The Corvette’s body was made from glass-reinforced plastic.
Instead, general sales manager William Fish decided to supply Corvettes only to selected high-volume dealers, who would be instructed to sell them only to certain local VIPs such as celebrities, local government officials, and businessmen. The idea was to give the car desirable upmarket cachet and keep the longer waiting list of everyday customers hanging on until the mass-produced Corvettes arrived in 1954. Born of necessity, perhaps (with the best will in the world, Chevrolet couldn’t plunge straight into full production of a glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) body), but it was a shrewd attempt to boost the Corvette’s image. After all, this was not planned to be a low-production sports car like the exotic Jaguar XK120; at $3,498 the Corvette was around $1,000 cheaper, though still $1,000 more than the little MG. In theory, it was possible to buy one for less by ordering it without a radio (which accounted for $145.15 off the list price) or heater ($91.40). In practice, every Corvette built came with a heater and radio, so $3,500, give or take a couple of bucks, was the price. Other standard equipment included whitewall tires, a clock, a cigarette lighter, windshield washers, an exterior mirror, and—something of a novelty—a brake warning light for parking. Members of the press were not able to drive a Corvette until the end of September, and even then were allotted just seven miles each, and not on the public road but around General Motors’ Milford Proving Ground. The pressures of production meant that just eight test cars had to be shared among 400 journalists, which could hardly be Chevrolet Corvette 11
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