According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, a corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship used by the French Navy since 1670.
When General Motors needed a name for its all-new, small, maneuverable two-seat sports car, a photographer reportedly suggested the Corvette name, thus transforming the term into an American icon nearly overnight.
When the first Corvette arrived back in 1953, though, there wasn’t much about it that could justify the “sports car” label. While current iterations of the ‘Vette might be described as “firebreathing,” the original inline 6-cylinder was hardly more powerful than the pilot light on my aging furnace.
Obviously that all changed when Chevrolet introduced a small-block V8 engine in 1955 and embarked on nearly six decades of continuous improvement to America’s sports car.