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Corvette: The Complete History 1953 - 1982 Collectors Manual
Weight: 9 lbs.
Publisher: Bentley Publishers
Dimensions: 9.0 x 10.5 x 1.8 inches
Hardcover: 784 Pages w/ 989 Photos
FREE SHIPPING on all Orders in USA over $200.00.

The Corvette community has long been asking for an update of Karl Ludvigsen's Corvette - America's Star-Spangled Sports Car, published in 1973 and last refreshed in 1978. Ludvigsen has taken that task to heart. Covered in no less than 52 chapters, the essential elements of the original Corvette bible are still here, but it has been fully revised, reorganized, and expanded, including the addition of hundreds of new photos and illustrations.

  1. Americans Discover Sports Cars
    • The nature of the sports car
    • Early and late American examples
    • Kurtis, Cunningham, Nash-Healey and Crosley
    • Edwards and Darrin using the new body material fiberglass
  2. Plastic Fantastic
    • Henry Ford's plastic-bodied cars
    • Creation of glass-fiber and its uses
    • Postwar pioneers Stout and Darrin
    • Enter Eric Irwin, Bill Tritt and Earle Ebers
    • Glasspar and Life magazine of February 1952
    • Woodill Wildfire
  3. Styled by Harley Earl
    • Harley Earl and GM Styling
    • 1951's LeSabre and Buick XP-300
    • Watkins Glen 1951 and General LeMay's influence
    • Alembic I in Detroit
    • Studio in Fisher Body Plant 8
    • Arrival of Ed Cole at Chevrolet and his enthusiastic support for a sports-car design
  4. GM and GRP
    • GM engineers learn about glass-reinforced plastic (GRP)
    • Parts Fab and its early experiments
    • GM's GRP bodies for some 1953 Motorama dream cars
    • Plans to produce Chevrolet's Corvette
    • Bob Morrison rescues the role of GRP
    • Corvette is tooled for manufacture
  5. Chassis by Maurice Olley
    • Maurice Olley's R&D Department designs a chassis for Project Opel
    • Mauri Rose ramrods prototypes and hot-rods the Chevy six
    • Decision to use Powerglide
    • Myron Scott names SO 1737
    • Final details decided
    • Perspective: Corvettes Courageous
    • Production Corvettes Profiled: 1953-1955
  6. Dream Car or Nightmare
    • Final design changes before manufacturing
    • First production cars from Flint
    • Mill Building is plant in St. Louis
    • Tests of early cars
    • Marketing and the press launch with Mauri Rose
    • First sales to VIPs
    • Problems with the bodies
    • Slow sales force production cuts
    • Chevrolet's doubts about its new baby
  7. Sports Car in the Doldrums
    • Enter Zora Arkus-Duntov
    • Meeting Cole and Olley and joining GM
    • Special Corvettes for 1954 Motorama
    • Ideas for face-lifts
    • Enthusiast engine swaps
    • First tests with new V-8
    • Introduced with 1955 model
    • Sales still sluggish
    • Corvette faces extinction
    • Perspective: Zora Arkus-Duntov-The Early Years
  8. Creating the Real McCoy
    • The 1956 model
    • Ford's Thunderbird shows two-seater's potential
    • Handsome restyling with wind-up windows and hardtop
    • Experiments with transmissions
    • Duntov's chassis improvements and new camshaft
    • 150 mph at Daytona
    • SR-2 racing versions
    • Perspective: GM's La Salle II Dream Cars
  9. Corvette Learns to Race
    • Corvettes star at Daytona in 1956
    • First amateur racing efforts in 1954-55
    • Ed Cole urges racing but Duntov demurs
    • Smokey Yunick and John Fitch prepare cars for Sebring 1956
    • Corvette competes bravely in 12-hour race
  10. Le Mans in the Windscreen
    • Ambitious plans for international racing in 1956
    • Corvette and Dick Thompson surprise rivals in SCCA events
    • SR models defined for series production and homologation
    • Le Mans effort postponed
  11. Fuel Injection
    • John Dolza and Zora Duntov develop fuel injection
    • Constant-flow design chosen for production
    • Smokey Yunick helps racing development
    • In spite of late problems manufacture begins
    • Production Corvettes Profiled: 1956-1957
  12. Fabulous Fifty-Seven
    • The 1957 model
    • One horsepower per cubic inch
    • Full-synchro four-speed transmission introduced
    • Sparkling injected performance
    • Super Sport show car
  13. Return to Sebring
    • Production Corvettes for Sebring 1957
    • Shakedown at Nassau
    • SR-2 for Bill Mitchell
    • RPO 684 racing package
    • Daytona speed trials and racing
    • GT success at Sebring
    • Chevy's cars sold to private teams
    • American automakers agree to stop promoting performance
  14. Corvette SS - The Creation
    • Duntov's conviction that racing should be by special cars
    • Cole is Chevy general manager
    • Harley Earl threatens a V-8-engined Jaguar
    • Low-drag XP-64 racer styled
    • Duntov creates skunk works for chassis design
    • Multitube frame and special suspension
    • Tuned injected V-8
  15. Corvette SS - The Racing
    • Mule version of Corvette SS used for testing
    • Recruiting drivers for Sebring 1957
    • John Fitch and Piero Taruffi the choices
    • Fangio and Moss sensationally lap in the Mule
    • Racing version's extreme heat from exhaust headers
    • Problems in race and retirement
    • Shutting down the program
  16. Going for Baroque
    • The 1958 and 1959 models
    • Olds Golden Rocket inspires possible new body
    • Four headlamps front dramatic styling changes
    • New interior pioneers a console
    • Potent Corvettes excel in SCCA racing and record-breaking
    • Production rises
  17. Ed Cole's Q-Ship
    • New Code Q passenger cars for 1960 to have transaxles and independent rear suspension
    • XP-64 Corvette designed in 1957 to use components
    • Platform frame designed
    • Bill Mitchell inspires new body concept
    • Radical swing-up doors proposed
    • Mid-engined proposals also
    • Code Q's cancellation ends projects
    • Perspective: Mitchell on Mitchell
  18. Stingray Racer
    • Bill Mitchell succeeds Harley Earl
    • His passion for Corvettes
    • Mitchell acquires Corvette SS Mule chassis
    • Special body derived from Q-Corvette roadster
    • Curved underbody concept for downforce
    • Bill finances racing by Dick Thompson
    • He gains GM's approval
    • Stingray SCCA success in 1959 and 1960
  19. Mitchell's Motors
    • Mitchell XP-700 of 1958-59
    • Establishing Studio X with Ed Wayne, Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine
    • Foreshadowing look of future Corvette
    • Creation of XP-755 Shark for 1961
    • Production Corvettes Profiled: 1960-1961
  20. Sixty Specials
    • The 1960 model
    • Increased use of aluminum
    • Major suspension rethink
    • Racing entries abroad in GT category by Camoradi and Cunningham teams
    • Four start the Le Mans 24 Hours
    • Fitch and Grossman finish eighth and win their class thanks to Bill Frick's inspiration
  21. CERV at Your Service
    • In 1960 Duntov's team designs mid-engined "R Car" single-seater
    • Attack on Pikes Peak record a priority
    • Striking Studio X bodywork
    • Sensational appearance as "CERV I" at U.S. Grand Prix
    • Later engines with Roots blower and twin turbos
    • Tests at Daytona in 1962
    • In 1964 206 mph at Milford
  22. Ducktail for 1961
    • The 1961 model
    • New rear end based on XP-700 design
    • Successes in SCCA racing and at Sebring
    • Allen Markelson takes a C1 to Europe
    • Bunkie Knudsen becomes Chevy chief
    • Joe Pike named Corvette marketing manager
    • Perspective: C1 Inspires Coachbuilders
  23. Calling Car 327
    • The 1962 model
    • Consideration of the "W" V-8 for the Corvette
    • Original engine enlarged to 327 cubic inches
    • Two ratio spreads for four-speed box
    • Meeting the XK-E Jaguar on the track
    • Lone Corvette races at Le Mans
  24. International Initiative
    • Four-liter prototype rules for 1962 offer Duntov an opportunity
    • Bunkie Knudsen keen to compete
    • 36-valve V-8 of 4.0 liters planned
    • Space frame for CERV II
    • Ingenious transaxles
    • Shinoda smuggles body ideas
    • Corporate crackdown halts manufacture
    • Production Corvettes Profiled: 1962-1963
  25. A Legend's New Legs
    • Q-Corvette and Stingray provide ideas for aborted 1962 face-lift
    • XP-720 is project for all-new 1963 Corvette
    • Clever front suspension allows independent rear with transverse leaf spring
    • Rugged new perimeter frame
    • Engine and gearbox refined
    • Mule tested at Sebring in January 1962
  26. Concept-Car Styling
    • XP-720 to look like the racing Stingray
    • Controversy over coupe's split rear window
    • Challenge of hidden headlamps
    • Wind-tunnel testing of scale model in California
    • Compromises for four-passenger version craved by Ed Cole
    • Production of pilot cars at St. Louis
    • "Sting Ray" name established
  27. Year of the Sting Ray
    • Two shifts at St. Louis support record sales
    • Sensational interest in new Sting Ray
    • U.S. press reports
    • Coupe sent to Europe is evaluated
    • Divided rear window is criticized
    • Sting Ray called "tomorrow's car, on the street today."
    • Perspective: Corvette C2 Customs
  28. Fish Meets Serpent
    • High hopes for Sting Ray's racing success
    • RPO ZO6 created for competition
    • Knudsen involves Mickey Thompson
    • Cobra upsets applecart
    • Corvette wins first Riverside encounter
    • Cobra's acceptance by SCCA as production car ends Corvette's championship runs
  29. Grand Sport Genesis
    • Chevrolet's better idea for racing is ultralight Corvette
    • Production of 100 planned for GT car category
    • Special ladder frame and suspension
    • Ultralight fiberglass body
    • Hemi-head dual-ignition V-8 of 377 or 402 cubic inches
    • Ventilated disc brakes
  30. Lightweights Go Racing
    • Grand Sport production plans finalized
    • GM bigwigs reconfirm nonracing policy
    • Only five cars completed
    • Two raced in 1963 by Dick Doane and Grady Davis
    • Testing at Waterford Hills improves cornering
    • 377-cubic-inch engine specification confirmed
    • Perspective: Thomas and the Cheetah
  31. Meet Mr. Mecom
    • Texan John Mecom provides fig leaf for Grand Sport entries at Nassau in December 1963
    • "Green" final drives throw up problems
    • Cobras soundly thrashed
    • Bernard Cahier gives his impressions
    • Two rebuilt as roadsters
    • Cars sold to private owners
    • Roger Penske establishes team to race one
    • Production Corvettes Profiled: 1964-1965
  32. Sting Rays that Stop
    • The 1964 and 1965 models
    • Cleaner style with one-piece rear window
    • High-performance hydraulic-lifter V-8
    • In 1965 disc brakes after exhaustive development
    • GM's disc-brake evolution
  33. Power to Spare
    • The 1965 and 1966 models
    • Mark IV engine in '65 with 396 cubic inches
    • Optional outside exhausts
    • Fuel injection dropped for 1966
    • Mark IV now 427 cubic inches and nominal 425 bhp
    • RPO M22 "rock crusher" gearbox
  34. L88 the Great (click to preview this chapter)


  1. Winchell's Raiders
    • Frank Winchell's Chevrolet R&D takes an interest in Corvettes
    • Project XP-777 Corvair could be lighter version
    • GS-II was V-8-powered mid-engined car proposed to Knudsen for production
    • Thanks to Mitchell R&D begins cooperation with Jim Hall's Chaparral
    • XP-819 a rear-engined V-8 coupe
    • To compete with Ford's Mach 2 the XP-880 is built
    • Becomes 1968 Astro II show car
  2. Racing Four by Four
    • Direct opposition to Ford GT40 planned for 1964 GS-3
    • Later known as CERV II
    • Advanced Firestones powered by four-wheel drive
    • Patented torque-converter driveline
    • Single-overhead-cam hemi-head V-8 planned
    • Engine used as frame behind steel tub
    • Effort to build GS-3 comes to "screeching halt"
    • Perspective: Driving CERV II
  3. Mako Shark the Second
    • Astonishing X-15 single-seater based on Scarab
    • Ideas used in new XP-830 concept car planned in 1964
    • Mitchell's ideas implemented by Shinoda's studio
    • Shown at New York and Paris in 1965
    • Rich in fascinating features
    • Named Mako Shark II
    • becomes Manta Ray in 1969
  4. Choosing the Future
    • The 1968 model
    • Threats from Corvair, Camaro and designs of R&D
    • Fresh mid-engined proposals
    • New front-engined studies from Hank Haga and Larry Shinoda
    • Shinoda's concept closely related to Mako Shark II prevails
    • Poor visibility and aerodynamics of first body force delay from planned 1967 launch
    • Zora not fully in charge
    • last-minute cooling problems
    • Production Corvettes Profiled: 1968-1969
  5. Preening the Shark
    • The 1968 model
    • C2 underpinnings get overhaul
    • Turbo Hydra-Matic introduced

New suspension geometry and wider wheel rims

  • As "special consultant" Duntov takes a C3 to Europe
  • Production quality suffers and Car and Driver cancels a test
  • Astro-Vette a show-car version
  1. Return of the Stingray
    • The 1969 model
    • Arrival at Chevy of John DeLorean
    • 350-cubic-inch V-8
    • Alarm system option
    • Aluminum Mark IV blocks
    • Quarter-millionth Corvette
    • Rathmann and the astronauts
  2. Sharks With Teeth
    • L88 racing in 1968
    • DeLorenzo and Thompson race for Owens-Corning
    • John Greenwood brings fresh impetus
    • GM designers are involved
    • Lutz, Filipinetti and Greder join forces to create legends at Le Mans
    • the Shark's racing career
  3. Mid-Engine Mania
    • The 1968 design of XP-882
    • Adaptation of Oldsmobile Toronado transaxle
    • Two prototypes ready in 1969
    • Joe Pike's pessimism
    • Attempt to merge Camaro and Corvette
    • Surprise appearance at 1970 New York Show
  4. 'Vette for the Seventies
    • The 1970, 1971 and 1972 models
    • Styling freshening
    • Pricing rises
    • Solid-lifter LT1
    • Mark IV increased to 454 cubic inches and aluminum heads
    • Adapting to unleaded fuel
    • St. Louis plant activity
    • Production Corvettes Profiled: 1970-1973
  5. Foam and Aluminum the Answer?
    • Foam-plastic structure of Vega-based XP-898 of 1973
    • John DeLorean and Alex Mair support revived mid-engined XP-882 effort
    • Haga and Young style XP-895 version
    • Aluminum structure built by Reynolds and assessed in 1972
  6. Topping and Tailing the C3
    • The 1973 and 1974 models
    • Radial tires
    • Better body mounts
    • L82 engine option
    • Urethane plastic nose and tail
    • Gymkhana suspension
    • Last years for the Mark IV V-8
  7. Welcome to Wankel World
    • GM's commitment to the rotary Wankel engine

The XP-987GT Chevrolet GT of 1972 becomes the 2-Rotor Corvette of 1973

  • Design by Wasenko and MacKichan
  • Inspiration source for John DeLorean
  1. Aerovette the Magnificent
    • The 4-Rotor mid-engined Corvette concept of 1973
    • Wankel power package by Gib Hufstader
    • Styling by Mitchell, Palmer and Haga
    • Paris Salon star
    • GM decides against Wankel power
    • Change in 1976 to V-8-powered Aerovette
    • Its significance and influence
    • Production Corvettes Profiled: 1974-1975
  2. Period of Adjustment
    • The 1975 and 1976 models
    • Solely 350 V-8s
    • Bladder fuel tanks and catalysts
    • Paint issues
    • Elimination of the convertible
    • Retirement of Zora Arkus-Duntov
    • Arrival of Dave McLellan
    • GM management not keen on all-new Corvette
    • Perspective: Tribute to Zora Arkus-Duntov
  3. From Duntov to McLellan
    • The 1977 model
    • new Corvette chief Dave McLellan
    • Body-quality issues
    • V-6 experiments
    • Prices march upward to improve profits
    • Retirement of Bill Mitchell and Joe Pike
    • Irv Rybicki at Design Staff
    • Production Corvettes Profiled: 1976-1977
  4. Happy Anniversary!
    • The 1978 model
    • Fastback glazing
    • Aerodynamic refinements
    • New instrument panel
    • Silver Anniversary edition
    • Corvette demand intensifies
    • Frenzy over Pace Cars for the Indianapolis 500
    • Production Corvettes Profiled: 1978-1982
  5. Weight Watching the C3
    • The 1979 and 1980 models
    • Durability issues
    • Production sets records
    • Plastic seats lighter but controversial
    • Turbocharged V-8 experiments
    • Duntov Turbo
    • A turbine-powered C3
    • A four-door Corvette
    • Weight-reduction campaign
  6. Between Dream and Reality
    • The 1981 and 1982 models
    • A fiberglass leaf spring
    • Power seats and two-tone paint
    • Cross-Fire Fuel Injection
    • A new factory at Bowling Green, Kentucky
    • through the $20,000 barrier
    • Final Collector Edition lovingly created

Appendix I. Engines
Appendix II. Production and Sales
Appendix III. Serial Numbers
Appendix IV. Colors by Model Year
Appendix V. Base Specifications
Appendix VI. Equipment Buying Trends
Appendix VII. Corvette Racing Record