1972 Chevrolet Corvette
8-cyl. 350cid/200hp 4bbl L48
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The 1972 Chevrolet Corvette is virtually indistinguishable from the previous year and only the horsepower ratings changed. It is notable, however, as the last year of the classic Corvette C3 design with chrome bumpers at both ends. The year 1973 would see a urethane nose, and 1974 would see the car “rubberized” on both ends, with the Kamm tail lost.
The base 350 cid engine was now down to 200 bhp from 270, and the once mighty solid lifter LT1 350 option generated just 255 bhp. Even the 454 cubic-inch Chevy big-block developed a measly 270 bhp. A total of 3,913 buyers paid an extra $294.90 for that, and the motor was not available in California. To be fair, these were net horsepower figures, far removed from the tub-thumping gross numbers of 1969, but they did represent lower compression ratios.
Production increased to 27,004 cars and convertible figures continued their slide, down to 6,508 this year, as buyers opted for T-Tops and coupes. Of convertible buyers, 2,646 signed up for a factory hardtop, and 749 were vinyl covered.
The ZR2 package was not available, but the ZR1 name was available for the last time until the Lotus-designed fire-breather introduced in 1990. This was also the last year for the excellent LT1 engine, although the LT1 name would be revived for the 1992 ‘Vette. The ZR1 package included the LT1 engine, heavy-duty close-ratio 4-speed manual gearbox, heavy duty power brakes, transistor ignition, aluminum radiator and beefed up suspension.
There were 10 colors again this year and the best seller was Ontario Orange (4,891), followed by Elkhart Green (4,200) and Targa Blue (3,198). Next were Classic White (2,763), War Bonnet Yellow (2,550), Mille Miglia Red (2,478), Steel Cities Gray (2,346), Bryar Blue (1,617), Sunflower Yellow (1,543) and Pewter Silver (1,372).
The 1972 Corvettes did not have the 1968-71 fiber-optic light monitoring system, but the horn-connected alarm was now included in the base price.