It's a milestone birthday year for the Chevy Corvette: the "Big Six-O." It was 60 years ago that Chevrolet took a page from Europe's playbook and came up with a two-seat sports car for 1953. A post-war American public was intrigued, but sales of the fiberglass-bodied dream car didn't get off to a roaring start.
Behold what 60 years of progress can do: the 2013 corvette 427 convertible. It pays tribute to the past with little touches here and there. The way the body scoops down between the seats is right out of the first-generation car.
Under the hood, modern and old-school blend together for serious muscle. On top of the hood, a badge that recalls some of the Vette's glory days. Four-twenty-seven is a magic number in Corvette lore.
A few years into the second generation of Corvette, sub-named Sting Ray, the top engine choice was a mighty 427 engine with up to 435 horsepower. The good old days, right?
Well, 60 years later, the modern engine is making lots more power. The new 427, or "7-liter" in modern parlance, cranks out 505 honest horsepower. It does it under today's strict emissions standards and even returns respectable fuel economy.
And it's not even the most powerful Corvette you can buy today.
The original Corvette really turned heads back in 1953. Imagine if you could go back in time with the 2013 model. Designers and engineers would be blown away by it. The 2013 is actually the "swan song" of this generation of the Corvette. There's an all-new one on the way.
Chevrolet released a teaser video of the seventh-generation Corvette due out next summer. For now it really is just a tease, as the car won't be officially unveiled until the Detroit auto show in January.
In the meantime, the current Corvette does have a bit of life left in its design. It's neither inexpensive nor especially practical. But all these years later, it's still the one that's often called America's sports car.