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C3 Corvette - 1968 to 1977 - Part 1

1969 Corvette


Few could argue the impact the 1968 Corvette generated. Here was a mass produced car that mimmicked the show car that inspired it, the Mako Shark II. As beautiful as it was, problems in build quality cropped up. The 1969 Corvette solved many of thos issues and brought forth cars to be reckoned with.

Model year 1969 brought forth refinements,, and one of those fixed a glaring over complication to a simple problem: entry. The door opening mechanisms was quite a process on the 1968. To gain entry, one had to squeeze the door handle and push on the lock button. Not an easy task, especially for someone who was not scripted in this practice. For 1969, you just squeezed the flush mounted handle. This was still not the easiest proceedure because the handle had to be nearly fully depressed to operate, but this method was retained throughout the third generations production run. The lock cylinder was now surface mounted.

A nameplate was adorned the side of the 1969, resting abot the fender vents, the name was "Stingray." The emblem was held on with adhesive instead of fasteners. The name was synominis with the mid year cars although is was now a single word and done in script. The second gen cars used block letters and seperated Sting from Ray. The fender louvers could be ordered with bright trim. This porved to be a popular option as nearly one third (11,962) of 1969 Corvettes took advantage of this $21.10 option.

White lettered tires becames available on Corvette, proving much less popular than the whitewall or redline tires. Wheels and coverS for 1969 mirrored 1968's selection, except that the wheels received a one inch increase in width, the wheel size now being 15" x 8".

The base enginechanged from the reliable 327 ci to the new 350 ci introduced on the 1967 Camaro. The engine used the same 4.00 inch bore, bused a 3.48" stroke versus a 3.25" for the 327. Horsepower values remained at 300 for the base with a 350hp version (RPO L46) Being optional. For the 427s final appearance, a total of six different variations were offered, ranging from 390hp to a 435 rated horsepower. The 350hp 350 ci V8 had its appearance dressed up by adding finned cast aluminum valve covers, for the 427s, they received chromed metal valve covers. variations were offered, ranging from 390hp to a 435 rated horsepower. 1970 would be the last year that engines would be designed to operate on premium, leaded fuel so the compression ratios seen this year would be lost until super computers allowed engineers to offer high compression engines again.

The base 300hp 350 and the 390 and 400hp variants of the 427s had a 10.25:1 compression ratio, while the 350hp 350 and the 435hp 427 engines were dealt an 11.0:1. The L88 and ZL1 engines, well they had a 12.5 to one ratio. Torque ratings improved on the 350 ci engines, now at 380 lb/ft. The 1968 327 ci engines peaked at 360lb/ft. Other than swapping the 327 for the 350, the engine lineup was essentially unchanged, except for two very special cars.

The special cars were the ZL1's.

According to Chevrolet's records, only two were built, A white coupe, a Daytona Yellow coupe, and a Monaco Orange roadster. The ZL1's were characterized by the overgrown hood scoops shared witht yhe L88. Under that hood was a 430hp under rated all aluminum 427 cubic inch V8. The under rating was obvious, as the peak "rated" horsepower occurred at 4600 rpm. Its camshaft profile suggested the power peak should have occurred at closer to 6000 rpm. The camshaft was a solid lifter unit that boasted a .560" intake lift and .600" of lift for the exhaust. The cylinder heads were referred to as "open chamber" due to a larger bowl area in the combustion chamber.

The ZL1 option cost actually cost more than the car itself with the required options. Those options were the K66 Transistor Ignition, G81 Positraction, J56 Special HD Brakes, F41 Special Front and Rear Suspension, and either the M22 HD Close Ratio Manual Transmission or the M40 3=speed Automatic Transmission. zs

These were the last Corvettes of the 60s, a time when horsepower flowed like a never ending tap, with little regard or thought to it being shut off. There was a problem; someone else had taken control of that tap. Insuurers, law makers, and enviornmentlistshad wretched the tap away from the free spirited engineers. Horsepower's days were numbered...

Total Production - 38,762
Model Number Description Production Base Price
19437 Corvette Sport Coupe 22,129 $4,781
19467 Corvette Convertible 16,633 $4,438.00

Engine Codes
RPO Cu. In. Horsepower Torque Fuel System Trans Block Code Comp Ratio :1 Special Head Material Ignition
Base 350 300 @ 4800 380 @ 3200 4-bbl Man HY 10.25 Iron
Base 350 300 @ 4800 380 @ 3200 4-bbl Auto HZ 10.25 Iron
L46 350 350 @ 5600 380 @ 3600 4-bbl Man MT 11.0 Iron
L46 350 350 @ 5600 380 @ 3600 4-bbl Man GC 11.0 Iron Transistor (K66)
L46 350 350 @ 5600 380 @ 3600 4-bbl Man HX 11.0 Air Cond Iron
L46 350 350 @ 5600 380 @ 3600 4-bbl Man GD 11.0 Air Cond Iron Transistor (K66)
L36 427 390 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 4-bbl Man LM 10.25 Iron
L36 427 390 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 4-BBL Man MH 10.25 Iron Transistor (K66)
L36 427 390 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 4-BBL Auto LL 10.25 Iron
L36 427 390 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 4-BBL Auto MI 10.25 Iron Transistor (K66)
L68 427 400 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 3 2-BBL Man LQ 10.25 Iron
L68 427 400 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 3 2-BBL Man MK 10.25 Iron Transistor (K66)
L68 427 400 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 3 2-BBL Auto LN 10.25 Iron
L68 427 400 @ 5400 460 @ 3600 3 2-BBL Auto MJ 10.25 Iron Transistor (K66)
L71 427 435 @ 5800 460 @ 4000 3 2-BBL Man LR 11.0 Iron Transistor (K66)
L71 427 435 @ 5800 460 @ 4000 3 2-BBL Man LT 11.0 HD Clutch Iron Transistor (K66)
L71 427 435 @ 5800 460 @ 4000 3 2-BBL Auto LX 11.0 Iron Transistor (K66)
L89 427 435 @ 5800 460 @ 4000 3 2-BBL Man LP 11.0 Alum Transistor (K66)
L89 427 435 @ 5800 460 @ 4000 3 2-BBL Man LU 11.0 HD Clutch Alum Transistor (K66)
L89 427 435 @ 5800 460 @ 4000 3 2-BBL Auto LW 11.0 HD Clutch Alum Transistor (K66)
L88 427 430 @ 4600 485 @ 4000 4-BBL Man LO / MR 12.5 Alum Transistor (K66)
L88 427 430 @ 4600 485 @ 4000 4-BBL Auto LV 12.5 Alum Transistor (K66)
ZL1 427 430 @ 4600 485 @ 4000 4-BBL Man ME 12.5 Alum Transistor (K66)
ZL1 427 430 @ 4600 485 @ 4000 4-BBL Auto MG 12.5 Alum Transistor (K66)

Color & Trim Codes
Exterior Color Codes Interior Trim Codes
Color Code Color Vinyl Leather
Tuxedo Black 900 Black ZQ4 402
Can Am White 972 Bright Blue 411 412
Monza Red 974 Green 427 428
LeMans Blue 976 Red 407 408
Monoco Orange 990 Gunmetal 416 417
Fathom Green 983 Saddle 420 421
Daytona Yellow 984
Cortez Silver 986
Burgandy 988
Riverside Gold 980
Dimensions
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

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