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Chevrolet Corvette C3

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Chevrolet Corvette

Corvette C3
Vehicle Model

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Wikipedia: Chevrolet Corvette (C3)

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C3 refers to the third generation of Chevrolet Corvette, produced in model years 1968-1982.

The C3 was the first Corvette that appeared as the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500.  In 1978 Jim Rathmann drove the car.

Magazine & newsletter covers include: GTR Newsletter, November 2015 (MPC Mako Shark scale model)

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Chevrolet Corvette page on 29 March 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The third generation Corvette, patterned after the Mako Shark II concept car, was introduced for the 1968 model year and was in production until 1982. C3 coupes featured the first use of T-top removable roof panels. It introduced monikers that were later revived, such as LT-1, ZR-1, Z07 and Collector Edition. In 1978, the Corvette's 25th anniversary was celebrated with a two-tone Silver Anniversary Edition and an Indy Pace Car replica edition of the C3. This was also the first time that a Corvette was used as a Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500.

Engines and chassis components were mostly carried over from the C2, but the body and interior were new. The 350 cu in (5.7 L) engine replaced the old 327 cu in (5.36 L) as the base engine in 1969, but power remained at 300 bhp (224 kW). 1969 was the only year for a C3 to optionally offer either a factory installed side exhaust or normal rear exit with chrome tips. The all-aluminum ZL1 engine was also new for 1969; the special big-block engine was listed at 430-hp (320 kW), but was reported to produce 560 hp (420 kW) and propelled a ZL1 through the 1/4 mile in 10.89 seconds.

There was an extended production run for the 1969 model year due a lengthy labor strike, which meant sales were down on the 1970 models, to 17,316. 1970 small-block power peaked with the optional high compression, high-revving LT-1 that produced 370 bhp (276 kW). The 427 big-block was enlarged to 454 cu in (7.44 L) with a 390 bhp (291 kW) rating. The ZR-1 special package was an option available on the 1970 through 1972 model years, and included the LT-1 engine combined with special racing equipment. Only 53 ZR-1's were built.

In 1971, to accommodate regular low-lead fuel with lower anti-knock properties, the engine compression ratios were lowered which resulted in reduced power ratings. The power rating for the 350 cu in (5.7 L) L48 base engine decreased from 300 to 270 horsepower and the optional special high performance LT1 engine decreased from 370 to 330 horsepower. The big-block LS6 454 was reduced from 450 to 425 bhp (317 kW), though it was not used in Corvettes for 1970; it was used in the Chevelle SS. For the 1972 model year, GM moved to the SAE Net measurement which resulted in further reduced, but more realistic, power ratings than the previous SAE Gross standard. Although the 1972 model's 350 cu in (5.7 L) horsepower was actually the same as that for the 1971 model year, the lower net horsepower numbers were used instead of gross horsepower. The L48 base engine was now rated at 200 bhp (150 kW) and the optional LT1 engine was now rated at 270 bhp (200 kW). 1974 models had the last true dual exhaust system that was dropped on the 1975 models with the introduction of catalytic converters requiring the use of no-lead fuel. Engine power decreased with the base ZQ3 engine producing 165 bhp (123 kW), the optional L82's output 250 bhp (186 kW), while the 454 big-block engine was discontinued. Gradual power increases after 1975 peaked with the 1980 model's optional L82 producing 230 bhp (172 kW).

Styling changed subtly throughout the generation until 1978 for the car's 25th anniversary. The Sting Ray nameplate was not used on the 1968 model, but Chevrolet still referred to the Corvette as a Sting Ray; however, the 1969 (through 1976) models used the "Stingray" name as one word, without the space. In 1970, the body design was updated including fender flares, and interiors were refined, which included redesigned seats,and indication lights near the gear shift that were an early use of fiber optics . Due to government regulation, the 1973 Corvette's chrome front bumper was changed to a 5-mile-per-hour (8 km/h)system with a urethane bumper cover. 1973 Corvettes are unique in that sense, as they are the only year where the front bumper was polyurethane and the rear retained the chrome two-piece bumper set. 1973 was also the last year chrome bumpers were used. The optional wire-spoked wheel covers (left) were offered for the last time in 1973. Only 45 Z07 were built in 1973. From 1974 onwards both the front and rear bumpers were polyurethane.

In 1974, a 5-mile-per-hour (8 km/h) rear bumper system with a two-piece, tapering urethane bumper cover replaced the Kamm-tail and chrome bumper blades, and matched the new front design from the previous year. 1975 was the last year for the convertible, (which did not return for 11 years) and Dave McLellan succeeded Zora Arkus-Duntov as the Corvette's Chief Engineer. For the 1976 models the fiberglass floor was replaced with steel panels to provide protection from the catalytic converter's high operating temperature. For 15 model years the names Corvette, Sting Ray, and Stingray were synonymous. 1977 was last year the tunneled roof treatment with vertical back window was used, in addition leather seats were available at no additional cost for the first time. The black exterior color returned after a six-year absence.

The 1978 25th Anniversary model introduced the fastback glass rear window and featured a new interior and dashboard. Corvette's 25th anniversary was celebrated with the Indy 500 Pace Car limited edition and a Silver Anniversary model featuring silver over gray lower body paint. All 1979 models featured the previous year's pace car seats and offered the front and rear spoilers as optional equipment. 53,807 were produced for the model year, making 1979 the peak production year for all versions of the Corvette. Sales have trended downward since then. In 1980, the Corvette received an integrated aerodynamic redesign that resulted in a significant reduction in drag. After several years of weight increases, 1980 Corvettes were lighter as engineers trimmed both body and chassis weight. In mid-1981, production shifted from St. Louis, Missouri to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and several two-tone paint options were offered. The 1981 models were the last available with a manual transmission until well into the 1984 production run. In 1982, a fuel-injected engine returned, and a final C3 tribute Collectors Edition featured an exclusive, opening rear window hatch.


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TypeTitle
1993 BookCatalog of Corvette ID Numbers 1953-93by Cars & Parts Magazine; Motorbooks


Video

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Salt Lake City, UT

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Chevrolet Corvette ACcelerator Street 'N' Strip 'Vette AMT Model Kit Instructions ACcelerator Street 'N' Strip 'Vette
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496ci Stroker Engine, NHRA Certified in 2012
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1995 Straits Area Antique Auto Show Poster - 1972 Chevrolet Corvette 1995 St. Ignace Antique Auto Show
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1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition 1982 Collector Edition
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2012 Cruisin' Gilberts Spring into Action Car & Truck & Cycle Show
View photo of 1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition - 3.5MB
1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition 1982 Collector Edition
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Cruisin' Gilberts Spring into Action Car & Truck & Cycle Show
View photo of 1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition - 3.4MB


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
3 September 1968Design for an Automobile
United States Patent USD 212,152
Henry G. Haga for General Motors Corporation

PDF
- 714KB - 2 pages


1982 Specifications

ModelAutomatic Transmission
0-60 mph*7.9 seconds
80-0 mph*254 feet
Cornering Capability*0.826g
Interior Noise @ 70mph*78 dBA
Fuel Economy*21.5 mpg
*=Test conducted by Road & Track, November 1982 issue

Merchandise

Aerovette
Future Shark
1971 Corvette Stingray Convertible (Palmer)

Type & Item #NameDetails
Model Kit - Revell 85-2544'68 Corvette Roadster 2 'n 11:25 scale Stock or Hot Rod
Die Cast - Hot Wheels J3248-0916 G1'69 Corvette2006 First Editions, small scale, dark red
Model Kit - Revell 85-2866'69 Corvette CoupeCalifornia Wheels 1:25 scale
Model Kit - MPC 1-30711971 Corvette1:20 scale
Model Kit - Revell 85-2825John Greenwood's "Stars & Stripes" Corvette Sebring 19711:25 scale
Model Kit - MPC 1-7230'72 Corvette1:20 scale
Model Kit - MPC 1-75301975 Corvette1:20 scale "Spirit of America"
Model Kit - MPC 1-77301977 Corvette
Model Kit - Revell 85-2168'78 Corvette Indianapolis 500 Pace Car1:24 scale
Model Kit - MPC 1-78301978 Corvette
Model Kit - MPC 1-370825th Anniversary Corvette Special Edition1978, 1:25 scale
Die Cast - Hot Wheels 24117-09101980 CorvetteSmall scale, gold
Model Kit - AMT 3102Eckler's Corvette Hatchback
Model Kit - Revell/Motorworks 85-1256'82 Corvette Collector Edition1:24 scale
Model Kit - MPC 1-0739Viper Vette1:20 scale C3 Chevrolet Corvette
Model Kit - MPC 1-0743Laser Vette1:20 scale C3 Chevrolet Corvette
Model Kit - MPC 1-0755Turbo VetteC3 Chevrolet Corvette
Model Kit - AMT 3102Eckler's Corvette Hatchback
Model Kit - MPC 1-3750The Stinger Corvette1981
Model Kit - MPC 1-3751SaberVette Custom Corvette Street Racer
Model Kit - Monogram 2406Custom Corvette1:20 scale
Model Kit - Monogram 2404Corvette Coupe1:20 scale
Model Kit - MPC 6354 or 1-3720Ghost Rider Corvette Road RacerC3 with custom body kit
Model Kit - Lindberg 6505Corvette TC-81:25 scale
Model Kit - MPC 1-3715Voodoo Vette1:25 scale, Golden Wheels Bonus
Model Kit - MPC 1-3718Dragon Vette1:25 scale, Golden Wheels Bonus


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
22 April 2002Corvette focused website has quickly become one of the most popular Corvette sites on the webC3 Vette Registry
11 August 2002C3 Vette Registry heads up a special Corvette Owners Tribute on 9/11/2002C3 Vette Registry


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