March Corvette History

Showcasing classic Corvette models to the 2003 Corvette, this Official Heritage Chevrolet Corvette Photograph is from the General Motors Media Collection

  • March 2, 1990:  At the Firestone Test Center near Fort Stockton, Texas, a team of drivers set a dozen land speed records with a Corvette ZR-1 and a Corvette L-98.  Cars were in near stock condition, minus mufflers and catalytic converters.  Records include 5000 miles in a time of 28:46:12.462, 5000 km in a time of 17:40:53.748, and 4221.256 miles in 24 hours.  Average speed for all record runs were 170-175 MPH.  One driver is Corvette Development and Validation Manager John Heinricy.

  • March 6, 1996:  Corvette's Chief Engineer, Dave Hill makes the final decision to stop C4 model Corvette production and put all emphasis on C5. June 16 is set as the last day of building C4 Corvettes.

  • March 7, 1997:  Chevrolet begins selling the 1997 model Corvette.

  • March 14, 1977:  The 500,000th Corvette drives off the assembly line.

  • March 18, 2000:  In Florida, the 48th Annual Superflo 12 Hours at Sebring is held.  Corvette C5-R, #4, driven by Ron Fellows, Chris Kneifel, and Justin Bell, places 16th overall.  Corvette C5-R, #3, driven by Andy Pilgrim, Kelly Collins, and Frank Freon places 24th overall.

  • March 20, 1999:  At the 12 Hours of Sebring race, Ron Fellows, John Paul Jr., and Chris Kneifel drive C5-R No. 3, finishing 4th in class.  Andy Pilgrim, Scott Sharp, and John Heinricy drive C5-R No. 4, but do not finish the race.

  • March 23, 1957:  Chevrolet enters four Corvettes in the 12 Hours of Sebring race in Florida.  The Corvette SS (Super Sport), driven by John Fitch and Juan Fangio, runs only 120 miles before being retired on lap 23 due to erratic brakes and faulty rear suspension.  Richard Thompson and Gaston Andrey in No. 4 finish first in GT Production class, 12th overall.  A third Corvette wins Modified Production class, 15th overall.  The fourth Corvette takes 16th overall.  12th place is the best showing for a car in GT class at Sebring.

  • March 23, 1992:  General Motors applies for a registered trademark of "STINGRAY".

  • March 24, 1956:  Four 1956 Corvettes take part in the Florida International 12-Hour Grand Prix of Endurance, at Sebring, Florida.  Car No. 1, with 307-ci engine, driven by John Fitch and Walt Hansgen, runs in SCCA class C/Modified, and finishes the race, winning first in its class, and ninth overall.  Car No. 5, with 265-ci engine, high performance Duntov cam and 4.11-to-1 final drive, and driven by Dale Duncan and John Eager, runs in class B/Production, but breaks an axle shaft 20 minutes into the race. Car No. 6, with 265-ci engine, 3.70-to-1 final drive, driven by Ray Crawford and Max Goldman, runs in SCCA class B/Production, and finishes the race 6th in class and 15th overall.  Car No. 7, with 265-ci engine, 4.11-to-1 final drive, driven by Ernie Erickson and Chuck Hassan, runs in class B/Production, but blows a piston about 1:20 hours into the race.

  • March 27, 1962:  At the 12 Hours of Endurance race at Sebring, Florida, M.J.R. Wylie and Duncan Black drive Gulf Oil's 1962 Corvette to 2nd in A/Production class, and 18th overall.

  • March 27, 1978:  The Wall Street Journal runs a front-page article about the 1978 Corvette Indianapolis 500 Pace Cars, indicating they would be excellent investments.

  • March, 1960:  A Corvette finishes first in class at the 12 Hours of Sebring race.  Two Corvettes of the Camoradi racing team, driven by Jim Jeffords and Fred Gamble, finish second and third in GT class.

  • March, 1961:  At the 12 Hours of Sebring race, Corvette drivers Delmo Johnson and Dave Morgan finish 1st in GT class and 11th overall.

  • March, 1964:  A Corvette finishes first in GT category at the 12 Hours of Sebring race.

  • March, 1966:  Roger Penske, in his 1966 Corvette with 427 ci engine, finishes first in GT class at the 12 Hours of Sebring race.

  • March, 1967:  At the 12 Hours of Sebring race, Dave Morgan and Don Yenko compete in a 1967 L88 Corvette, finishing 1st in GT class and 10th overall.
  • March, 1968:  At the 12 Hours of Sebring race in Florida, Yenko/Rodriguez race 1968 L88 Corvette (No. 2), Thompson/DeLorenzo race 1968 L88 Corvette (No. 4), and Morgan/Sharp race 1968 L88 Corvette (No. 3).  One finishes first in GT class.

  • March, 1972:  At the 12 Hours of Sebring race in Florida, Dave Heinz and Bob Johnson race Toye English's 1969 L88 convertible to first in GT class.

  • March, 1973:  The driving team of John Greenwood, Ron Grable, and Mike Brockman drive a Corvette to a win in its class at Sebring, and taking third place overall, the best ever showing for a Corvette at Sebring

  • March, 1983:  The 1984 Corvette goes on sale in the US, except for California.

  • March, 1989:  Chevrolet introduces the Corvette ZR-1 at the Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland.

  • March, 1990:  Dennis Amodeo, winner of 36 Corvettes through a 1989 VH-1 contest, sells the collection to artist Peter Max for approximately US$1.5 million.

  • March, 1992:  Ground-breaking ceremony is held next to the Corvette plant for a permanent home for the National Corvette Museum.

Corvette history compiled by Ken Pollson.