1968 Chevrolet Corvette
8-cyl. 427cid/435hp 3x2bbl L89
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
After some delays due to teething troubles, Larry Shinoda’s radical Mako Shark concept became the new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray for 1968, also known as the Corvette C3. Significantly revised from the linear C2 with its knife-edge beltline, the new model featured a T-top option for the coupe and a tunnel rear window, which was removable. The front sloped steeply with pop-up headlights, and fenders were sharply crowned, creating the impression that the car was lower. The new model rode on the same wheelbase, but was seven inches longer and had a Kamm tail.
Sales jumped to 28,566 vehicles and two thirds (18,630) were now convertibles, 8,735 with an optional hardtop ($232). Base price was $4,320 for the convertible and $4,663 for the coupe. The base powertrain was still the 300 bhp, 327 cubic inch small-block Chevy V-8 with a 3-speed manual gearbox, but 9,440 buyers stepped up for the 350 bhp L79 engine. There were also four 427 cubic-inch big-block engines to choose from, offering 390 bhp (L36), 400 bhp (L68), and 435 bhp (L71) – the latter with triple carburetors and the option of alloy heads. A total of 7,717 buyers chose the L36 motor, 1,932 the L68 and 2,898 the L71 – 624 adding alloy heads. At the top of the heap was the L88 race motor rated at 430hp (it made much more in reality) and heavy duty 4-speed gearbox. Only 80 were built.
Four-speed gearboxes were most popular with 10,760 buyers choosing the wide ratio box and 12,337 the close ratio unit. Automatic transmission sales doubled for the 1968 Corvette thanks to the 3-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic unit replacing the 2-speed Powerglide. Power steering (12,364 buyers), power brakes (9,559), power windows (7,065) and air conditioning (5,664) suggested creature comforts were creeping onto buyer’s wish lists.
There were 10 colors this year and the most popular was now British Green (4,779), barely edging out Le Mans Blue (4,722). Then came four close together: Silverstone Silver (3,435), Corvette Bronze (3,374), Safari Yellow (3,133) and Rally Red (2,918). After that fewer people chose International Blue (2,473), Polar White (1,868) and Cordovan Maroon (1,155). Rarest color was once again Tuxedo Black, with only 708 buyers.
Other changes included moving the battery behind the seats, the disappearance of vent windows, wipers hidden under a vacuum powered panel, and a double-acting door mechanism with a push button and an opening lever, only fitted to this year.