Little known facts about the Corvette Stingray C3

The Corvette Stingray has long been a popular car with people from all walks of life. The iconic shape of a Corvette Stingray can turn heads even today, 30 years after the last Stingray was produced. This article is intended to provide information about the Corvette Stingray to all Corvette fans, whether you already own a Corvette, are considering buying a Corvette, or just interesting facts and figures about classic Corvettes.

The C3 Corvette Stingray are the generation of Corvettes produced between 1968 and 1982. The overall design idea for the Corvette Stingray was inspired by the Mako Shark II prototype. When the term “C3” is used, it refers to the fact that they are 3rd generation Corvettes. Each generation of Corvette received a designation as such. Current Corvettes (as of 2011) are known as the C6 or 6th-generation Corvette. Each generation refers to the important changes that are made, such as body design, transmission, etc. Of course, the model of each year within a single generation varies slightly from year to year, but they still retain the same overall appearance as the rest of their generation. In the case of the C3 Corvettes, the engine and chassis components were mostly carried over from the previous generation, however the bodywork and interior were new, hence the new generation designation. This can be very helpful when looking for information on a specific Corvette year, as most Corvette enthusiasts refer to the generation more often than to a specific 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 removable T-top roof panels on a Corvette. Many of the third-generation Corvettes had removable glass or fiberglass covers that allow the driver or passengers to remove the roof panels, allowing for a more open top. The designers initially wanted to make the car a Targa Top, which means that the entire roof panel is removable, hence the abbreviated name T-Top. After testing, engineers determined that the lack of a support bracket in the middle was structurally insufficient for the powerful V-8 engines. This combined with the fact that the body was made of fiberglass due to a possible design flaw that could cause the body to flex when accelerating, resulting in cracked windshields, peeling paint, and other complications. As such, the designers added the clamp in the middle, which appeared to resemble the letter T. The name remained “T-Top” even though the design was substantially changed from the original and the name was intended to reflect the earlier design. .

During the C3 years, GM made many attempts to further the development of the Corvette, which has eventually led to the current design. One such attempt, which is also a relatively little-known fact, is that there was once a Corvette with a rotary engine. In 1970, Chevrolet licensed the Wankel rotary engine (similar to the type used in the famous Mazda RX7 and RX8) and began building a two- and four-rotor Corvette in its testing and experimentation department. A fiberglass mockup was approved in June 1971 by then-GM President Ed Cole. On September 13, 1973, a 266-cubic-inch twin-rotor Corvette was exhibited in Frankfurt, Germany. The 390-cubic-inch four-rotor Corvette was shown in Paris, France, on October 4, 1973, as was the two-rotor one. The 2-rotor engine that GM developed was a fuel and oil consuming engine, and was not practical for production. On September 24, 1974, GM President Ed Cole postponed the introduction of the Wankel engine, most likely due to emissions difficulties combined with fuel and oil concerns. The Corvette rotary engine never made it into production. However, this company proved useful. It helped GM understand the limitations of the car and venture into other areas of exploration.

Another of these groundbreaking ideas was also taking shape around the same time. GM attempted to produce a mid-engined Corvette, to rival the mid-engined sports cars of Italy. It was called the XP-882, and it was first shown at the New York Auto Show in 1970. The engine was a 400-cubic-inch small-block V-8 mounted behind the seats, transversely (like most cars front-wheel drive today, with the engine sitting on its side). Engineers built two XP-882s. Shortly after the 2 were made, John DeLorean, the man who later founded the company that bears his name behind the famous DeLorean cars of Back To The Future fame, became CEO of Chevrolet. John canceled the program as it was expensive and impractical to build. It was the hit of the auto show, but GM never produced or sold the Corvette XP-882. At least one, if not both, of these extremely rare Corvettes are still known to exist.

If you are a collector or want to find a rare and valuable historical piece, look for a 1970 Corvette. The 1970 Corvettes are considered by many to be among the most desirable of the C3 generation, as only 17,316 were produced that year due to production problems. derived from labor strikes. To give you an idea of ​​why that number is relevant, Ford Mustang production for the same year was 190,727 – more than 10 times the volume! This was the lowest production number since 1962, and quality examples in good condition are increasingly difficult to find.

If you’re looking for rarities, one of 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 a $ 1,032 L88 Special L88 (all aluminum block) 427 cubic feet. in. 430 hp engine, $ 81 K66 transistor ignition system, $ 37 F41 special front and rear suspension, $ 384 J56 heavy duty special brakes and $ 46 G81 Posi-Trac rear axle. Radio and Air Conditioning were not available with the ZL1 package, and only 2 of the 38,762 Corvettes manufactured that year had the ZL1 package. The total package price of this new car was about $ 11,000, including the base price of $ 4,781. To put that number in perspective, $ 11,000 was the price of a few tiny 3-bedroom homes, or a brand new Ferrari at that! moment! The same year, a buyer could get a well-equipped Pontiac Firebird Trans Am for around $ 4,300, making it a truly rare and exceptional car.

The generation C3 Stingray is to date the largest generation of Corvettes ever produced and is the most popular today with collectors. Of the more than 1.5 million Corvettes built between 1953 and 2010, more than 540,000 were made during the C3 generation, between 1968 and 1982. This is the well-known “Stingray” design, although the slightly different name “Sting Ray” is used. I had used it as early as 1963. The # 500,000 Corvette was a 1977 white Stingray. It rolled off the assembly line with great fanfare on March 15, 1977. This is an exceptional collector’s car, as it celebrated half a million Corvettes never manufactured.

It is a well known fact that all Corvettes today are produced in one place, which is the Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Kentucky. However, this was not always the case. Until 1981, Corvettes were manufactured in St. Louis, Missouri. The last St. Louis Corvettes ever built rolled out of the factory in June 1981 and July 1981. Curious why they only produced one each month? Bowling Green production was already in place, and for several months both factories worked together, allowing the St. Louis factory to assemble as many cars as they could with the parts that were still in their inventory. This saved them on shipping and labor costs, as moving large auto parts is quite an expensive and labor-intensive undertaking. After these two cars left the factory, Bowling Green, Kentucky, became the only factory to produce Corvettes. This is the only time Corvettes were produced simultaneously in two factories. Producing the cars in a single factory allows for much stricter quality controls, providing quality over quantity, which is why it has remained the standard for Corvettes. The last one to be built in St. Louis was white and has a build date of July 31, 1981. Somehow the car managed to survive for 30 years and is now restored exactly as it was originally built, complete with the frame and the chassis. brands, and every detail exactly as it was when it left the factory. Plant workers originally installed a hidden plaque on the car’s right front fender to designate the last car on the production line, helping to authenticate the car. The car sported a 350-cubic-inch engine with 190 horsepower and a 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic 350 automatic transmission.

I hope these Corvette Stingrays facts have been useful and interesting. The Corvette has truly been an iconic car, capturing the hearts of generations, both young and old.

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