Corvette Sports Cars
1953 Corvette Sports Cars For Sale & Sports Car Accessories, Antique Parts, Collectables
The corvette has been produced for 6 generations. The first model, put out in 1953, was a convertible. The corvette was named after a small, easily maneuverable warship called a corvette.
The 1968 Corvette was based on the Mako Shark II design of Larry Shinoda. The headlight treatment was the beginning of the flip up getting away from the C2 style of the light rotating into position.
The 1968 Corvette coupe introduced the removable twin tops, commonly called T-tops.
The 1968 Corvette engine packages remained the same as that of the 1967 with the 300 hp and the 350 hp 327 as well as the 427 L88 big block.
In 1968, 28,566 total Corvette's were produced, 9,936 were coupes and 18,630 were convertibles.
In 1969 the Corvette 427 remained as it was in 1968. This was a special engine of the big block family which was the all new ZL-1. This engine was based on the proven L88 except it was an all aluminum engine which shed a huge amount of weight off of the front end. This engine was much lighter than the L88 iron block and it was even lighter then the small block. This engine was designed as a race engine only for road racing and was designed as a Ferrari killer. There were however only 2 of these monster motors produced in 1969. Production reached a total of 38,762 Corvettes with 22,129 and only 16,633 convertibles.
In 1970 the Corvettes 3 speed manual was dropped for a 4 speed manual as standard equipment. The 350 that was introduced in the '69 model was still the base engine, but an all new 370 hp LT-1 as the performance small block and gone was the 427 in favor of the new 454 big block. This new big block was available in either the LS5 390 hp version or the LS7 460 hp version. This option (LS7) came at a high tag of an additional 3,000. There were 17,316 total Corvettes with 10,668 coupes and 6,648 convertibles.
In 1971 the federal government started enforcing the stricter emission laws and with that saw a drop in horsepower. The Corvettes base engine dropped to 270 hp and the LT1 dropped down to 330 hp. The big block 454 LS5 was down to 365 hp, the LS7 was gone completely, but there was an LS6 option 454 rated at 425 hp. The '71 was basically the same care as the '70 except for the drop in horsepower. Total production was 21,801 with 14,680 coupes and 7,121 convertibles.
In 1972 the power loss was even more noticeable with a switch from gross to net power ratings. The base 350 engine developed only 200 hp and the once killer small block LT1 was reduced to 255 hp. There was only one big block offered and that was the LS5 454 which was now putting out only 270 hp. The appearance changes were small this '72 model year would be the last year of both front and rear chrome bumpers. This was also the last year of the removable rear window. There were a total of 27,004 Corvette's built in 1972, 20,496 were coupes and 6,508 were convertibles.
The 1973 model Corvette came with more power reductions. The chrome front bumper was gone replaced with the rubber crash impact bumper painted to match the body. The side vents were now a single opening. For the first time, a coolant recovery system was incorporated which routed high temperature coolant into this tank and when cooled it returned to the radiator. The lifting panel for the windshield wipers were gone. This was the first year that radial tires were used on the Corvette. The base engine was now rated at only 190 hp and the new optional L-82 was rated at 250 hp. The once feared big block 454 was down to 275 hp. Production for 1973 was 30,464 although the VIN number show 34,464 and that is because there were 4,000 serial number not built. Those numbers were from 24,001 to 28,000. There were 25,521 coupes produced and 4,943 convertibles produced.
The 1974 model Corvette the front chrome bumper were replaced in the and now the two piece chrome rear bumper has been replaced with the new style crash impact bumper. This was the last on the non-catalytic converter cars. This was also the last year with a true duel exhaust. The horsepower ratings remained almost unchanged from the 1973 Corvette with one exception which was the base 350 engine which rated at 195 hp and increase of 5 hp over the past year. This was also the last year of the Corvette big block. Many considered the big block gone after the '71 model year when it was still rated at 425 hp. Production numbers of the Corvette were at 37,502 with 32,028 coupes and 5,474 convertibles.
The 1975 Corvette came with only two engine choices the base 350 cubic inch V8 making a ridiculous 165 hp or you could get the same 350 cubic inch engine option L82 rated at a whopping 205 hp. With the lower horsepower ratings, there were only 2,372 Corvettes ordered with the L82 option and of all the Corvette's that rolled of the line only 1,057 came with the 4 speed close ratio manual transmission. The rear bumper was now a seamless one piece rubberized bumper doing away with the two piece from the past year. This would be the last year that a Corvette would be sold with the convertible option until 1986 when they again returned. It's interesting about the Corvette enthusiast is even with the low hp rating a total of 38,465 units were produced with 33,836 coupes and 4,629 convertible.
The 1976 model was the first Corvette in its 23 year history that did not offer a convertible. Again the Engine choices were the base 350 V8 rate at 180 hp and the L82 up to 210 hp. The aluminum wheels announced in 1973 were finally available in '76. Astro ventilation was eliminated in 1976 and with that the vents at the rear windows were deleted. But still the general public was going to the Chevy dealers and buying this under powered sports car. A total of 44,558 Corvette's were produced in '76 and of course these were all coupes.
1977 was the last year of the tunnel back or sometimes called the sugar scoop because of the way the roof lines came down and the flat rear window. Also the Stingray was no longer on the cars fenders and steel reinforcement was added to the hood. The console was new for 1977 and it held the A/C controls as well as the heater controls. The windshield wiper controls were installed in a stick attached to the steering column. A roof rack system was designed to hold the roof panels on the rear rack allowing for more storage space in the rear. Leather seats were standard with a leather cloth combination available at no additional cost. The '77 model had the engine painted in the normal GM orange until around September when it was changed to blue. Total production of Corvettes in 1977 was 49,213
In 1978 the Corvette has now reached its 25th year for Corvette so GM released a special Silver Anniversary Edition which came with a special paint scheme, which was a two-tone with silver on top and a charcoal on the bottom and special emblems were applied to commemorate the Silver Anniversary of Corvette. The 1978 vette had the tail redesigned with a large wrap around rear window that replaced the old rear flat glass rear window which had become a noted design for the C3 coupe. This new design did give the owner more room to carry items, but it was fixed glass so loading was still difficult. The interior was modified or spruced up a bit with new instruments and for the first time. A glove box was added. The base engine package remained the standard Chevy small block 350, but it received a designation of L48 and was rated at 185 hp while the L82 stayed as the option and was increased to 220 hp. The four-speed transmission was the standard transmission for all '78 Corvette's with an optional three-speed automatic. A second special editions was released in 1978. This special edition was to be the Pace Car for the Indy 500, This marked the first time a Corvette would pace the field at the Brickyard, but it would not be the last as we will see. The second special edition was also painted in a two-tone with black on top and silver on the bottom. The special paint was not the only thing that made this particular Corvette stand out, it also had a front chin spoiler and a large rear spoiler. This cars were in great demand as soon as they were introduced and most all were bought and put away to be saved as a collectable in the future. Originally GM planned to produce one for each of their dealers or about 6,000 but they ended up building 6,502. The special Silver Anniversary Edition reached a total of 15,283. Total production was 40,725 marking the first time Corvette sold over 40,000 cars in one year.
The 1979 Corvette did not change much at all on the outside, but the high back seat style that was in the 1978 Corvette Pace Car was now standard in the '79 model. The L48 received the duel snorkel air cleaner that was introduced in '78 for the L82. This help increase the output to 195 hp and the L82 received a new cam package that included larger valves also the compression ratio was increased and a less restrictive exhaust to push the rating up to 225 hp. Again GM reached a milestone this time surpassing the 50,000 mark in production for a total of 53,807.
The 1980 Corvette model year was put on a diet and shed 250 pounds and was treated to a face lift. The front and rear bumpers received a redesign and had integral spoilers. This year also marked the first time since 1974 that two engines were available, however they were not optional. If you lived in any state other than California you had your choice of either the L48 or the L82. The L48 dropped down to 190 hp while the L82 increased to 230 hp. If you happened to live in California your engine package was the new 305 cubic inch V8 engine making 180 hp and mated to a three-speed automatic transmission. You could not order an a manual transmission in California. Production dropped this year to 40,506.
In 1981, the Corvette received a new light weight fiberglass rear leaf spring and the new L81 version of the 350 V8 producing 190 hp was the only engine package available to everyone, but this was good news to those in California. The biggest news to come out was the move of the Corvette assembly plant in St. Louis to the brand new facility in Bowling Green Kentucky. A few items that were part of the 1980 California Corvette became standard on the '81 model and one item was the stainless steel tubular exhaust manifolds as well as the computer command control which adjusted the ignition timing and air-fuel mixture automatically. For the first time a power seat was available in a Corvette for the driver only. Production was at 40,606. This was the last year for the C3 generations. This body style goes back to 1968 and the chassis to 1963. No longer was a manual transmission available, all Corvette's produced in 1982 came with a four-speed automatic. Introduced in the '82 model year was the new cross fire injection, which was an electronic throttle body. It did raise the L81 up to 200 hp.
The 1982 Corvette model year marking the end of the C3 era a special Collector Edition was offered for this occasion. The edition featured a special paint scheme of silver-beige paint, a special graphics package, special wheel styled after the '67 knock offs, bronze colored glass roof panels and the rear glass was now a opening hatch. The production numbers were down to 25,407, 18,648 of the base model coupe and 6,759 for the Special Collector's Edition. Little did we know that even though this was the last of the C3 generation cars, it would another year (1984) until the C4 was introduced.
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