1979 Chevrolet Corvette
8-cyl. 350cid/225hp 4bbl L82
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Chevrolet Corvette production rose again in 1979 to 53,807 coupes despite rising fuel prices. The price of the base L48 model also rose again to $10,220 with a wide-ratio M20 4-speed or a 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission. Base horsepower increased slightly to 195 bhp from the 350 cubic-inch Chevy small-block V-8 engine, but 14,516 buyers spent another $565 for the 225 bhp L82 motor. A better muffler increased horsepower due to freer flow.
The high-back seat from the 1978 Pace Car model became standard equipment and the seats were lightened due to due to plastic frames. Inertia locking kept the backs upright in sudden deceleration, while the seats could slide forward an extra inch. The front and rear spoilers from the 1978 Pace Cars also became standard fitment, decreasing drag by about by about 15 percent, good for half a mile a gallon.
1979 Corvette buyers could still get the close-ratio M21 4-speed gearbox but only 4,062 people did, even though it was a no-cost option. Only 12,321 paid $49 for the FE7 gymkhana suspension, 6,853 paid $265 for front and rear spoilers, 2,164 picked the $33 heavy duty shock absorbers and 425 bought the optional higher or lower rear axle ratio for $19.
Meanwhile, the luxury features abounded. 47,136 buyers paid $635 for air-conditioning, 47,463 bought tilt-telescopic steering column for $190, 48,211 fell for the style of the $45 sport mirrors, 41,530 paid $94 for the ZX2 convenience group of interior lights, floor mats and warning buzzers, and 41,587 shelled out $102 for a rear-window defogger. A further 21,435 bought the AM-FM 8-track stereo for $228 and 35,730 insisted on the $52 power antenna. 34,445 buyers added cruise control.
Among the 10 colors, Black bounced back to the top with 10,465 takers. Classic White followed (8,629) Silver (7,331), Corvette Red (6,707) and Corvette Dark Blue (5,670). Further down the rankings were Corvette Dark Brown (4,053), Corvette Light Blue (3,203) Corvette Light Beige, Corvette Dark Green (2,426) and Corvette Yellow (2,357).
Some cars were unlucky enough to get the 85 mph speedometers designed for the 1980 models, while mirror-tint roof panels developed for the 1978 Pace Car were unexpectedly popular and 14,480 buyers spent an extra $365 to get them.