The 1953 Corvette was alone on its own island.


Here was a two-seater North American convertible that had no practical use for most post-war car owners.


Most car owners were at ground zero of a Baby Boom explosion of excess kids and an urgent need for at least two rows of seats in their cars.


A two-seater sports car from the General was as useful as an empty diaper bag for most families in 1953.


So GM produced only 300 of the controversial car for the 1953 model year. The first 15 were essentially hand-assembled in Flint Michigan, while the rest were built in a brand new Corvette factory in St Louis.


The car was designed for a buyer who was not currently doing his or her part for the population explosion. A 1953 Corvette practically shouted out a self-indulgent message about a single life of excess and fun.



The it’s-all-about-me concept was about as foreign to most 50s car buyers as self-proclaimed Communists at a Joseph McCarthy office party in 1953. Typical car owners needed lots of room for their crop of kids, so they didn’t need a swinging Vegas car- they needed a brand new suburb car with more doors and seats.



It’s interesting to note that Playboy magazine was also born in 1953. And what better way to celebrate the occasion than a semi-nude Marilyn Munroe in the first issue?


The 50s were about to encounter Playboy, Elvis and rock and roll in one big package of outrageous behavior. It may seem tame today but in the 50s… the combination seemed as crazy as a Corvette in your neighbor’s driveway.



None of it made sense, and a lot of it scared an older generation, but it marked the beginning of a new era of excess that would continue to this very day. The 50s would not be complete without the 1953 Corvette as part of the revolution.


Those individuals who were rebels in the 50s would be able to sell their original edition Marilyn Munroe edition Playboys and 1953 Corvettes for serious coin in 2011.



But if their swinging 50s lifestyles didn’t kill them by now, then 58 more years on their own odometers will likely have slowed them down by now.


Sincere apologies for nearly omitting the late John Wayne…the most famous 1953 Corvette owner-and a man too big to criticize.



Jim Sutherland

Many more car stories from a bygone era at


ROBERT:”Long before automobiles and women started taking up most of my free time there was John Wayne in my life, every Saturday at the movies. I never thought he would die. I remember thinking when he died, if something could kill the Duke, then it could happen to anyone”.

DENNIS:”My dad had a life sized cardboard statue of John Wayne in his office. The kind you would find in the lobby of a movie theater. You remember movie theatres, right? Those places our parents used to stick us on Saturdays to watch a hundred Bugs Bunny and Pop Eye cartoons, while they went shopping and ‘fooled around’, maybe going to the Chevy showroom and drooled over the new Corvette”.