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Corvette History

Documenting the ups and downs of America's sportscar in red, white and blue

Andy Bolig - June 19, 2014 09:28 AM

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Ludvigsen painstakingly traces the evolution of its design, its structural engineering, and its power and performance

The Corvette legend is full of larger-than-life personalities, corporate politics, and several attempts to cancel the Corvette program outright.

Ludvigsen's complete history of the C1, C2 and C3 generations explores it all-from the tactical maneuvering of Harley Earl, Ed Cole and Maurice Olley to get the first Corvette Motorama cars built in the 1950s to the power struggles between John DeLorean, Ed Cole and Zora Arkus-Duntov over a mid-engined Corvette in the 1970s. GM's various marketing strategies for the Corvette are also outlined in detail.

The star player, of course, is the car itself. Ludvigsen painstakingly traces the evolution of its design, its structural engineering, and its power and performance-including extensive coverage of Corvette racing at both the amateur and professional levels. Technical drawings and colorful promotional photos of each production model are wonderfully balanced with superb shots of racing Corvettes and their drivers in action.

The Corvette community has long been asking for an update of Karl Ludvigsen's Corvette - America's Star-Spangled Sports Car, published in 1973 and last refreshed in 1978. Ludvigsen has taken that task to heart. Covered in no less than 52 chapters, the essential elements of the original writing are still here, but it has been fully revised, reorganized, and expanded, including the addition of hundreds of new photos and illustrations. The book will be available worldwide on July 4th, but Bently Publishers will be doing the debut of the book a few days early at Bloomington Gold, when Karl Ludvigsen will be inducted into the Great Hall. 

Also new for this edition are the author's insights into competitors like the Bricklin and Pantera. Newly researched sidebars describe the influential LaSalle II concept cars, Bill Thomas's Cheetah, Zora Duntov's European years, custom bodies on Corvettes, the St. Louis plant, the author's impressions of CERV II and Bill Mitchell's personal views on the Corvette.

When it was published in 1973, Star-Spangled Sports Car broke new ground as the first book devoted entirely to a single car model. It has since been credited with helping to kick-start the exciting Corvette hobby. Four decades after its original publication Classic and Sports Car declared, "Karl Ludvigsen's Corvette history remains the bible."

What makes Corvette - America's Star-Spangled Sports Car: The Complete History, 1953-1982 unique is the fact that Ludvigsen does not stop at recounting what happened or cataloging model-year changes, equipment options, etc. (though these facts are well covered). He has added depth to the Corvette story through his desire to understand why the Corvette evolved as it did. Drawing on his many years in the industry and his expertise as an automotive historian, Ludvigsen takes the reader behind the scenes to reveal an insider's view of the people and events that gave rise to America's favorite sports car.

For Your Information:

Corvette - America's Star-Spangled Sports Car
The Complete History, 1953-1982

by Karl Ludvigsen
 Hardcover, 9 in. x 10 1/2 in.
 784 pages
 989 photos, illustrations and diagrams
 ISBN-13: 978-0-8376-1659-9
 Price: $149.95

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