The iconic shape of a Corvette Stingray can turn heads even today, 30 years after the last Stingray was created. This article is intended to offer information concerning the Corvette Stingray to all Corvette lovers, whether you already own a Corvette, are considering buying a Corvette, or just like interesting facts and figures regarding classic Corvettes.
The C3 Corvette Stingrays are the creation of Corvettes produced between 1968 and 1982. The overall design idea for the Corvette Stingray was modeled after the Mako Shark II concept car. When the term”C3″ is used, it refers to the fact they are the 3rd generation of Corvettes. Each generation of Corvette was given a designation as such. The current Corvettes (as of 2011) are referred to as C6, or 6th generation Corvette. Each generation refers to any significant changes that are made, for example body design, drivetrain, etc.. Of course, each year version within one generation varies slightly from one year to another, yet they still maintain the same overall look and feel like the rest of their generation. In the case of C3 Corvettes, the engine and chassis components were largely carried over from the last generation, however the body and interior were new, thus the new generation designation. This can be quite useful when searching for information regarding a particular year Corvette, as most Corvette fans refer to the creation more frequently than a particular year or range of years.
One of the most obvious facts that stands out about the C3 Corvette is that it was the first use of T-top removable roof panels at a Corvette. Lots of the 3rd generation Corvettes had detachable glass or fiberglass tops that allow the driver or passengers to remove the roof panels, therefore allowing a more open top.Wildlife Control Lakeland was a somewhat novel concept at the moment, and it was not the originally intended design. The designers initially wanted to make the car a Targa Top, which means the whole roof panel is removable, hence the shortened name T-Top. After testing, the engineers determined that the absence of a support brace in the midst proved structurally inadequate for the powerful V-8 engines. This combined with the fact that the body was made of fiberglass made for a possible design flaw that could cause the body to flex under acceleration, resulting in cracked windshields, chipped paint, and other complications. As such, the designers included the brace in the center, which seemed to resemble the letter T. The title remained”T-Top” even though the layout was changed substantially from the first and the name was supposed to reflect the previous layout.
During the C3 years, GM made many efforts to further the evolution of the Corvette, which ultimately has led to the present design. One such effort, which can be a relatively little known fact, is that there was a Rotary Engine Corvette. In 1970, Chevrolet licensed the Wankel rotary engine (like the type used from the famed Mazda RX7 and RX8) and started building a two-rotor and a four-rotor Corvette in its experimental and testing department. A fiberglass mockup was approved in June 1971 by then GM President Ed Cole. On September 13, 1973 that a 266 cubic inch two-rotor Corvette was displayed in Frankfurt, Germany. The four-rotor 390 cubic inch Corvette was put on display in Paris, France on Oct. 4, 1973, as well as the two-rotor. The 2-rotor engine GM developed was a fuel and petroleum hungry engine, and wasn’t practical for production. On September 24, 1974, GM President Ed Cole postponed the introduction of the Wankel engine, probably due to emissions difficulties combined with petroleum and gas concerns. The rotary engine Corvette never made it to production. This venture failed to prove useful, however. It helped GM comprehend the limitations of the automobile, and venture forward into other areas of exploration.
Another of those innovative ideas was also taking shape around the exact same time. GM attempted to produce a mid-engine Corvette, to rival the mid-engine sports cars of Italy. The motor was a 400 cubic inch small block V-8 mounted behind the seats, transversely (like the majority of today’s front wheel drive cars, with the motor sitting sideways). The engineers built two XP-882’s. Soon after the 2 were built, John DeLorean, the guy who later started the company bearing his name behind the renowned DeLorean cars of Back To The Future fame, became Chevrolet general manager. John cancelled the program, as it was expensive and simple to build. It was the hit of the car show, but GM never produced or sold the XP-882 Corvette.
If you are a collector, or wish to locate a rare and precious piece of history, look for a 1970 Corvette. 1970 Corvettes are considered by many one of the most desirable of the C3 generation, as only 17,316 were produced that year due to production issues stemming from labour strikes. To give you an idea why that amount is relevant, the Ford Mustang production for the same year was 190,727, over 10 times the quantity! This was the lowest production number since 1962, and quality examples in good shape are getting harder and harder to find.
If you’re looking for rarity, among the rarest and most desirable of all production C3 Corvette Stingrays is the 1969 ZL1 Corvette. The $4,718 ZL1 package required many other options, including $1,032 L88 Special L88 (all aluminum block) 427 cu. in. Radio and air conditioning weren’t accessible with the ZL1 package, and just 2 from the 38,762 Corvettes made that year had the ZL1 bundle. The total package price of the car brand new was approximately $11,000, including the base cost of $4781. To put that number in perspective, $11,000 was the cost of some small 3 bedroom homes, or a brand new Ferrari at that time! The same year, a buyer could get a well equipped Pontiac Firebird Trans Am for around $4,300, making this a truly rare and unique car.
The C3 Stingray production are to date the largest generation of Corvettes ever produced, and therefore are the most popular today with collectors. Of the over 1.5 million Corvettes built between 1953 and 2010, over 540,000 were made throughout the C3 generation, between 1968 and 1982. These are the well-known”Stingray” design, although the slightly different name”Sting Ray” was used as far back as 1963. Corvette # 500,000 was a white 1977 Stingray. It rolled off the assembly line to major fanfare on March 15, 1977.
It is a well-known actuality that all Corvettes today are produced in just 1 place, that’s that the Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Kentucky. However, this was not always the case. Up until 1981, Corvettes were made in St. Louis, Missouri. The past St. Louis Corvettes ever built left the factory on June 1981 and July 1981. Are you curious as to why they just produced one every month? Bowling Green production was already in effect, and for many months both factories worked in tandem, allowing the St. Louis factory to build as many cars as they could with the parts still left in their inventory. This enabled them to save on shipping and labor costs, as moving large parts for cars is a rather costly and labor-intensive undertaking. After both of these cars left the factory, Bowling Green, Kentucky, became the sole factory to produce Corvettes. This is the only time when Corvettes were produced simultaneously in two factories. Producing the cars in just one factory allows much tighter quality controls, providing quality over quantity, so that has remained the standard for Corvettes. Somehow, the car was able to survive for 30 years, and is now restored exactly as it was originally built, with the frame and chassis markers, and every detail exactly as it was when it left the factory. A hidden plaque was initially installed by the plant workers in the cars right front fenderwell to designate the last car down the manufacturing line, which helped authenticate the car. The car sported a 350 Cubic inch engine at 190 horsepower and a 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic 350 automatic transmission.The car was sold in the Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas auction in September, 2010 for $150,000.
I hope that these facts about Corvette Stingrays has shown both useful and interesting. The Corvette has truly been an iconic car, capturing the hearts of generations, both young and old.