Route 66 Chevrolet Corvette Ektachrome Poster
Updated: Mar 9, 2022
After WWII, with servicemen returning from Europe with two-seater lightweight sports cars by MG, Jaguar and Alfa Romeo, the American motor industry began to take notice. Among them was Chevrolet, whose chief engineer Harvey Earl encouraged the company to produce a competitive model.
In 1953 the Chevrolet Corvette went into production in Flint, Michigan, and was basically a hand-built vehicle that bombed soon after its launch. It had many shortcomings, not least of them the fact that the fibreglass body leaked water in heavy rain, and doors that would swing open while the car was being driven. This was less than ideal, but Chevrolet stuck with it. In time, the car began receiving goog customer reviews when compared to European equivalents.
In 1956 Zora Arkus-Duntov took over after production moved to a new custom-built factory in St Louis, Missouri, and turned the Corvette into a world class sports car, which could take on and match many of its European counterparts.
The car was famously featured in a TV series which premiered in October 1960 called “Route 66”, starring Martin Milner as Tod Stiles, a middle-class college graduate from New England, and George Maharis as Buz Murdock, a working-class labourer from New York. The storyline was built around these two restless youngsters drifting across America, perhaps looking for some meaning to their lives, and generally finding adventure on the way. This was a well-produced series, which, unusually for its time, was filmed entirely on location, and ran for a total of 116 episodes until March 1964.
You can watch an excellent opening clip from one of the episodes on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yr9nmZiYj6g