October Corvette History

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

  • October 15, 1954:  Zora Arkus Duntov writes a memo to Ed Cole and Maurice Olley, noting that the Corvette appeared to be a failure.  He suggests that to drop the Corvette would be an admission of failure.  He urges General Motors not to cancel the car, but to create a separate department within Chevrolet to oversee Corvette Development.

  • October 7, 1960:  The CBS TV show, "Route 66" debuts with two young men driving a 1960 Corvette around the US in search of adventure.

  • October 13, 1962:  1963 model production Corvettes make their racing debut at the Los Angeles Times Three-Hour Invitational Grand Prix in Riverside, California.  The Ford-powered Shelby Cobra also makes its debut.  Four Z06-equipped Corvettes enter, but only one finished, driven by Doug Hooper.  The lone Cobra breaks its rear axle one hour into the race.  Hooper's Corvette wins the race.

  • October 5, 1965:  The second Mako shark II car debuts at the Paris Auto Show in France.  This version is fully drivable, with a 427ci engine.

  • October 4, 1973:  General Motors premiers the 390ci mid-engined Corvette Four-Rotor prototype at the Paris Automobile Salon in France.  The Corvette Two Rotor is also shown.  Both use rotary engines based on Wankel technology.

  • October 26, 1988;  The Callaway Sledgehammer Corvette reaches a top speed of 254.76 mph at the Transportation Research Center in Ohio.

  • October 18, 1989:  The final 1989 SCCA Corvette Challenge race is run, in St. Petersburg, Florida at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix circuit.  The Texas American Racing Team, with driver Scott Lagase, wins the race.&nbs; Overall, Bill Cooper of the Valley Chevrolet team wins the series.

  • October 1992:  General Motors executives approve the design of the next-generation Corvette, with a target release year of 1997.

  • October 19, 1995:  GM names Dave Hill, Corvette's vehicle line executive, a new title in General Motors' ongoing restructuring.

  • October 1, 1996:  The first production 1997 model Corvette is completed.

  • October 19, 1992:  Corvette program manager, Russ McLean informs his staff that the GM Strategy Board has placed all projects after 1996 on hold or canceled, including the 1997 Corvette and later projects.

  • October 1992:  The last (number 10) Callaway Twin Turbo Speedster Corvette is completed.

Corvette history compiled by Ken Pollson.