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CHEVY'S CORVETTE AT 1 MILLION -- AMERICA'S NATIONAL CAR?

 CHEVY'S CORVETTE AT 1 MILLION -- AMERICA'S NATIONAL CAR?
 /ADVANCE/BOWLING GREEN, Ky., July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A strong


contender for the title "America's National Car" rolled today from the assembly line -- a white convertible with "1,000,000th Corvette" stitched into the headrests of its red leather seats.
 "From Kentucky, which prizes the best-bred horses, comes Corvette, recognized worldwide as a thoroughbred sports car," said Chevrolet General Manager Jim C. Perkins. "It also has become a symbol of this nation's automotive innovation and may well be 'America's National Car.'"
 The 1-millionth Corvette -- duplicating the colors of the first Corvette hand-built 39 years ago in Flint, Mich. -- was driven off the line by Paul J. Schnoes, Bowling Green plant manager, and Billy Jackson, president of United Auto Workers Local 2164 at the plant.
 Kentucky Gov. Brereton C. Jones, Lt. Gov. Paul E. Patton, Bowling Green Mayor Johnny Webb and other civic officials joined Perkins and other Chevrolet and UAW officials to welcome the milestone Corvette.
 Representing General Motors (NYSE: GM) were E. Michael Mutchler, vice president and group executive of North American Passenger Car Platforms, and Joseph D. Spielman, vice president and general manager of the Rear Drive Automotive Division.
 The ceremony -- covered by dozens of reporters, auto magazine editors and photographers, and carried nationally by satellite television -- ended with the plant's 1,100 employees and visitors singing "God Bless America."
 "Corvette has been called the American dream machine, but its appeal is international," Perkins said. "For every American kid who grew up aspiring to own and drive a Corvette, there's another with the same aspirations in Zurich or Frankfurt or Osaka."
 Perkins added that more Corvettes have been built than any other single sports car in automotive history and more than half are estimated to be still on the road. Corvettes are sold throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Japan, and there are more than 600 Corvette owner clubs around the world.
 He said another example of the car's universal appeal is that the privately funded National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green -- to which Chevrolet is donating the 1-millionth Corvette -- expects to draw 500,000 visitors annually after its anticipated opening in August 1993.
 The Chevrolet general manager said that Corvette's 1-millionth unit "celebrates the success with which Corvette has stuck to its mission from day one -- to be the uniquely American sports car for the driving enthusiast."
 Perkins said innovation has been a Corvette tradition since its introduction in 1953 as the world's first production car to feature rustproof fiberglass body panels. The 1-millionth continues this body construction.
 "Corvette's optional fuel injection system stunned the competition in 1957, as did a fully independent suspension in 1963, 4-wheel disc brakes in 1965, and a 4-wheel anti-lock brake system (ABS) in 1986," Perkins said.
 "In the 1990s, advances like the 300-horsepower LT1 V8 and Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR) are keeping Corvette drivers at the forefront of sports-car performance."
 Perkins said pretenders and contenders have challenged the Corvette from time to time -- the original Thunderbird, the Cobras of the 1960s, some European cars and recently, Japanese supercars.
 "They've all affected the Corvette," he said. "It is a better car because of them. But it is still the 'Top Gun' ... its greatness endures."
 Perkins said the legion of dedicated people responsible for Corvette's success includes GM and Chevrolet designers and engineers, Bowling Green employees, more than 250 supplier firms including some which have been involved with the car since its inception, and Chevrolet dealers.
 "Perhaps the greatest strength of America's premier sports car is the loyalty of its owners," Perkins continued. "Those wonderful people eat, sleep and breathe Corvettes. They rally, they race and they prize vintage 'Vettes as well as the latest models. Most are proud to be called 'Corvette nuts.'"
 Perkins said the high visibility of Corvette, including a large number of celebrity owners, has made the car successful far beyond its numbers to Chevrolet and GM.
 "Although Corvette has never achieved more than 2 percent of Chevrolet car sales in any of its 39 years on the market, it has added luster, excitement and pride to all Chevrolet vehicles," he said.
 "We've always said that there's a little bit of Corvette in every Chevrolet," Perkins added, "and that is still true in 1992."
 The Corvette was a "dream car" which became a reality after dazzling millions of visitors in the GM Motorama of 1953 which opened in January at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
 Its name came from the sleek, fast submarine chaser and convoy escort vehicle of World War II.
 On June 30, 1953, the production of 300 hand-assembled white convertibles with red interiors began in Flint. Production was moved in December 1953 to the Chevrolet assembly plant in St. Louis, where the bulk of Corvettes were built.
 The 250,000th Corvette -- a gold convertible -- was built in St. Louis on Nov. 19, 1969, and the 500,000th -- a white coupe -- rolled into history on March 15, 1977.
 Corvette moved to its third home and first exclusive assembly plant in 1981 when on June 1 of that year production began at Bowling Green. The 750,000th -- a white coupe -- was built there on Oct. 26, 1983.
 Here are specifications of Chevrolet's 1-millionth Corvette:
 -- 1992 Model 1YY67
 -- VIN 1G1YY33PXN5119134
 -- Arctic White convertible with black top and red leather trim
 -- 5.7 Liter LT1 V8 engine with Multi-Port Fuel Injection
 -- Hydra-matic 4L60 4-speed automatic transmission
 -- Four-wheel anti-lock brake system (ABS)
 -- Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR) traction control
 -- Four-wheel independent suspension
 -- Uniframe construction with fiberglass body panels
 -- PASS-Key anti-theft system
 -- Driver-side air bag
 -- Six-way power seats
 -- Electronic selective ride and handling
 -- Delco/Bose music system
 -0- 7/2/92/1500
 /CONTACT: Dave Hudgens of Chevrolet, 313-492-8846, or in Bowling Green, 502-745-8292/
 (GM) CO: Chevrolet Motor Division; General Motors Corporation ST: Michigan, Kentucky IN: AUT SU:


ML -- DE021 -- 6228 07/02/92 14:05 EDT
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Date:Jul 2, 1992
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