For 60 years, Corvette's performance driven by advanced materials.
The 2013 Corvette Z06 exemplifies that philosophy. With a curb weight of only 1,451 kg and 505-horsepower, it is not only one of the lightest sports cars available in America, it has one of the best power-to-weight ratios of 6.33:1, which is better than key competitors.
"Horsepower isn't the only measure of performance," said Harlan Charles, Corvette's marketing manager. "Balance and low weight are just as important and that's where the Corvette excels. It has a heritage of employing cutting-edge technologies and materials to help optimize performance." Corvette's use of advance materials began in 1953, when the first Corvettes were produced with all-fiberglass bodies. Every Corvette since has featured a composite-material body.
Fiberglass, the lightweight, rustproof composite material, was first considered for use on a GM vehicle by legendary designer Harley Earl. Besides being an exotic choice for the early Fifties and having an undeniable weight advantage, fiberglass offered an economical way to create the low-volume Corvette without the expense of large sheet metal stamping dies.
Starting with the third generation in 1968, the body parts were manufactured with a press mold process, whereby the fiberglass material and resin were shaped in a die-like tool that produced smoother parts more quickly. It was a significant advancement in forming technology and laid the groundwork for a change in the body panels' material in 1973. That year, the composition changed from conventional fiberglass to sheet-molded composite, or SMC, which was composed of fiberglass, resin and a catalyst formed under high heat and pressure.
All Corvettes since 1973 have used SMC body panels, but the material composition has changed dramatically, featuring less traditional fiberglass and more lightweight plastic.
Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality.
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