June 30, 1953 - a day that will live in infamy among Corvette enthusiasts. The first two 1953 production Corvettes were completed in a makeshift factory in Flint, Michigan. Harley Earl's dream had become reality. Built by hand, both were sent to Chevrolet Engineering for evaluation. Corrections and modifications ensued. By year's end, 300 Corvettes had been built.
There was only one color option in 1953 - Polo White. All were convertibles with black canvas tops. Wheels and interior were red. No exceptions. Each 1953 had a Powerglide automatic transmission mated to 150 HP and a six cylinder engine with three carburetors and dual exhaust. Brake and fuel lines ran outside the chassis frame. The surge tank was unique in that its surface was smooth. Fancy footwork was a requirement for drivers, as the first 175 Corvettes used a foot-operated windshield washer assembly. Tube-type whitewall tires got the 1953 where it needed to go.
Although listed as options, all 1953 Corvettes were equipped with a signal-seeking AM radio and a heater. Base price for a piece of the American Dream - $3,498. Today, a 1953 with low mileage that has been certified by a judging panel could go for as much as $190,000. The oldest known Corvette, VIN 0003, could demand roughly $750,000.
The rarest of all Corvettes, 255 of the original 300 are accounted for today.