the cove has influenced the powerful fender shapes and the overall sculpture of the Corvette. With each generation the bodyside cove has become more functional.
Which design cue helps you recognize a Chevrolet Corvette?