While the rest of the Corvette hobby chose to celebrate the Corvette's 50th Birthday in Nashville, Tennessee, the REAL party was happening in Flint, Michigan, where all 300 of the first model year (1953) Corvettes were built.
Solid Axle Corvette Club members had the unique opportunity to reunite some of the surviving employees from the first Corvette assembly plant and some prized examples of those first Corvettes-50 years after they rolled out the factory door. It was an emotional gathering, to say the least.
A first-ever opportunity to view many of the original factory blueprints for constructing the '53 model Corvettes, plus papers documenting running changes made during those first months of assembly, was taken advantage of by most of the SACC members. Never before had anyone outside of General Motors been allowed to view any of these historic documents. We were informed that much of this remarkable material had not seen the light of day for over 40 years!
Twenty-nine of the original...
Twenty-nine of the original 300 '53 Corvettes returned home to Flint, MI, on the Corvette's 50th birthday. The people in the red shirts are former Flint assembly-line personnel, the very folks who built the first Corvettes. They were accorded the highest honors by SACC. This collection of '53s is parked on the same portion of Flint assembly plant lot where just completed, brand-new '53 Corvettes were stored, prior to shipping to a dealership.
Some portions of the original Flint assembly plant are still standing, although these last remainders of the historic building are slated for demolition soon. So, SACC staged a recreation of '53 Corvettes coming off the assembly line and exiting the building for their first exposure to the world. SACC members brought out 29 of the first-year Corvettes, and all 29 participated in the "drive-off" ceremony.
In addition to the Flint assembly plant festivities, the SACC 2003 National Convention featured three different "Shine-and-Show" exhibitions plus three road tours on some of the more scenic byways in the region.
The dates for the 2004 Solid Axle Corvette Club National Convention will be July 13-15 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This will be the first week of actual production for the new '05 C6 Corvette. We invite all Corvette enthusiasts to join us in Bowling Green next July. Ownership of a solid-axle Corvette is not necessary, just enthusiasm for, dedication to, and appreciation of the first generation Corvettes.
Editor's Note (Max Brockhouse, a resident of Chapin, Illinois, is vice president of the Solid Axle Corvette Club. SACC describes itself as "the club for those who appreciate Corvettes from 1953-1962" and accepts all solid-axles, from fully and correctly restored to all types of modifieds and basketcases. For more information about SACC, write to P.O. Box 2288, North Highlands, CA 95660.)
Not all of the '53s were perfectly...
Not all of the '53s were perfectly restored. Dave Foutch of Clayton Township, MI, has owned this unrestored car, number 253, since 1976. It had been involved in a traffic accident in 1965 and was never refurbished. After purchasing the car, Dave parked it in his barn where it lay in hibernation for 27 years. It was brought out of its long sleep in late June of 2003. The odometer shows just 41,369 miles!
A local Flint Chevy dealership...
A local Flint Chevy dealership cleared off their lot and hosted one of the three "Shine-and-Show" displays. Over 80 solid-axles filled the lot.
That's a '50s aftermarket...
That's a '50s aftermarket hardtop on the black '54. Chevrolet did not offer an auxiliary hardtop for Corvette roadsters or convertibles until the 1956 model year.