Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 62 - 1979 Corvette
"The Best Sales Year Ever!"
Between the huge price increases and all-time sales record of 53,807 units, General Motors "bean counters" were never happier with the Corvette. From a performance perspective, the '79 Corvette was quite unremarkable. Maybe bean counters don't drive performance cars.
The biggest news for the '79 Corvette was price. Inflation was driving everyone nuts in the late 1970s and it was showing up big-time on the Corvette spec sheet. In the beginning of the year, the base price was $10,220, up $869 from 1978. By the end of 1979, the base price was $12,313, up $2,962 from 1978! Although inflation was part of the increase, the growing list of luxury options that were now "standard," also helped drive up the base price. Statistics showed that buyers wanted cushy Corvettes, and Chevrolet was happy to oblige them. Air conditioning was ordered on 87 percent of '79 Corvettes, and 77 percent were ordered with automatic transmissions. The $439 AM/FM/CB radio was the third most expensive option.
Once again, improvements were incremental. Between the new "open flow" mufflers and the dual-snorkel air cleaner, the L48 engine was up 10 hp to 195 hp and the L82 was up 5 hp to 225hp. Automatic Corvettes now had 3.55:1 rear gears for improved "off-the-line" performance. Only 7 percent of '79 Corvettes had the close-ratio four-speed. The 60-series tires option was only $226.
Appearance and comfort defined the '79 Corvette. The '78 Pace Car front and rear spoilers were a $265 option and improved mileage by 1/2 mpg. Light-weight leather seats from the '78 Pace Car saved 24 pounds, but curb weight was 3,665, up 60 pounds from '78. Tungsten-hallogen headlights and 85-mph speedometers were phased in during the year.
Prices jumper over 100 percent from 1968 - 78! A loaded '79 Corvette cost between $14,000 and $16,000 depending on when the car was ordered. Despite the lack of performance, the Corvette was still in the game. - K. Scott Teeters