The base engine for the ’79 ‘Vette was accompanied by the dual-snorkel air intake that was introduced in the previous year’s model. While the L48 V-8 was standard, the L82 V-8 engine was available, adding another ten horsepower. This engine had larger valves with higher compression, a higher lift cam, a forged steel crankshaft, and finned aluminum rocker covers. In addition, the new “Y” pipe exhaust system was improved with open flow mufflers and a higher numerical rear axle ratio for automatic transmissions. Added fixings include AM-FM stereo radio with power attenna, trailering package, and sport mirrors. The Coupe cost $10,220 and 53,807 units were sold.
1978 was a big year for the Corvette… it was the 25th anniversary! For this anniversary a special silver paint scheme was available as well as a replica of the 1978 Indi 500 “Pace Car” Corvette (see bottom picture.) New designs for this year’s model include a fixed fastback rear window in addition to a new instrument panel with a conventional glovebox. Out of 46,776 produced ‘Vettes this year, 15,283 were the anniversary silver, and 6,502 were the pace car replica.
1977 was the last year for the vertical rear window design, which started in 1968. Leather seats were the new standard, replacing vinyl, although leather trimmed cloth was also available at no extra cost. The console was newly designed, cruise controll became available with automatic transmissions, and the engine color changed from orange to blue. Sales this year were 49,213, with 9,408 of them being white.
The ‘Vette is now boasted as “Americas only true production sports car.” The convertible was dropped this year, leaving only the Stingray Coupe option. All Corvettes now have the 350 cid engine powering them; the 452 big block wasnt available for the next decade. Two V-8 engines were available: the L82, and the L48. There is a new Turbo Hydra-Matic 350 transmission, which is much lighter and expected for better shifting. A wide range four speed manual gearbox was available, though a close ratio was also a choice for no extra cost. A new Carburetor Outside Air Induction system transported intake from the cowl to over the radiator. The fiberglass underbody was replaced with partial steel to increase strength as well as resistance against exhaust heat. A new one piece bar Corvette nameplate was on the rear of the car, which was inbetween twin tail lights that were inset into the rear bumper cover. Corvettes had a key lock in the front left fender that set off the anti theft alarm. They also had a fully independent suspension, as well as four wheel disc brakes. Cast aluminum wheels were a new option, and 6,253 ‘Vettes were sold with them. Behind the seat backs were three carpeted storage compartments. Bucket seats had either textured vinyl or leather upholstery with deep pleated saddle stitching. The leather was available in 7 colors, while the vinyl only 4. With production of over 47,000 in the calendar year, the Corvette also set new sales records.
Major changes for the year of ’75 include: improved bumpers, a catalytic converter, a High Energy ignition, Kilometers on the speedometer, and it was the last year for the convertible. The 454 engine was dropped, but the ‘Vette could go to 60 in 7.7 seconds. Zora Arkus Duntov retired as Chevrolet’s chief engineer, and David R. Mclellan took over.
Major changes for the ’74 model include: a new sloping stylish rear bumper, an optional “Gymkhana” suspension, the alarm system was relocated, and the poor steering, seat belts, and radiator were improved. Most models were sold with power breaks, power steering, air conditioning, and power windows,which is a huge increase from the previous years. However, less people bought the car with the four speed manual transmission.
There were rumors that the ’73 Corvette would be a mid engine model, but it was not true. Major changes for the new model include: a new domed hood, a body colored urethane front bumper, a fixed rear window (which added more trunk space), a new coolent recovery system, new chassis mounts, steal guard beam doors, new side vents, new sound blocking material, radial tires, and according to Road and Test, the ’73 model is louder than the previous year. This was the only year that the Corvette had the soft body color front bumper with the chrome rear bumper. Most models were equipped with power breaks, power steering, and air conditioning, while barely less than half had power windows and the four speed manual transmission. The Vette with an L82 engine did 0-60 mph in about 7 seconds and had a top speed of about 120 mph.