Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 59 - 1977 Corvette
"Even More Refinement"
General Motors' management was happy. The '77 Corvette was the most successful Corvette to date, selling 49,213 units – up 2,655 from '76. What makes that figure even more amazing was the fact that the base '77 Corvette cost more than ever – $8,647, up $1,043 from the year before. But it flat-out didn't matter, America clearly loved the new, kinder, gentler Corvette.
The design department knew what was in the works for the 25th Anniversary '78 Corvette, so the '77 model was loaded with under-the-skin refinements that all added up to a better, easier- to-live-with Corvette.
The only exterior changes to the '77 Corvette was the removal of the "Stingray" script on the front fenders, a new cross-flag badge on the nose, and black A-pillars. Everything else was identical to the '76 model, including engine power ratings and transmission options.
Incremental changes were made throughout the car. Power steering and power brakes were now standard. The optional 210hp L82 engine now cost $495 – that's $12 more than the last LT-1 option in '72. In California, only the base, 180hp engine with an automatic transmission was available. But you could have all the other luxury options you could afford.
To improve interior ergonomics, the steering wheel column was 2 inches closer to the dash for a more "arms-out" driving position, as well as improving ingress and egress. Leather seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel were now standard, as well as a new headlight and windshield washer control stalk off the steering column. The modified console now housed heater and air conditioning controls – allowing the use of a standard AC Delco stereo radio. The AM/FM stereo 8-track sound system was a $414 option, and was ordered on nearly half of all '77 Corvettes.
Other improvements included stainless steel shields on the mufflers, steel reinforcements in the hood, and a redesigned rack to hold the T-tops and free-up limited interior space. Special NA6 emissions equipment for $22 was required for Corvettes sold in altitude areas over 4,000 feet. The optional FE7 gymkhana was only $38.
While '77 Corvettes cost more than ever and weren't laying down rubber with thunder, they were still in the game, and more popular than ever. What's particularly odd is that these are the Corvettes that are now the most affordable to buy. - K. Scott Teeters