As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Corvette, it is appropriate to reflect on some of the technologies that have been introduced through the “halo” Corvette. Of course, the introduction of a new technology to the mass market can be a sensitive issue and the risks to a brand, associated with a failure, can be large. For this reason, not all technologies developed using the Corvette as a platform have filtered down to the rest of the Chevrolet (or GM) line-up. In some cases, the market simply didn’t exist. In other cases, it was simply a matter of the technology reaching too far or exceeding the ability to manufacture.
On the other hand, we can easily trace the evolution of many technologies, as they are refined through improvements in our ability to process materials or an improved understanding of the basic processes. As an example, ongoing research into engine and driveline components is central to stay abreast in the horsepower race and to meet enhanced emission control and fuel economy requirements. Still other technologies can be described as revolutionary, representing a major shift in the way we conceive specific systems or components. In almost all cases, manufacturers will use their “halo” vehicles to introduce these new concepts to the market. We’ll look at a few of these developments in the rear-view mirror and try to get an appreciation of what each decade of Corvette has brought to the marketplace.
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