When the first Chevrolet Corvette rolled off a makeshift assembly line in Flint, Mich. on June 30, 1953, it penetrated a sports car market dominated by European models.
As quintessentially American as apple pie, the Corvette soon became a shiny symbol of U.S. performance and craftsmanship.
However, as the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) illustrates in its second Hot Wheels Classics report, the road for America’s oldest continuously produced sports car has not always been smooth.
Like other popular objects of significant beauty and value, the Corvette is highly coveted—and apparently frequently targeted by thieves.
In reviewing Corvette theft data ranging from 1953 to 2011, the NICB identified an alarming 134,731 theft records.
It is important to note that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required vehicle identification number (VIN) standardization beginning with the 1981 model year, and therefore confidence in pre-1981 records is low because of inconsistency in reporting protocols and VIN systems. Consequently, NICB incorporated information dating from 1981 and later to compile this latest report.
During the 30-year period from 1981 to 2011, a total of 90,427 Corvettes were lifted in the United States and Puerto Rico. During that same period, 862,918 Corvettes were produced in the United States. However, from 1953 through the end of the 2011 model year, a total of 1,526,747 Corvettes have been produced. The year with the most U.S. production was 1984 with 51,547. The year with the fewest Corvettes produced was 1953, when just 300 units were built.
As for the top 10 states where the most Corvette thefts occurred, California leads the nation with 14,002. Of the 30-year total of 90,427 thefts, 63,409 of them—or 70 percent—occurred in the top 10 states.
NICB does point out that total vehicle thefts have been waning in recent years, which is likely little consolation to proud owners.
By Christina Bramlet, PropertyCasualty360.com