Make your own free website on Tripod.com

corvetteinfocenter.jpg

1978

Home
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1984
1983
1982
1981
1980
1979
1978
1977
1976
1975
1974
1973
1972
1971
1970
1969
1968
1967
1966
1965
1964
1963
1962
1961
1960
1959
1958
1957
1956
1955
1954
1953

The 25th Anniversary

1978.jpg

Wheel Base: 98"
Length: 15' 6"
Width: 5' 10"
Weight: 3550 lbs
Trans: 3 Speed  Auto
      or 4 Speed Manual
Brakes: 11.75" Disk
 
Engines
Base: 350ci V8 w/ 185hp
Optional: 350ci V8 w/ 220hp

The Corvette was 25 years old in 1978 and the celebration was on. All 1978s featured a commemorative badge on the front nose. A special two tone paint scheme consisting of dark silver on the lower body and light silver above separated by a dark silver stripe was offered. The production quantity was not limited and 15,283 were sold.

1978 was a year of significant changes to the C3 Corvette. A new "fastback" design which made for a smoother silhouette and answered criticisms of limited luggage space; owners now had storage similar to the mid-years Corvette coupes. Also like the mid-years coupes, access to the area was through the seats and inconvenient. A hatchback opening would be available in 1982. A retractable cover provided sun protection and security. One drawback to the new design was that the interior would heat up on sunny days, placing increased demands on the air conditioning.

A new temporary space saving spare tire enabled the installation of a new 24 gallon (previously 17 gallon) fuel tank, increasing the driving range between fill-ups, a previous Corvette complaint.

The interior, which was starting to look dated, was upgraded for 1978. The gauges, while still round, were set in a more squared off area. A glove box replaced the map pockets located in front of the passenger. CB (Citizens Band) radios were a booming fad in 1978 and a AM-FM stereo with CB (RPO UP6; $638.00 - ouch!) was available. One antenna was called on to provide for the AM-FM and CB functions, so its performance was compromised.

A Corvette paced the Indy 500 race and a special edition paint consisting of light silver on the lower body and black above, separated by a red stripe and special seats marked the occasion. Originally production was to be limited to 300, a nod to the production quantity of the 1953 'vette. But demand increased and soon Chevrolet had a problem: which dealers would be allocated one of these special Corvettes? The problem was solved by producing 6,502 Indianapolis 500 pace car replicas, enough so that each dealer would get one and a few promotional extras.

Despite the fact that a production quantity of 6,502 removes any potential for a "rare" designation, a buying frenzy ensued and the sticker price of $13,653.21 was often doubled. The Wall Street Journal entered the fray with a prominent article outlining the situation and hints that prices would be higher in the future. The result was that the general public entered the market, making buying decisions that were illogical.

Purchasers who thought that profitability was part of the special edition Corvette ownership were disappointed. This often happens when the public gets interested in collector cars as investments. One problem was the high production quantity of 6,502. The other was that the option was only a badge, paint job and decal exercise. There wasn't a special engine or even suspension in the story, so future enthusiasts passed in favor of Corvettes with something worthwhile to offer.

Decals commemorating the event were shipped with all 6,502 replicas, and it was up to the buyer to make the installation decision. The pace car replicas had their own VIN number sequence.

An era ended when GM head designer Bill Mitchell, GM president Ed Cole and chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov retired. Dave McLellan would become the Corvette head engineer.

1978 Corvette Options List

Pace Car Pics and Info

Corvette Info Center is not associated with GM or Chevrolet Motor Division.
This site is best viewed with Mozilla Firefox.