Corvettes Compared: '53 Roadster vs. '11 Convertible
Feature/Dimension 1953 2011
Wheelbase (in.) 102 105.7
Length (in.) 167 174.6
Width (in.) 72.2 72.6
Engine type Inline 6 OHV V-8
Displacement (ci) 235.5 376
Horsepower 150 (gross) 430 (net)
Transmission Two-speed auto. Six-speed auto.
Brakes Four-wheel drum Four-wheel disc w/ABS
Wheels 15-in. steel 18/19-in. aluminum
Curb weight (lbs.) 2,886 3,221 (convertible)

Corvette's Pioneering Paint Systems

While most of our main story focused on the advanced technology that has gone into the Corvette's lightweight body panels, we thought it also worth mentioning that the car has been a pioneer in the material that covers the panels: the paint. It started with the change in manufacturing locations from St. Louis to Bowling Green in 1981. That's when lacquer paint was abandoned in favor of the enamel-based basecoat/clearcoat system that would become the standard for the industry within a few years. And when the C5 was introduced for 1997, Bowling Green again led the way with the changeover to a more environmentally friendly waterborne paint system that reduced solvents in the mix from about 60 percent to around 10 percent. It also fostered richer colors in the palette. Today, waterborne paint systems are the norm at assembly plants all over North America.