On the eve of the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chevrolet is set to unveil Sunday night the latest incarnation of an iconic symbol of American muscle: the highly anticipated 2014 Corvette C7.
Chevrolet, a division of the General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM), will reveal the seventh redesign of the world’s best-selling sports car at 7 p.m. EST. Chevy has posted a live stream of the event, embedded above.
The first model of the two-seat muscle machine made its debut in New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Jan. 16, 1953, to immediate public embrace. The first production run was only 150 cars, but it was quickly doubled as the initial group sold out almost instantly. GM’s chief engineer at the time, Ed Cole, knew the car in the enusing years would need a bigger engine to really capture the muscle mentality of the 1950s, when big, gleaming, powerful automobiles were emblematic of postwar America's global strength.
Consequently, the 1957 version of the car was a souped-up 283-horsepower machine. In contrast, the new C7 has 450 horsepower and can go from zero to 60 mph in four seconds.
The Corvette was introduced in an effort to give Chevy -- previously known for high-volume, low-cost, typical-performance automobiles -- a sexier niche. For the most part, it worked, but over time the Corvette lost some of its luster. It has even become known as an auto for the older generation: people who want to relive their youth in the 1950s or what they've seen about that car-crazy period in the movies. More than 50 percent of Corvette buyers now are 55 or older.
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GM plans to market the C7 to younger people and has already included a camouflaged version of the car in the video-game Gran Turismo 5. Similar promotional activities and advertising campagns are expected in the coming months.
The new Corvette will be assembled in Bowling Green, Ky., beginning around the fall of this year.