1953 Corvette NASCAR Unit

1953 Corvette NASCAR Unit

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Corvette's Little Known NASCAR Involvement Rick Tavel© All Rights Reserved The Chevrolet Corvette has one of the largest and longest running enthusiasts following of any car in the world. But that hasn't insured important historic events in the car's history have been recorded for WVZ[LYP[`0UMHJ[SVVRPUNIHJR[OLYLOH]LILLUZL]LYHSL]LU[ZHSVUN the timeline of America's sports car that historically should have been documented in greater detail. This is true not only for the Corvette it also applies to one of the largest and most popular automobile orga- UPaH[PVUZPU[OLOH[THU`MVS- SV^LYZVMIV[O[OL*VY]L[[LHUK5(:*(9KVUV[YLHSPaLPZ[OH[LHYS` PU[OLPYILNPUUPUNZ[OL[^VVYNHUPaH[PVU»ZPUKP]PK\HSOPZ[VYPLZPU[LY- sected. And they not only intersected but played a role in the future of both the Corvette and NASCAR. This is not well known and even less documented. The Corvette was on the cusp of being cancelled and NASCAR was attempting to forge a relationship with the largest H\[VTVIPSLKP]PZPVUPU.LULYHS4V[VYZ*OL]YVSL[5V[JVPUJPKLU[HS- S`[OL[^VTHQVYWSH`LYZMVYIV[O[OL*VY]L[[L,K*VSLHUK5(:*(9 )PN)PSS-YHUJL[LHTLK\WPU^OH[JHUILZ[ILKLZJYPILKHZHK\HS branding strategy to mutually enhance both brands. 0U [OYLL`LHYZHM[LY[OL*VY]L[[L»ZPU[YVK\J[PVU,K*VSLHUKOPZ engineering team were frantically looking for ways to keep the sports car alive and live up to the expectations of a true performance sports car. Ed Cole's strategy to redeem the Corvette was as old as racing it- ZLSMHUKJHUILILZ[Z\TTHYPaLKI`-VYKKLHSLY)VI;HZJH»ZWYVMV\UK TH_PT¸>PUVU:\UKH`:LSSVU4VUKH`¹ ,K*VSL[OLU[OLJOPLMLUNPULLYVM*OL]YVSL[OHUKWPJRLKOPZ[LHT from a talent rich pool both inside and outside General Motors. What TH[[LYLKTVZ[[V[OLJOPLMLUNPULLYHZPKLMYVTH[OVYV\NOHUKWYHJ- [PJHS\UKLYZ[HUKPUNVMLUNPULLYPUNWYPUJPWHSZHUKWYHJ[PJL^HZHU \YNLUJ`HUKH[[P[\KL[OH[UV[OPUN^HZPTWVZZPISL-YVT*VSL»ZZP_- [`[OYLL`LHYVSKOLHKVMYLZLHYJOHUKKL]LSVWTLU[4H\YPJL6SSL` [V[OL9\ZZPHUtTPNYtLUNPULLYAVYH(YR\Z+\U[V][V[OL[OYLL[PTL 0UKPHUHWVSPZ^PUULY4H\YP9VZLWS\ZV]LYHO\UKYLKVM[OLTVZ[ talented engineers in the business all contributed to the transformation of the stodgy and conservative Chevrolet division. Cole believed the Corvette could help ignite the transformation of Chevrolet before Cole's innovative new V8 engine would become H]HPSHISL>VYR^HZWYVNYLZZPUNVU*VSL»ZSPNO[^LPNO[OPNOYL]]PUN =LUNPULHULUNPUL[OH[WV[LU[PHSS`JV\SKYL]VS\[PVUPaL*OL]YVSL[ HUKOLSWJOHUNL[OLW\ISPJ»ZWLYJLW[PVUVM[OLJVUZLY]H[P]LKP]PZPVU but Cole's engine was still two years away when the Corvette was introduced at the 1953 Motorama and more importantly was the fact that the Corvette simply could not deliver the performance expected VMHZWVY[ZJHY;OLX\HSP[`WYVISLTZJV\SKILÄ_LKI\[P[^V\SK[HRL JVUZPKLYHIS`TVYLL_WLY[PZL[VHKKYLZZ[OLWLYMVYTHUJLPZZ\LZLZ[HI- lish credentials and change the public's perception of the sports car. Along with the growing interest in sports cars there was also a growing interest in racing and watching the nimble little cars compete. Though [OLYLPZSP[[SLOPZ[VYPJKVJ\TLU[H[PVUVU[OVZLWYL YHJLZ^LKV know that the Corvette competed before that in SCCA sanctioned road YHJLZHUKL]LUTVYL[VVRWSHJLVUSVJHSKPY[JSH`HUKWH]LKV]HSZ ZHUJ[PVULKI`VYNHUPaH[PVUZSPRL)PN)PSS-YHUJL»Z5(:*(95H[PVU- al Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) and Bill Claren's SCODA (Sports Car Owners and Drivers Association). Replace 10 NASCARCORVETTE.COM

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