Mark Pieloch fell in love with cars at a young age. As a child in Massachusetts, his older brothers often let him ride along as they took drives in their 1960s muscle cars. Since then, he has restored and collected 130 antique and classic American vehicles. The collection currently boasts over 30 Corvettes.
Chevrolet, a division of General Motors (GM), manufactures Corvettes. Chevrolet has a long and storied history. In 1911, Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William Durant started the Chevrolet Motor Company. In a reverse takeover, Durant acquired a controlling stake in GM, took over the presidency again and Chevy became part of GM. Although design work on the first Chevrolet began in 1911, the first model, the expensive Series C Classic Six, was not introduced until the 1913 New York auto show. The now famous bowtie symbol that signifies Chevy was first used in 1914. Over the years, Chevrolet and Ford engaged in competitive rivalry that still goes on today. The 1950s and 1960s were landmark years for Chevrolet. During this time period Corvettes and Corvairs were introduced, Chevrolet’s first fuel-injected engine made its debut and, by 1963, one in every 10 cars sold in the United States was a Chevy.
Although Chevrolets were wildly popular in the early 50s, they hadn’t ventured into the sports car arena. Triumphs, MGs and Jaguars were on the market, but GM’s reputation as a staid family-car manufacturer seemed to preclude sportier journeys. Designers inside the company, however, came up with an idea. Chief designer, Harley J. Earl, thought that there was a market for an affordable sports car and handed the idea to Robert McLean. McLean decided to use already available mechanical components, the same inline-6 engine used in other Chevy models but with a higher compression ratio and an aggressive cam that ramped the output to 150 horsepower. To keep the car affordable, the body was made of fiberglass, not steel. Ed Cole, Chevy’s new chief engineer, had been working on a small-block V8. He took over from there and, in 1953, the first Corvette was introduced.
The 1953 Corvette look sleek and futuristic, but it performed well below expected sports car standards. It was also costly for the consumer. Priced at $3,498, it was over $1,000 more than Chevrolet’s eight-passenger Deluxe station wagon. The 1954 model Corvette was relatively the same as the original, but consumers were given more color options to choose from. Big changes came in 1955. The small-block V8 was finally ready and a few 1955 models were powered by the new engine. The Corvette came of age in 1956 with its new engine, chrome teeth, scalloped flanks and a removable top option.
The early 1960s Corvettes had bigger and more powerful engines. Many Corvette enthusiasts tout the 1962 model as the greatest Corvette ever. In the mid-1960s, Chevrolet introduced the Corvette Stingray. With a new look and more efficient styling, the Stingray was wildly popular with consumers and sales topped over 20,000 in 1963. Many collectors consider the 1963-1967 Corvette models the best of the best. The Corvette is still manufactured today and Chevrolet recently reintroduced an updated Stingray. With over 30 vintage Corvettes, Mark Pieloch is proud to own these iconic symbols of America’s love of the open road.