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Black Book

C3 - Part 2 1978-1982 - The 1979 Corvette

CHevrolet had managed to revive an aging car in the 1978 model year. The car had regained new energy. It's looks were changed, tires wider, and engines more powerful.

The exterior of the 1979 Corvette was basically unchanged except for the addition of the spoilers that came with last year's Indy Pace Car. The spoilers not only improved the look of the basic shape, but they lowered aerodynamic drag by fifteen percent. The base wheel remained the 15" x 8" rally wheel with a bright center cap and trim rings. The popular Cast Aluminum Wheels had a new RPO, changine from YJ8 to N90. The wheels went from a natural cast finish to a more polished look, similar to the 1978 Pace Car Wheels. The wheels differed with by having argent accents rather than black, and the red stripe was missing, Nearly two-thirds of buyers opted for the $380.00 option. The elaboate Silver Anniversary badging was sacred to the 1978 cars; the 1979 saw the return of the traditional third generation croos flags. A trendy change was presenting the stainless steel windshield and backlite molding in black. The moldings had a tendency to flake the black coating off over time. Night time visibility was enhanced by adding high beam halogen headlamps as standard equipment. Halogen headlamps were a huge improvement over traditional sealed beam units of the day as they produced a whiter and brighter light with little increase to the glare imposed on oncoming drivers.

The RPO CC1 glass t-tops were more widely available, and they were installed on more than twice as many cars as 1978.

Inside the Corvette, the seats introduced on the Pace Car were now the standard seat in the Corvette. They were available in a cloth/leather trim or all-leather trim - there was no price difference between the two trims. Like the Pace Car's, the seat back had a high hinge point that allowed the seat back to be folded nearly flat to gain easier accesss to the cargo area. There were no latches to facilitate folding the seat. Instead, a new "inertia lock" was used which used a weight that would swing forward and lock the seat during rapid deceleration. An additional benefit of the new seat is thqat they were worth a twelve pound weight savings per seat over the 1978 high back buckets.

An AM/FM/Cassette stereo radio was a new option for 1979. The 8-Track sound system was still the most popular radio choice, with the new cassette option coming in second. At $439.00, the priciest radio option, the CB radio option fell to less than 10% penetration at 4,483 , down from the 1978 number of 7,138 installations. Part of the $439.00 price was the included tri-band power antenna.

A few chassis changed were made for the 1979 models. HD Shock absorbers were added to the option list. The shocks were aimed at the buyers who wanted a more controlled ride, but did not was to have the harsher ride of the optional RPO FE7 Gymkhana Suspension with its higher rate springs. The option saw few takers, with more than 12,000 folks specifying the Gymkana Suspension, and only 2,164 opting for the HD shocks. On a side note, the rear shock absorbers were no longer a unique piece on manual transmissioned Corvettes as they now shared the valving with automatic models.

Power teams consisted of a pair of 350 cubic inch engines. The base unit was the L48, rated at 195hp at 4,000 rpm with maxium torque of 285 lb/ft occuring at 3200 rpm. In areas where the car would be sold at altitudes obove 4,000 feet, 5 lb/ft were lost and peak torque was achieved at an industrial trucklike 2,400 rpm. The horsepower number of the base engine increased by 10. The L48 adopted the L82's dual snorkel air cleaner which accounted for part of the power bump. The other source was the implementation of free flowing mufflers. THese also found their way onto the L82 which itself was 5 horsepower greater than 1978 at 225. On L82 models only, the tone of these mufflers must have been a bit too much for sensitive ears of residents of Florida, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Boston (MA), Chicago & Des Plaines (IL), Cook County (IL), and of all places, Grand Rapids (MI), as the car could not be sold in those areas.

Californians and those residing in designated "High Altitude" areas (above 4,000 feet) were once again robbed of the higher horsepower L82 or a manual transmission as an automatic was required. To compensate, the base axle ratio changed from a 3.08 to a 3.55 to one for a more satisfying launch feel on automatic models. Tire selection was the same as 1978 with blackwall P225/70R-15 steel belted radials being standard, with raised white letters being an option. The P255/60R-15 Goodyear GT Radials with their outline white letters being optional. The in plant fender trimming required for clearance of the wider rubber was no longer required.

Corvette hit its highest mark ever with 53,807 of the single model being built. This was almost a 20% gain in production over 1978's, and in 1978 there were three ways to draw in sales (base, Pace Car, and Silver Anniversary paint). Of those sales, only 3,798 went to California. Surprisingly, only 14,516 were equipped with the High Performance L82 engine. 1979 has proven to be the highest production year to date for Corvette, even besting the 1984's year plus long production run.

Total Production - 53,807
Model Number Description Production Base Price
1YZ87 Corvette Sport Coupe 53,807 $10,220.23

Engine Codes
RPO Cu. In. Horsepower Torque Fuel System Trans Block Code Comp Ratio :1 Emissions
L48 350 195 @ 4000 285 @ 3200 4-bbl Rochester Man ZAA, ZAF 8.2 Fed
L48 350 195 @ 4000 285 @ 3200 4-bbl Rochester Auto ZAB, ZAH 8.2 Fed
L48 350 195 @ 4000 280 @ 2400 4-bbl Rochester Auto ZAC, ZAJ 8.2 Cal
L48 350 195 @ 4000 280 @ 2400 4-bbl Rochester Auto ZAD 8.2 Hi Alt
L82 350 225 @ 5200 270 @ 3600 4-bbl Rochester Man ZBA 8.9 Fed
L82 350 225 @ 5200 270 @ 3600 4-bbl Rochester Auto ZBB 8.9 Fed

Color & Trim Codes
Exterior Color Codes Interior Trim Codes
Color Code Color Cloth Leather
Corvette Light Beige 59U Black ABB2 /192
Black 19U Dark Blue Leather HDD2 / 29C ADD2 / 292
Corvette Dark Blue 83U Light Beige HUU2 / 59C AUU2 / 592
Corvette Light Blue 28U Red Leather ARR2 / 722
Corvette Dark Brown Metallic 67U Dark Green HGG2 / 49C AGG2 / 492
Corvette Dark Green Metallic 58U Gray HWW2 / 12C AWW2 / 122
Corvette Red 72U
Silver 13U
Classic White 10U
Corvette Yellow 52U
Corvette Coupe
Overall Length 185.2
Height 48.0
Width 69.0
Wheel Base 98.0
Track F / R 58.7 / 59.5
Curb Weight 3557
Dimensions are in inches, weight in pounds unless otherwise noted.

1978 - Fast(is)Back!
1979 - - Best Seller
1980 - Mid Life Crisis - Time to trim up
1981 - Good-bye St. Louis, Hello Bowling Green!
1982 - Collector Edition and Cross-Fire Injection

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