Throwback Thursday – 40 years ago, when Corvette came to town

In 1981, the Bowling Green landscape changed forever. Now completely entrenched in the city’s culture, an internationally known symbol of the city whose name has been adopted by businesses of all kinds, this is the 40th anniversary year of America’s favorite sports car moving its home to Warren County. This is the story of when Corvette came to town.

Forty years ago, Bowling Green had a few hot things going on: the old Bowling Green Mall and new Greenwood Mall were open for business, Western Kentucky University was growing, the interstate was bringing drivers straight thru town, Holley Carburetor was making high performance engines for custom car lovers, and Beech Bend Raceway was hosting major drag racing events.

The town caught the eye of another auto giant. General Motors had been watching Bowling Green as a potential spot to mass produce its Corvette, which had been built in St. Louis for nearly 30 years. Nearly one thousand families packed up and moved from Missouri to Kentucky during the summer of 1981, and Bowling Green history was forever changed.

The National Corvette Museum opened across the road from the GM Assembly Plant in 1994, and thousands of Corvette enthusiasts from across the globe have been visiting Bowling Green regularly ever since. The museum celebrates its anniversary every Labor Day weekend, and this year will mark year 27. 

General Motors continues to heavily invest in Bowling Green, with programs for car delivery and high performance engine building in conjunction with the Corvette Museum. According to the GM Authority blog, about a thousand people are employed at the Bowling Green plant, sitting on just over 200 acres with a facility of over one million square feet. America’s favorite sports car continues to be popular around the world, now in its eighth generation since its birth in 1953.