Friday, December 28, 2012

Jay Leno Walk us Around Four Pristine Pieces of Corvette History

Most of you are already aware that American comedian and TV show host Jay Leno is a very serious car enthusiast who also likes to share his passion with others gearheads.

With the eagerly anticipated 2014 Corvette C7 just around the corner, Leno invited vice president of General Motors Design Ed Welburn to his garage. Welburn didn’t come alone, of course: he brought with him four Corvettes from the past.

The first is the model that introduced the Corvette to the world. Legendary GM Design Chief Harley Earl created the first ‘Vette inspired by European sports cars pf the time in 1953.

While it’s a beautiful design, both inside and out, the thing is, despite being touted as a sports car, it sported a six-cylinder with only 145HP and its styling didn’t care much for everyday driving necessities such as roll-up windows.

The next Corvette, which also happens to be GM CEO Dan Akerson’s personal car and will be auctioned for charity, is the 1958 model with the four round headlights and a much more serious 275HP engine.

By 1958, Earl had retired and was replaced by Bill Mitchell. The Stingray, which came a year later, was conceived as a pure racer. Restoring it to a pristine condition was his first priority when he joined the company, says Walburn, adding that the Stingray's design influenced the upcoming C7.

The 1963 street-legal Stingray coupe was, like the racer, influenced by the fish of the same name, hence the split rear window that’s supposed to resemble a spine.

You can learn many more interesting facts about the Corvette’s past by watching the video that follows the break.

By Andrew Tsaousis

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