There are few cars that scream American muscle quite as much, or quite as loudly as the Chevrolet Corvette, or more specifically, the C3 Chevrolet Corvette. When the Corvette was launched in ‘53, it was a small, discreet sports car with flowing lines care of a smart, but subtle design. It was a sports car, but a sedate one.
The C2 went a bit wilder, with bigger engines and more noise. Chevrolet wanted to distance the Corvette from the Ford Thunderbird, which had utterly trounced the C1 in sales terms. So rather than try and compete, designers and engineers made the Corvette a little madder, and a little badder as it moved on a generation. They didn’t stop there, though.
The next Corvette, the C3, would be the maddest and the baddest. Okay, not all were. Some were fitted with V8 engines that managed to produce fewer than two-hundred horses. However, that’s not what we have here. Instead, we have a Stingray complete with a snarling 427cui big block V8 with 390bhp on tap. That’s seven litres in real money. And unusually for an American car, it’s mated to a four-speed manual transmission. It’s a proper bit of kit.
The C3 was arguably the most wildy styled of all the Corvettes. Some modern ones are a bit crazy, but not all. In fact, the C4, C5, C6 and C7 were all quite dull by comparison to anything before them. The C3 was an angry-looking monster, with tall shoulders, muscular haunches over the wheels and a nose that was impossibly long – just look at the side profile. The front and rear wheels are in different towns. It was a pure design, one that looked like it had tumbled from the mind of a child – unencumbered by logic or ergonomics, it looks pure fantasy. But here it is. In the fibreglass.
The C3 was also special as it was a car driven by NASA astronauts. Earlier Corvettes had ties with the boys in space, but it’s the C3 that was the most famous, mainly because a brace of spacemen had them, including Buzz Aldrin. But then so did many others, including the crew of the near ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. It wasn’t an official thing, though. Instead, it was the work of a savvy dealer in Florida who offered the astronauts special lease deals in return for some PR. Clever.
This C3 might not have belonged to an astronaut, but it’s still worth having. Finished in Riverside Gold with black interior and deep dish rallye steel wheels with beauty rings, it’s a stunning machine that will turn heads. It’s brash, it’s loud and it’s not one for the shy and retiring types. And the best thing is, you don’t need to train with NASA to get this one. Just call the team at DD Classics and they’ll sort you out. Now go and sort out your garage, you’ll need to make some… space.