May Corvette History

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

  • May 1, 1953:  Zora Arkus-Duntov starts work at Chevrolet as assistant staff engineer to Maurice Olley in Research and Development.

  • May 1, 1957:  A fully-synchronized four-speed transmission is first made available on the 1957 model Corvette, as a US$188.30 option.

  • May 1, 1988:  The first round of the SCCA Corvette Challenge race series is held in Dallas, Texas.  Mark Dismore wins the race.

  • May 3, 1993:  Corvette chief engineer Dave Hill unveils the CERV-4 test car at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren.  Most of the hundreds of people attending did not even know the test car was being built.  It cost Chevrolet about US$1.2 million to build.

  • May 5, 1994:  The two Corvette C5-R cars participate in a one-day test of the Paris Le Mans circuit, prior to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

  • May 13, 2000:  The eight-day One Lap of America race finishes. A 600 hp C5 entered by Chuck Mallett finishes Third. Fifth is a Lingenfelter ZR-1, and 7th is a Lingenfelter twin-turbo C5.

  • May 21, 2000:  The Nevada Open Road Challenge is held on a 90 mile stretch of highway S.R. 318 between Lund and Hiko.  78 of over 200 cars are Corvettes. A modified 1992 Corvette takes top speed of 227 MPH.  Another Corvette averages 207 MPH, taking first place.

  • May 22, 1953:  Work on building Corvette test cars #854 and #855 is ordered terminated, with completed components to be used as spare parts.

  • May 25, 1953:  In Indianapolis, Indiana, the Custom Car Show includes Corvette show car #853.

  • May 25, 1986:  In Indianapolis, Indiana, the 70th Indianapolis 500 race is held.  A yellow convertible 1986 Corvette is the official pace car.

  • May 28, 1978:  In Indianapolis, Indiana, the 62nd Indianapolis 500 race is held.  A 1978 Corvette is the official pace car, driven by Jim Rathmann. This is the first Indianapolis 500 pace car with a stock drivetrain.

  • May 28, 1995:  In Indianapolis, Indiana, the 79th Indianapolis 500 race is held. A 1995 Corvette performs the role of Official Pace Car.

  • May, 1956:  Zora Arkus-Duntov builds the Corvette SR-2 Sebring racer.

  • May, 1975:  A Car and Driver Reader's Choice Poll names the Corvette as "Best All-around Car".

  • May, 1986:  At the first annual vintage races at Riverside Raceway in California, Bob Paterson races his Grand Sport Corvette #003 to first place, among eight powerful Cobras.

  • May, 1994:  General Motors' Strategy Board convenes with Corvette group executives for the Concept Approval phase of the Four-Phase process of building new cars.  Conditional approval is given to pass from Phase Zero to Phase One, subject to a review in one month regarding production downtime between the 1996 model and the 1997 model.

  • May, 1994:  A Reeves Callaway Corvette qualifies at Le Mans for the pole position in the GT2 class. At the 6-hour mark, the car is leading in its class, and is 8th overall.  But at the 9-hour mark, the car runs out of gas, due to a fuel economy miscalculation.

Corvette history compiled by Ken Pollson.