Welcome to CorvettePage.com.
The Information Source for Corvettes

C1 - 1953 to 1962
C2 - 1963 to 1967
C3 Part 1 - 1968 to 1977
C3 Part 2 - 1978 to 1982
C4 - 1984 to 1996
C5 - 1997 to 2004
C6 - 2005 to 2013
ZR1 - The All-New 2009 Corvette ZR1
* Detroit Auto Show Images
* Added 1-16-08
C7 - the Future Corvette

The Corvette
Black Book

C3 Corvette - 1968 to 1977 - Part 1

1968 Corvette

In the automotive world, there are only a couple of cars that the general motoring public instantly recognizes. First and foremost would be the VW Beetle. Who wouldn't know one of these cars as it was produced from the late thirties and into the seventies. The Edsel comes to mind with the distinctive "horse-collar" front end appearance. Most improtantly, another is the 1968 thru 1982 Corvette.

Partly because of the length of production, but mostly because of the distinct styling, these cars wouldn't be confused with any other car in the parking lot.

The 1968 Corvette began a generation long run of cars which began life as terrors on the street and ended a relatively docile rein. The new car was all-new on the outside and inside, but the underlying chassis had roots to the stellar 1963 edition.

The exterior was the most stylistic creation yet, inspired by the Mako Shark II show car, much as the Stingray Racer had influenced it's predecessor. The front and rear fenders were peaked, lending a race car look to the exterior. You sat low in a '68, peeking up over the fenders as you looked down the low, low hood. Headlamps popped up out of the silhouette, like four menacing eyeballs piercing through the darkness. While stylish when retracted, the headlamps were placed high enough to provide great lighting when opened. A thin chrome front bumper encircled the front of the car, offering more protection than the split arrangement of the C2 cars. The front parking lamps had a classy look all their own, with frosted lenses and amber bulbs.

The side gills were much less aquatic looking than the outgoing '67, and they continued to allow hot air to escape their underhood home. The C3 introduced a "coke bottle" or "wasp waisted" style, with both the front fenders and rear quarter panels being more bolbulous than the doors. The doors are the subject of great debate as to open them, one had to squeeze the upper exterior latch while pushing the lock button (as on most conventional cars) at the same time. A novel approach to be different, but most unnecessary. There were three hoods offered, the basic flat hood for 327 equipped models, the "big block" hood for the 390, 400, and 435hp variations of the 427 ci engines, which had a domed shape and a pair of false radiator vents, and then there was a third hood, one with a higher bulge, but his was limited to the 116 L-88 (claimed at 430hp) Corvettes.

The split rear bumper was carried over from the C2, however other than the four tail lamp arrangement, that was the only similarity. The glassed rear boat tail look was replaced with a flying buttress with it's deeply set rear window. At the extreme rear, a semi "kamm" tail lowered drag and was topped by an subtle integrated rear spoiler. The fuel filler cap still rested on top of the rear bodywork, however it was much less stylized than the C2s.

A great new feature on coupes was the removable roof panels, more commonly referred to as "T-tops". The new roof panels when combined with the removable rear window, allowed owners to experience a near convertible ambience while retaining the security of a coupe. When removed, the panels were stored in bags to keep them from rattling into one another when occupying the cargo area. Unlike the C2 cars, the cargo area in the coupes was barely roomier than the convertibles.

Upon opening the doors, Corvette owners were treated to a highly exotic interior. The seats were now narrow buckets, again available with optional head restraints. Vinyl coverings were standard with leather being offered for a mere $79.00. 2,429 buyers opted for the leather option. Ahead of the driver was a deep set speedometer and tachometer, with the ammeter, temperature, fuel, and oil pressure gages being placed in the central part of the instrument panel. The climate controls were more conventional and placed in the forward part of a busier center console. The shifter was changed markedly, as it now rested at about a 40-degree angle when in first or third (or park on automatics), while being at almost 90-degrees in 2nd/4th (drive). A high tech feature added to the console was the lighting monitor where fiber optic cables transmitted light from head, tail, and brake lamps, to keep the driver informed as to the status of these systems.

Powerteams for '68 were similar to 1967's with a 300hp 327 being standard, with engine options being a 350hp version of the 327, and 390, 400, 430, and 435hp versions of the big block 427 available at extra cost. The 400 and 435hp variations were equipped with three two-barrel carburetors, dubbed tri-power. The 390hp and the 430hp versions were different as night and day despite having a common four-barrel arrangement (but not common carbs). The 390 could be considered a docile engine, while the 430 horsepower engine was a race engine in a street car. Dubbed L88, this engine was underrated in horsepower and was not really streetable, The low horsepower rating and lack of creature comforts did what Chevy intended; kept only but the real diehards from ordering the package. How many? How about 116 cars.

The 1968 Corvettes rolled on F70-15 nylon bias belted tires and were mounted on a seven inch wide, fifteen inch diameter steel wheel. Blackwall tires were standard, however Red or White thin stripe tires were optional for another $31.30. A finned wheel cover (RPO P01) was optional. When equipped with the 327 ci V8, a link type stabilzer bar of .750" (3/4") was included and was upsized to .9375" (15/16") if the 427 engine was ordered. Additional, a rear stabiler bar of .5625" (9/16") was included with the 427. Shock absorbers had a piston diameter of one inch.

A slew of gear ratios were available depending on the engine option, transmission, and optional equipment. They were a 2.73, 3.08, 3.36, 3.55. 3.70. and 4.11. Depending on engine applications, one of four transmissions were offered. A three speed manual was standard equipment and had a cast iron case and a 2.54:1 first gear ratio. The three speed was available with the base 300hp 327 ci V8. The M20 four speed brought an aluminum case and a 2.52:1 first gear ratio. This transmission was offered with all powertram combinations except the L71 435hp or L88 430hp 427 ci V8s. A close ratio M21 transmission with a 2.20:1 first gear ratio was available with all engine except the 300hp base engine. A 10.34" clutch joined the engine and transmission on 327s while the 427s came with an 11" unit. A modern three speed automatic transmission was finally offered in Corvette and was offered with all engine combinations except the 350hp version of the 327 cu in engine or the 435hp 427 cu in.

When the 1968 production run ended, 28,566 Corvettes left the St. Louis factory. Of the model run, 9,936 t-top coupes were built and 18,630 were convertibles. This marked the end of an era, where more converibles than coupes were built, as from 1969 onward, the ratio would be reversed. 1968 was a milestone year for Corvette, as this would be the longest running generation of all Corvettes, with fifteen model years being built as C3's.

Total Production - 28,566
Model Number Description Production Base Price
19437 Corvette Sport Coupe 9,936 $4,663.00
19467 Corvette Convertible 18,630 $4,320.00

Engine Codes
RPO Cu. In. Horsepower Torque Fuel System Trans Block Code Comp Ratio :1 Air Cond Head Material
Base 327 300 @ 5000 360 @3400 4-bbl Man HE 10.0 Iron
Base 327 300 @ 5000 360 @3400 4-bbl Auto HO 10.0 Iron
L79 327 350 @ 5800 360 @ 3600 4-bbl Man HP 11.0 Yes Iron
L79 327 350 @ 5800 360 @ 3600 4-bbl Man HT 11.0 Iron
L36 427 390 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 4-bbl Man IL 10.25 Iron
L36 427 390 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 4-BBL Auto IQ 10.25 Iron
L68 427 400 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 3 2-BBL Man IM 10.25 Iron
L68 427 400 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 3 2-BBL Auto IO 10.25 Iron
L71 427 435 @ 5800 460 @ 4000 3 2-BBL Man IR 11.0 Iron
L89 427 435 @ 5800 460 @ 4000 3 2-BBL Man IT 11.0 Alum
L88 427 430 @ 4600 485 @ 4000 4-BBL Man IU 12.5 Alum

Color & Trim Codes
Exterior Color Codes Interior Trim Codes
Color Code Color Code
Tuxedo Black 900 Black Vinyl Std
Polar White 972 Red Vinyl 407
Rally Red 974 Medium Blue Vinyl 414
LeMans Blue 976 Dark Blue Vinyl 411
International Blue 978 Dark Orange Vinyl 425
British Green 983 Tobacco Vinyl 435
Safari Yellow 984 Gun Metal Vinyl 442
Silverstone Silver 986 Black Leather 402
Cordovan Maroon 988 Red Leather 408
Corvette Bronze 992 Medium Blue Leather 415
Dark Orange Leather 426
Tobacco Leather 436
Corvette Coupe Corvette Convertible
Overall Length 182.1 182.1
Height 47.8 47.8
Width 69.2 69.2
Wheel Base 98.0 98.0
Track F / R 58.3 / 59.0 58.3 / 59.0
Curb Weight 3210 3220
Dimensions are in inches, weight in pounds unless otherwise noted.

1968 - Mako Shark anyone?
1969 - Goodbye L88, Hello ZL1
1970 - Solid Lifters and Small Blocks
1971 - Who needs Hi-Test?
1972 - End of the Line, LT-1
1973 - Last of the Chrome
1974 - Big-Blocks last Hurrah
1975 - The Last Corvette Convertible
1976 - YJ8, Aluminum wheels
1977 - Wait 'til next year

"CorvettePage.com is not affiliated with, Associated with, or Sponsored by General Motors or the Chevrolet Motor Division."