London Concours to celebrate an American Icon: the Chevrolet Corvette

London Concours to celebrate an American Icon: the Chevrolet Corvette

Image: Chevrolet Corvette - 8 Generations


Half a dozen Corvettes to convene at in the heart of the City this June
Display to chart history of this iconic model, from ‘50s to present day
Selection presented in partnership with the Classic Corvette Club UK and Classic & Sports Car
Eighth annual London Concours to run from the 4th to 6th of June at the Honourable Artillery Company near Old Street
Tickets on sale now at londonconcours.co.uk/tickets, from £35


The London Concours is excited to announce that this June’s show will celebrate the past 70 years of one of the most significant and iconic automotive creations of all: the Chevrolet Corvette. Running from the 4th to 6th June at the Honourable Artillery Company in the heart of the city, the event will gather ten models from throughout the Corvette’s illustrious history – from the seminal C1 of the 1950s right through to the cutting-edge, mid-engined C8 supercar of today. Presented in partnership with the Classic Corvette Club UK and Classic and Sports Car, the display will chart the progression of this defining model over the decades, offering fascinating snapshots of America and its automotive industry in the process.

 

The display will kick-off with the first-generation of Corvette, introduced in 1953, which was devised by General Motors to tap into America’s enthusiasm for European sports cars in the post-war years. Known as the ‘C1’, it featured a sleek body designed by Harvey Earl; it was the archetypal two-seater sports car, embodying ‘50s American optimism. The C1 was offered with a range of engines over the course of its nine-year production run, from a straight-six in the base car, up to a 5.4-litre 300+bhp V8. The motors could be mated either to a 2-speed ‘Powerglide’ auto, or a 3 or 4-speed manual box. As the first mass-produced American sports car, the C1 set the foundations for the enduring Corvette legacy and remains a landmark piece of industrial design.

 

The second-generation Corvette, more widely known as the ‘Sting Ray’, arrived on the scene in 1963. Designed by Larry Shinoda, who was also responsible for the Ford Mustang ‘Boss’ 302, the C2 became an instant classic. With its futuristic lines and split-rear window, it was an American sports car for the space age. Quite literally, in fact; from the ‘60s to ‘70s GM had an arrangement with NASA which saw legendary astronauts - the likes of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin - run top of the range, fire-breathing ‘vettes as company cars.

 

Under the long bonnet, the Sting Ray housed a variety of V8 engines, from the iconic small-block 327 to the mighty, 7.0-litre, 427 cubic inch monster – ideal for astronauts accustomed to rocket thrusters. Available as a convertible and a coupe, it also became a force to be reckoned with on the racetrack, with the rumbling, often side-piped Sting Ray taking the fight to European machines like the Jaguar E-Type at circuits around the world.

 

Also on show will be the equally distinctive C3 Corvette, which was introduced in 1968. While the C2 reflected the automotive and design landscape of the ‘60s, the C3, with its more curvaceous body and dramatic pop-up headlights, vibrantly reflected the more extravagant style of the 1970s. Over its 14-year production run, the C3 underwent various refinements; remarkably 21 different powerplants had been offered by the time production ceased in 1982, from more refined small block V8s to the decidedly less civilised, thunderous big-blocks versions. A customer in the early ‘70s could spec their C3 to have 450bhp, nearly 100bhp more than a contemporary Ferrari 512BB; a blue-collar American performance hero.

 

If the C3 embodied the ‘70s, then the C4, unveiled in 1984, was very much a machine of the 1980s. It embraced cutting-edge technology and aerodynamic design of the time, with a futuristic, digital dashboard, and an all-new chassis, using composite body panels to keep weight down. Under the skin the C4 was a marked step on from its predecessors, ditching the dated body-on-frame construction, while a six-speed manual gearbox was offered for the first time.

 

June’s show will also feature the C5, introduced in 1997, which modernised things further and became a great hit with performance car fans. The C5 featured the 345bhp LS1 5.7-litre V8 at its core, and, thanks to a lightweight structure, and a much more refined suspension system, it took all-round performance and handling to a new level. With high-tech magnetorheological dampers and a top speed of over 175mph, the driving experience was now comparable to much more expensive European competitors.

 

Arriving in 2005, the C6 Corvette - an evolution of the C5’s design - elevated performance to supercar levels. Motorsport inspired variants like the 505bhp, 7.0-litre Z06 and wild, supercharged 6.2-litre, 638bhp ZR1 packed immense straight-line performance, with the latter capable of over 200mph flat out. Evo dubbed the Z06 a “genuine all-American supercar”; these variants remain visceral, thrilling machines with real visual presence.

 

The C7, introduced in 2014, further evolved the Corvette, bringing sharper lines, more advanced materials, and yet more powerful engines. Generally, it stuck to the familiar recipe that had served the Corvette well for over 60 years – a large engine at the front nestled under a long bonnet, sending power to the rear wheels. Thanks to sophisticated technology, including the option of a swift-shifting 8-speed automatic ‘box, the C7 could go toe to toe with more exotic machinery; even in base form it was capable of hitting 60mph from rest in just 3.7 seconds, while at the top of the tree, the supercharged 755hp ZR1 could reach a hypercar troubling 215mph.

 

The Corvette retrospective will be rounded off by the latest-generation C8, introduced in 2020. The current ‘vette represented a revolution for the model chiefly on account of its shift to a mid-engined layout. This move enhanced both balance and agility – deploying the multi-cylinder, mid-engined recipe that has for so long been the preserve of blue-blooded European exotica, marking the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of this true automotive icon.

This is just one part of this summer’s event, which will assemble some 80 machines – from classics to modern hypercars - in an oasis of green in the heart of the city of London. Stay tuned for further class announcements in the weeks and months ahead as we approach the anticipated 8th edition of London Concours. 

 

Andrew Evans, Managing Director, London Concours, said: “We’re delighted to announce our landmark Corvette retrospective for this June’s show. The London Concours is all about celebrating the most significant, evocative cars, and the Chevrolet Corvette certainly ranks up there among the greats.Working with the Corvette Club of the UK and supported by Classic & Sports Car, we’re looking forward to charting the progression of a model that transcends the automotive world. ‘Icon’ is a word that’s thrown around liberally these days, but when it comes to the Corvette, it certainly applies.”

 

Beyond the cars, guests to the Honorary Artillery Company will be treated to a decadent range of food and drink options – including the all-day Club Concours hospitality experience, engaging live stage discussions, as well as a carefully selected line-up of luxury brands and boutiques. London Concours 2024 is set to be another unforgettable occasion of automotive indulgence.


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