The horsepower rating of the standard Corvette
engine was 165 hp. This isn't much more than the 155 hp of the 1954 Corvette - but that was a six cylinder motor! Smog regulations
were to blame and the future looked very bleak. The news hit all car enthusiasts hard and many of them wondered what, given
the present, the future would be like? And the horsepower figures did not tell the whole story. Fuel system engineers struggled
mightily to satisfy tailpipe emissions regulations and were forced to engage in all sorts of trickery and undesirable practices
to make their cars legal. The result was poor drivability, reliability problems and severely reduced fuel economy with lousy
performance to rub salt in the wounds.
Since the rules were the same for all manufacturers, the story was the same everywhere. Many gave up on performance
completely. Those that did not usually had results inferior to what the Corvette could offer. Chevrolet had not lost its allegiance
to its enthusiast customer base and long standing Corvette qualities - high performance at a moderate price - were still available.
The customers responded with sales volumes that kept increasing during this very rough period for performance cars.
A high energy ignition system became part of the 1975 Corvette and was a huge improvement over
the previous transistorized system. Conventional points disappeared along with the hassle of installation and adjustment.
Tachometers, which were previously mechanical and driven off the distributor via a cable, became electronically connected.
1975 was the first year since 1964 that only one engine displacement (350 cu. in.) was available.
Catalytic convertors made their Corvette debut in 1975 and the design called for a single convertor along with the end of
the true dual exhaust. The fuel tank featured an internal bladder.
Also coming to an end, albeit temporarily, was convertible production. 4,629 were produced for
1975 and word was that there would be no more. A declining interest in open cars due to safety concerns along with a prediction
that they would essentially be outlawed was to blame. Many 1975 convertibles were bought with the expectation that their rarity
would make them highly valuable in the future, which did not happen. The regulations banning convertibles never materialized
and a ragtop Corvette returned to the scene in 1986 and has been an essential part of the Corvette experience since.