WHAT’S IN A NAME? How the Chevrolet Corvette came to be

 

Just like every person, place and thing, cars must have names in order to be identified. Without this fact … well, chaos would rule. When it comes to automobile names, carmakers ponder long and hard before betting their fortunes on the final decision. Here’s the story of how the Corvette got its name.

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This 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 (Lot #5035) sold for $3,850,000 at the 2014 Scottsdale Auction.

This 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 (Lot #5035) sold for $3,850,000 at the 2014 Scottsdale Auction.

The Corvette was originally championed by GM’s legendary styling director Harley Earl, who insisted there was room for an American entry in the European-dominated sports car market. (It was also his idea for the Corvette to have a fiberglass body.) But what to call this new sports car? Chevrolet decided they wanted a non-animal name that began with “C.” Over 300 names were submitted and discussed at an executive meeting; none would suffice. Myron Scott – a photographer who had created the All-American Soap Box Derby in 1934 – was working in Chevrolet’s public relations/advertising department, and decided to simply check the “C” section of the dictionary when he got home that night. He came across “Corvette” – the fast strike ship that gained fame in World War II. Scott felt the word rolled off the tongue well and would appeal to American men, many of whom had served in the war. When he suggested “Corvette” to the group the next day, they knew their search for a name was over. Thus, the new sports car, which did indeed share the attributes of small size and maneuverability with the lightly armed naval ships, began its epic land voyage in 1953.

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