1981 Chevrolet Corvette
8-cyl. 350cid/190hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The 1981 Chevrolet Corvette celebrated the move from St. Louis, Missouri to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the cars have been made ever since. Production totaled 40,606 coupes and base price rose again, to $16,258. The last Corvette was built in St. Louis in August 1.
All cars were fitted with the base 190 bhp 350 cubic-inch engine and only 5,757 had 4-speed gearboxes. These would be the last 4-speed gearboxes available until late 1984. The tubular stainless steel manifolds introduced in California in 1980 were also carried over to all motors. A fiberglass-reinforced mono-leaf rear spring was fitted to automatic cars. It weigh eight pounds against 44 pounds for the steel springs.
Most cars were now luxury cruisers, as 36,222 had power door locks ($145), 29,200 had power driver’s seats (a new feature for $183), 29,095 had removable glass roof panels ($414), 36,893 had rear window defogger ($119), 32,522 had cruise control ($155), 36,485 had aluminum wheels ($428), 32,903 had power antenna ($55) and 22,892 had the AM-FM radio with cassette ($423).
Performance options were almost extinct, but 7,803 buyers paid $57 for the gymkhana suspension, 1,128 paid $37 for heavy duty shocks and 5,575 took a 4-speed gearbox for no extra money. Meanwhile, 315 buyers went for radio delete and 916 bought the trailer package.
With the change in location, colors were all over the map and there were also two-tones available. Most cars were built in St. Louis. These included White (6,387), followed by Black (4,712), Red (4,310), Beige (3,842) and Charcoal Metallic (3,485), Silver Metallic (2,590), Dark Blue Metallic (2,522), Maroon Metallic (1,618), Yellow (1,031) and Bright Blue Metallic (1). Bowling Green paint jobs included Silver Metallic (93,369), Autumn Red (1,505), Charcoal Metallic (613), Dark Blue Metallic (496), Dark Bronze (432) and Dark Claret Metallic (341).
To confuse things, St Louis used mostly lacquer paints, while Bowling Green used enamel with clear top coats. Two-tone colors included Silver/Dark Blue, Silver/Charcoal, Beige/Dark Bronze, and Autumn Red/Dark Claret. The numbers of each built are not recorded.