1953-1962 Chevrolet Corvette

The very first Corvette in 1953 boasted glamorous Motorama show car looks, but it didn’t get its true performance chops until adding Chevrolet’s new small-block V-8 in 1955, available fuel injection in 1957, and a list of wins on the race track to its credit. In the process GM’s hallmark two-seater became “America’s sports car,” and from 1953-62 over 69,000 examples of the first generation Corvette (also known as the C1 Corvette) were sold.
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Hagerty Price Guide
Average price

$77,210

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Highest price

$176,000

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Lowest price

$45,000

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Body styles
2dr Convertible
2dr Roadster
1953
2dr Convertible-
2dr Roadster$176,000
1954
2dr Convertible-
2dr Roadster$64,850
1955
2dr Convertible-
2dr Roadster$79,900
1956
2dr Convertible$60,966
2dr Roadster-
1957
2dr Convertible$70,360
2dr Roadster-
1958
2dr Convertible$79,240
2dr Roadster-
1959
2dr Convertible$79,480
2dr Roadster-
1960
2dr Convertible$81,980
2dr Roadster-
1961
2dr Convertible$78,620
2dr Roadster-
1962
2dr Convertible$65,000
2dr Roadster-
Table displays average prices for #3 Good condition Corvette

1953-1962 Chevrolet Corvette configurations

Past sales

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1953-1962 Chevrolet Corvette for sale
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1953-1962 Chevrolet Corvette history

Generation Overview

After an enthusiastic reception of the 1953 Corvette Motorama Show Car, GM began actual production in June of 1953. All 300 1953 cars were Polo White with a Sportsman Red interior, and a 150-hp Blue Flame six-cylinder engine was under the hood. Production increased to 3,640 vehicles in 1954, but true sports car fans wanted more gears and more power. By 1955, Chevrolet responded with a 210-hp V-8 as standard equipment, as well as a 3-speed manual transmission option. Sales were still slow, particularly in comparison to the new 1955 Thunderbird that offered myriad comfort and convenience features that were unavailable on the Corvette, including outside door handles and roll-up windows.

Restyled in 1956 by Bob Cadaret to include the now famous side cove, the new Vette featured outside door handles, roll-up windows, and options like a hard top, power windows, and even a power assisted soft top. From a performance standpoint, the Corvette really hit its stride in 1957 with the addition of a 4-speed manual option, fuel injection and a dual quad 283 engine making over 270 hp. In 1958, none other than Harley Earl restyled the car, with 1958-only features such as hood louvers and chrome trunk spears as well as a bolder, nine-tooth grille treatment. The 1959 Corvettes are very similar, with the familiar twin headlight look, but sans the hood louvers and trunk spears. By 1960, Corvette production reached 10,000 vehicles for the first time, and the option list continued to grow with six new colors available and an aluminum radiator option on the 270 and 290-hp models.

1961 Corvettes were technically still part of the first generation of "C1" or first-generation solid axle Corvettes. They were substantially changed, however, from the 1956 cars. The grille “teeth” were eliminated and there was a completely different rear end with four round taillights that actually carried over into the all-new ’63 Sting Ray design, as did the substitution of an alternator instead of a generator. 1962 was also the last Vette to carry exposed headlights until the 2005 model, and is the last year for a Corvette with a solid rear axle. Another feature that was to carry over to the all new 1963 Sting Ray was the much loved 327 cubic inch small-block V-8 that was available in four states of tune from the base 250 hp up to the fuel injected 360-horse version.

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