Chevrolet Corvette, 1953

Discover the cars of The Automobile and American Art

Media - AHS.710 - SAAM-AHS.710_1 - 138159

Chevrolet Corvette, 1953 (model car, 1:18 scale)1953, metal, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Albert H. Small, 2017, AHS.710

About this Car

The Chevrolet Corvette has been called “the most popular sports car in history” and the “dream car of an entire generation.” The Corvette C1 was one of the first cars with a fiberglass body, making it lightweight and fast—to produce and drive. Introduced in 1953, the iconic two-seater’s unmistakable “cool” transferred to all who touched it as it appeared in movies, TV shows, and on album covers.

Artwork Connection

By the time artist Luis Jiménez learned how to work with fiberglass as an apprentice at his father’s sign-making shop, fiberglass was ubiquitous in American manufacturing, including cars. His youthful obsession with cars and exposure to low-rider culture influenced his large-scale sculptures cast from fiberglass. His sculpture Vaquero, which means “cowboy” in Spanish, pays homage to the Spanish and Mexican roots of this classic American icon.