Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 56 - 1975 Corvette
"Pavement Burner to GT Car"
Considering the sad state of the economy in '75, the Corvette was doing rather well. The new direction for the Corvette was style and comfort, and despite rising costs, buyers didn't mind at all.
From a performance point of view, things were dismal. Zora Arkus-Duntov was headed for pasture and car shows, while new guy, Dave McLellan, had his work cut out for him. Fortunately for the Corvette team, there were only two other American performance cars the Trans-Am Firebird and the Z-28 Camaro. They cost a little less than the Corvette, but lacked strong racing heritage.
1975 was a mixed bag of firsts and lasts for the Corvette. Due to sagging sales and pending roll-over safety regulations, the convertible was going away. The big-block 454 option was gone, and there was only one engine option, the $336, 205hp L82. The new catalytic converter system was a pseudo dual exhaust, using a Y-pipe off the engine into a single converter, then branching off into two pipes and two mufflers. It was also the first year for the HEI (High Energy Ignition) pointless ignition. Other firsts included a bladder-type fuel cell and kilometers-per-hour markings on the speedometer.
For the go-fast crowd, the Z07 suspension was still available. For $400 you got special front and rear suspension parts, heavy-duty brakes, and the gymkhana over-sized antiroll bars. Only 144 Corvettes were sold with the Z07 option.
The exterior changes were minimal. The rear bumper cover was now one piece, the side view mirrors were wider, and the car sat just over a quarter-inch higher. On the down side, the car packed on 141 pounds, weighing 3,529 pounds. That's an extra 319 pounds since '68! The base cost was up as well by $809 from '74, to $6,810 for the coupe.
For a lot of reasons, the lack of grunt, extra weight and cost didn't matter to buyers. Sales were up 963 units from '74, to 38,465 for '75. It's a good thing because performance cars had become almost extinct. On the bright side, John Greenwood kept Corvette's racing status alive by winning the SCCA Trans-Am Championship. There was still something to cheer about. - K. Scott Teeters