If you’re a student of Corvette trivia, history and memorabilia, the odds are pretty good that you’re familiar with the term Sting Ray. Since its introduction in 1963, that name and the now-famous emblem have become enduring icons in the American sports car hall of fame. Stingray is another iteration of the name, but we’ll need to take a step back in time to see how that evolved.
The Corvette Story actually starts earlier, but the first Corvette was completed on June 30, 1953, and that’s where we’ll begin. That model was the first year of what’s now known as the C1 generation. The first 15 units were hand built in a garage in Flint, Michigan. The rest were produced in a brand new GM factory in St. Louis, Missouri, built specifically for Corvette production.
Perhaps GM was not overly confident with the public’s acceptance of their new model, because they only produced 300 units. All 300 of the production units were sold at a base price slightly under $3,500. (Today, 225 of these units are still around.) They were all convertibles with two-speed automatic transmissions, all white in color, and they all had red interior. The following year, in response to a tremendous demand for the new car, GM increased production to 12 times that of the debut year, producing a total of 3,640 units.
Although the C1 Corvettes were produced until 1962, they were never given the Sting Ray or Stingray emblem. These first generation cars have come to be known as the “solid axle” generation because independent rear suspension wasn’t introduced until the 1963 model year.
And when that change took place and the C2 generation began rolling off the production lines, these models were christened with a new name that would become a household word in short order. They became known as the Sting Ray (two words).
The emblem bearing that version of the name was used from 1963 until 1967. When GM determined it was time for a new design, the 1968 model year Corvette became the first of the C3 generation. For some reason, lost to history at this point, this model year was not given the Sting Ray emblem.
It wasn’t until the 1969 model year that the name and its accompanying emblem were returned to their rightful place. However, there were a couple of revisions to the now familiar logo when it was revealed. The name had been reduced to one word—Stingray—and the typeface changed from a sans serif to a script. And the rest is history.
If you’d like to read more about the classic Corvettes, here’s a great link to the C2 Corvette. If the 1968-1982 model years are more your cup of tea, here’s a link to the C3 Corvette.
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