Chevrolet Corvette sales dropped for 1970, down more than 50 percent from 1969 when the run was extended. Sales were 17,316 compared to 38,762 the year before. Of these, 10,668 were coupes and 6,648 were convertibles. The most significant change was the introduction of the 454 cid big-block Chevy V-8, up from the previous 427 version.
There were originally two big-block versions planned: the 370 bhp LS5 and a ground-pounding 460 bhp LS7. Only the LS5 made it to production, but Sports Car Graphic editor Paul Van Valkenburgh did get to test the LS7 – driving it 2,500 miles from Riverside Raceway in California to Detroit. The LS7 had solid lifters, a hot cam and Holley double-pumper carburetor. He found it lived up to its advance publicity with a quarter miles in 13.8 seconds at 108 mph.
As for production ’70 Corvettes, the base engine remained the 300 bhp 350 cubic-inch small-block, and the convertible cost $4,849, the coupe $5,192. A 350 bhp upgrade was available for $158, but the LT1 package for an extra $447.60 added all the LS7 tweaks to a small-block package. Corvette LT1 buyers got 11:1 compression, solid lifters, hot cam, and Holley carburetor. The result brought power up to 370 bhp. A ZR1 package combined the LT1 engine with the M22 close-ratio 4-speed, aluminum radiator, transistor ignition and heavy duty suspension. Creature comforts like air conditioning, power steering, stereo and power windows were not available for the ZR1 Corvette.
Eleven colors were offered in 1970, though again the numbers breakdown was not available. The colors included Classic White, Monza Red, Mulsanne Blue, Donnybrooke Green, Daytona Yellow, Bridgehampton Blue, Marlboro Maroon, Cortex Silver, Ontario Orange and Laguna Gray. Corvette Bronze replaced Riverside Gold and Tuxedo Black was omitted. Black would not return until the 1977 Corvette.
Detail improvements included fender flares to reduce damage from road debris, egg-crate grille and horizontal egg-crate side louvers in the front fenders. Positraction and a wide-ratio 4-speed gearbox were now included in the base price. Interiors were redesigned with seats that created more headroom and better access behind them. A new deluxe interior option included leather and woodgrain on the dash and console.