Chevy Corvette: Past, Present, Future


Finally Chevy’s big block V-8 arrives in the form of 396-cubic-inch “L78” engine. Fuel injection disappears and four wheel disc brakes are the new standard. This 1968 Corvette is meant to resemble the Mako Shark II show car of 1965, offering a 435-hp, 427-cubic-inch engine. This third generation of Corvette begins a 14 year run on a carry-over chassis. In 1969 the 250,000th Corvette rolls of the line on November 19th. It’s gold with the option for a Z1 big block priced at $4,718.35. Corvette introduces a standard, factory-installed theft deterrent system and the first generation is ready for retirement in 1972. 1975 winds up being the last year for the convertible and the first for the government-mandated catalytic converter is fitted. In 1976 Corvette opts for noise reduction by introducing an over-the-radiator, carburetor air-induction system. They add a partially steel under body to ensure more strength while increasing protection from exhaust heat.


This is a momentous year for Corvette. It’s the 25th anniversary of production. Therefore they marked this special occasion with a new fastback body style. Corvette replaced their traditional emblem with an anniversary edition. Low profile tires (60 Series) are offered for the first time. They integrated AM/FM stereo with CB radio causing more than 6,500 consumers to spend an added $4,301.32 above the base price. This is Chevy’s first attempt at a limited edition Corvette. However there are more to follow this one. Success continues in 1979. Finally Chevrolet reaches an all time sales record of 53,807 of this model year. It’s most likely because of the buzz about the AM/FM radio.


Corvette begins production in Bowling Green, Kentucky on June 1st, 1981 and ending in St. Louis in August. 1982 is the final year of the C3 production. So Chevy designed 6759 Collector’s Edition Corvettes. They included bespoke silver and beige paint and an opening rear hatch with a total of 25,407 units. 1984 marks the year that the Stingray goes into hibernation.


After a ten year break the Convertible model returns to the market. However it began its return as a Pace Car for the Indy 500. So each 1986 model are pace car replicas with the decals included for dealer or owner installation. Anti-lock brakes come standard. In 1993 “Stingray” becomes a registered trademark for GM. Another special edition makes its debut. It features Ruby Red exterior paint and marks the 40th anniversary of the Corvette. The National Corvette Museum opens its doors in Bowling Green. So Chevy built 25 examples for the inaugural Brickyard 400. Some of these “official cars” found their way to private owners. 1996 is the final year for the C4’s. This includes the Collector’s Edition and Grand Sport.


Dave Hill begins his career as new Chief Engineer in 1997. The Convertible returns weighing 114 pounds less than the previous year. In 1999, a hardtop convertible joins the lineup making the C5 strategy complete. We welcome the Z06 in 2001 featuring a 385-hp LS6 V-8. The top speed reaches 170 mph, hitting 60 in 4.3 seconds. 2003 is Corvette’s Golden Anniversary. So of course there’s a special model designed for buyers to celebrate. The options are a coupe or convertible with special red paint and emblems, and a unique two-tone interior.



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