As General Motors’ longest-running passenger car, Corvette has celebrated some major milestones. Friday, June 30th marks Corvette’s 70th anniversary. In honor of America’s Sports Car turning 70, we take you back to the halfway point of Corvette’s present history with June’s Artifact of the Month. This decorative plate, donated by Carl Lundquist, commemorates Corvette’s 35th anniversary in 1988. 

It might seem like the 35th year is an odd time to celebrate, but General Motors was anxious to promote the Corvette. In 1983, the would-be 30th anniversary, no Corvettes were sold to the public. Quality control issues and production delays for the new C4 prompted GM to skip the 1983 model year. Therefore, GM took the opportunity five years later to release a special edition 35th Anniversary Corvette, along with some commemorative merchandise like this plate. 

The front of the plate includes two depictions of the 35th Anniversary Corvette, one left side view and one three-quarter right view, by artist Paul H. Adams. Near the top, is the special three-ringed emblem created specifically for Corvette’s 35th anniversary. The leftmost ring is the emblem that appeared on the first C1 Corvettes back in 1953. The middle ring is the period emblem of the C4 Corvette, except that the flag containing the Chevrolet bowtie is white instead of the more typical red and gold. The rightmost ring is a simple white circle with a red “35.” This emblem appeared on the sides of the 35th Anniversary Corvette and can be spotted in Adams’ illustrations. 

More information about the 35th Anniversary Corvette can be found on the back of the plate. Available only as a coupe, the car featured a bright white exterior with black roof panels and other black accents. The interior included white leather seats and an engraved car number plaque mounted to the console. The standard  C4 Corvette was a significant departure from its predecessor, utilizing a sleeker design and new electronic instruments. Even the plate highlights the “Space Age Dashboard” on the 35th Anniversary Corvette.

Just like the automobile it depicts, this plate, number 346, was created as a collectible. Its existence represents the Corvette’s transformation through its first 35 years, a car that was already worthy of celebration.    

Make plans to visit An American Love Affair: 70 Years of Corvette, opening June 30.