This was quite literally the birth of a legend.
The Chevrolet Corvette has become a thing of legend. Called America’s Sports Car by many, it has been a constant standard bearer for American automotive performance. You could even argue the sports car stands for freedom and you wouldn’t be wrong. But sometimes we forget the humble roots of the vehicle that’s become larger than life, which is why this video of 1953 Corvettes being built is a great reminder of how far the ‘Vette has come.
Watching the workers perform their various tasks is most satisfying, almost mesmerizing. They work with expert skill only someone who has performed these tasks countless times can command. Slowly, the cars begin to take shape using methods that by today’s standards look quaint, even backwards. It’s a far cry from the advanced production lines we have now, complete with robots doing welding, paint, and more.
The uniforms worn by different workers range from mundane to almost hilarious. At one point, a GM employee is wearing the kind of getup you’d expect to see someone at an old time soda fountain donning.
Also notable is the lack of safety equipment being used by GM workers. They work with resin, fiberglass, and paint sprayers without wearing gloves, respirators, or eye protection. It was a different time where standards were more relaxed and workers probably thought coughing uncontrollably was just them getting old.
When GM displayed the first full-scale Corvette concept in January of 1953 at the company’s Motorama in Waldorf Astoria Hotel, it was called a “dream car.” People went wild over it, and soon the ‘Vette was green-lit for production. Wasting no time, the first Chevy Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan on June 30. All 1953 models were white with an all-red interior.
Today, 1953 Chevrolet Corvette prices have soared to almost unbelievable levels. That’s been fueled by the fact only 300 cars were produced for the 1953 model year, with a documented 255 survivors.