History of the Corvette Name and Logo
When is a Corvette not a Corvette? What a strange question, but it probably depends on whether one is familiar with the history and trivia associated with the word that represents our favorite vehicle.
Due to the just recently passed April 1st "holiday" where the www.corvetteblogger.com website changed their website pictures of Corvettes (cars) to Corvettes (ships), got me to thinking about how America's sports car got its name and the origin of the word "Corvette". Tangentially, while researching this, I learned some additional information regarding the creation of the Corvette emblem that I thought worth sharing.
According to Wikipedia, "The word 'corvette' is first found in Middle French, a diminutive of the Dutch word corf, meaning a small ship, from the Latin corbis, meaning 'basket'." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvette) Wikipedia goes on to explain that corvettes are the smallest class of vessel to be considered as a warship with the modern types used as coastal patrol and fast attack crafts citing Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of: (1) a warship ranking in the old sailing navies next below a frigate, (2) a highly maneuverable armed escort ship that is smaller than a destroyer.
Now that you are armed with the information about the origin of the word corvette, a Corvette Hall of Fame inductee, Myron Scott, is credited with coming up with the Corvette name back in 1953 for Chevrolet's new sports car that was under development. It seems that Chevrolet wanted a name that started with the letter "C", and asked a special committee to begin a review of over 300 names. None of the names satisfied the group until Myron Scott, while at home searching the dictionary for words starting with "C", came across the word that described a speedy pursuit ship. Myron presented the word "Corvette" to the group the next day, and the rest (as they say) is history. (source: http://www.corvettemuseum.org/learn/about-corvette/corvette-hall-of-fame/myron-scott/)
Equally interesting, is how the original Corvette logo, or emblem came to be. Robert Bartholomew, who worked as an interior designer at Chevrolet, designed the original Corvette logo in 1953 which was to appear as a badge on the Corvette prototype presented at the Waldor-Astoria hotel in New York in January of that year. What was interesting is that this logo had crossed flags, a checkered finish line flag on the right, and an American flag on the left. Four days before the Corvette was to be displayed, Chevrolet management ordered that the logo be redesigned because it was illegal to include an American flag to use on a commercial product. The new logo still had the checkered flag, but the American flag was replaced with a flag containing a Chevrolet bow tie symbol and a fleur-de-lis.
What the heck is a fleur-de-lis and why did Chevrolet decide to use this on the logo? Well, in researching the Chevrolet family history at that time, it was discovered that Chevrolet is a French name. Because of this, the fluer-de-lis, which is a French symbol representing peace and purity, was chosen to be placed alongside the bow tie symbol on the flag. New badges with the changed design were quickly made and installed on the Corvette just in time for its public debut. The Corvette logo has changed through the years but Bartholomew's original badge is on display at the National Corvette Museum.
(sources: http://www.corvetteactioncenter.com/history/emblem.html, http://www.core77.com/posts/24297/a-visual-history-of-corvette-logos-part-1-24297, and https://www.corvetteforum.com/articles/a-brief-history-of-the-corvette-emblem-historyoverview/)