TWO BIG YEARS FOR C3 CORVETTES
1978 and 1979 were exciting years for Corvette. 1978 was the Silver Anniversary or 25th Anniversary for Corvette, and 1979 still holds the record for most Corvettes sold, selling 53,807 Corvettes!
25 YEARS OF CORVETTES: 1978
To commemorate the Silver Anniversary in 1978, Chevrolet made some changes that were applied to every 1978 Corvette, and also made available a Silver Anniversary Corvette package. All 1978 Corvettes would feature a special 25th Anniversary emblem.
Some changes included the removal of the old “flying buttress” sail panels, which were replaced with a large, compound curved rear window. This one change made a serious impact, and brought to Corvette enthusiasts a design change they had been craving. The window change also enhanced rearward visibility and provided more luggage room and easier access. The Silver Anniversary model was designed to be a two-tone silver over gray, with a separating pinstripe.
Chevrolet also reached out to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and negotiated for Corvette to serve as the pace car for the 1978 running of the Indy 500. After being granted this incredible opportunity, Chevrolet Corvette designers and engineers embraced the task of creating the perfect 1978 Corvette for the event. After the car was complete, the possibility to purchase a replica became available to the masses. The replica pace car featured a two-tone paint scheme, with black on top and silver on the bottom, separated by a red pinstripe.
Be careful when searching for an original pace car replica, because due to popularity and limited availability, some people tried to “clone” the car. You can identify the intruders by vin number. True pace car replicas have a ‘9’ as the eighth digit.
All 1978 Corvettes were fitted with a genuine glove box, and the speedometer and tachometer were encased in a squared-up instrument panel housing. Armrests were screwed into the door, as opposed to being molded to the door like previous years. 78’ Vettes also saw the introduction of a larger gas tank, growing from 17 gallons to 24 gallons. 1978 saw the reintroduction of the close-ratio four-speed manual transmission as an exclusive option to be ordered with the L82 engine.
RECORD HIGH FOR CORVETTES SOLD: 1979
Some options that became standard on 1979 Corvettes included tilt-telescopic steering columns, air conditioning, and power windows. The anniversary emblems from the prior year were replaced with the traditional Corvette crossed flags insignia. The trim around the fastback window, which was chrome in 1978, was now painted black.
Several features from the 1978 Indy 500 pace car replica were carried over as options for the 1979 Corvette, including the new bucket seats, the front and rear spoiler package, and the glass roof panels. The glass roof panels were very popular and 15,000 Corvettes left production fitted with the option.
Mechanically, the L48 and L82 engines both received a 5 hp increase as a result of a new “open flow” muffler design. In addition, the low-restriction, dual snorkel air intake that had been introduced to the L82 engine was now added to the L48 engine. This increased the L48 output by 5 hp again, bringing it to a total output of 195 hp and the L82 offered 225 hp.