The 1973 Corvette Review

 

Thank you for joining us again here at Hobby Car Corvettes, located in Martinsburg PA, for our continuation of the series, C3 Vette Rundown. This week, we will be discussing the well received 1973 Corvette.

 

1973 Corvette Radials, Quieter RIde, Guard Beams, Nose Job

1973 Corvette Radials, Quieter RIde, Guard Beams, Nose Job

 

In each post of this series, we will highlight the changes and upgrades, or in some years, lack thereof, of a specific year of the third generation of Corvettes. We started 5 posts ago with the launch of the third generation in 1968, and today we bring you a thorough rundown of the fifth year in, the 1973 Chevrolet Corvette.

 

NOSE JOB

 

If you tuned in for our previous C3 Series posts, you will recall that 1972 and 1971 saw very little aesthetic change. This year, Corvette engineers determined it was time for a makeover. But these aesthetic changes would serve more for function, rather than turning heads. 1973 is recalled to be the year that Corvette began transforming from muscle, to touring sports car. One of Chevrolet’s most notable advertisements this year stated:

“We gave it radials, a quieter ride, guard beams, and a nose job.”

 

The 1973 C3 Corvette, would be the first of its generation to see a true redesign.

 

Chevrolet 1973 Corvette

Chevrolet CORVETTE 1973

 

The nose job Chevrolet wittingly referred to was a complete front bumper redesign. The nose was longer by about 2 inches and slightly heavier. The new design added 35 pounds to the 1973 Corvette. The front featured a steel bumper, covered by deformable urethane plastic, which was matched to the color of the rest of the body. This change from the former chrome bumper, made 1973 the first year of the “rubber bumper”.

 

This redesign was one of the first examples of Chevrolet’s credo, “form follows function”. While some may look at the redesign and think it was all for show, the motivation runs deeper. This front bumper redesign was actually in response to yet another federal mandate for a 5 mph impact-absorbing bumper.

 

Another front redesign was made to the air vents.The 1973 Corvette front fender now included simple, recessed air vents on each side of the car. These replaced the seperate cast vent grilles that had been included in the years 1970-1972.

 

1973 CORVETTE TIRE CHANGES

 

Another piece of the 1973 Corvette that underwent notable changes, were the tires and wheels. This year, Chevrolet introduced radial tires. By making this change, the new and improved tires had longer tread wear, better wet-weather grip, and added stability when operating at common Corvette speeds. Corvette is known to be fast, but it is also known to be safe. On the flip side of the coin, the change also contributed to longer stopping distances.

 

Chevrolet CORVETTE 1973

Chevrolet CORVETTE 1973

 

Another tire specific option offered to buyers, fell flat due to a design flaw. At time of purchase, a consumer could opt to have the new tires mated to new wheels that followed “form and function”. This wheel design was based off the XP-882 mid-engine Corvette prototype and included an 8-inch rim width, a deep-dish section, and 8 cooling vents. The design was received well in regards to aesthetics. The wheels were also built utilizing aluminum, dropping the weight of the car by 8 pounds each.

 

Only 4 consumers were able to purchase this option, as it was rejected by Chevrolet early on due to a porosity issue. It was rumored, however, that 800 sets had been manufactured before the recall. Stay tuned in the series, however, as 1976 may see the aluminum wheels redesigned and released yet again.

 

SAFE AND SOUND

 

While the first thing people may think of when it comes to Corvettes may be speed or style, Corvette has proven to make safety and comfort as much a priority. This year, while in response to a federal mandate, Chevrolet wasted no time in enhancing the Corvette to be safer and more enjoyable a ride for its consumers.

 

1973 saw the introduction of a longitudinal steel beam in each door to protect riders from side impacts. The design was spearheaded by General Motors. In each door, heavy steel beams were installed that extended from the door hinges to the lock plates. This new feature tied in well to the body’s steel “birdcage”, and only added to the preexisting sound structure of the Corvette, making for an exciting, but also safe ride.

 

Another redesign feature adding to the riders positive experience, included a change that would decrease the noise level inside the car by 40%. Extra sound-dampening insulation was strategically added throughout the car. A sound-dampening pad was installed under the Corvette’s hood. Carpeting was also made thicker and the mats inside the console, dash, and rear quarters were made thicker. In addition, The body mounts would now include a rubber/steel design that eradicated unpleasant vibrations felt inside the car.

 

1973 CORVETTE ENGINES

 

1973 Corvette Advertisement

1973 Corvette Advertisement

Because of previous year changes in federal regulations, the engines offered in 1973 again failed to wow the Corvette audience. However, it wasn’t necessarily that they did not perform well with what they had to work with, it was only that the engine options were viewed as a downgrade from the original release in 1968. Nonetheless, Corvette still maintained a reputation as a sharp and speedy car

 

 

1973 brochure red and orange corvette

1973 Corvette Brochure

Engine options this year included 2 350 cu in. small block engines. The base L-48 engine produced 190 hp. The L-82 was now the optional high performance small-block engine, delivering 250 hp. The 454 cu in. big-block engine option produced 275 hp.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW

 

1973 was the year for the first Off Road Suspension RPO Z07 produced and today it is considered a very rare production Corvette as only 45 were produced.

 

From 1968 to 1972, Corvettes were known as “chrome bumper” cars. However, in 1973 the Corvette dropped one its chrome bumpers for the front “rubber bumper”. For 1974 and beyond, all cars had 5 mph impact-absorbing front and rear bumpers covered by body-color urethane plastic.

 

The rare aluminum wheels that were recalled by Chevrolet almost immediately, carry the casting number 329381. While many of the 800 sets of wheels that were produced and not ordered, are thought to have ended up in the hands of consumers, it is unknown how many sets of the rare aluminum wheels still exist today.

 

While 1973 Chevrolet Corvette

Chevrolet CORVETTE 1973

 

CONCLUSION

 

1973 was without question, a good year. Sales increased from the previous year and prices only rose slightly. The “form and function” credo that Chevrolet seemed to be taking on and taking seriously, served them well this year. They were able to make changes for function that dually appeared to the public as aesthetically pleasing upgrades. A company that can make a design change that improves both performance and aesthetics, is bound to be successful.

 

Road & Track Magazine stated this about the 1973 Corvette after a road test:

 

“For all its age, size, and compromises, is the Corvette is equipped with the right options, it is a pleasant and rewarding car to drive and this 1973 example was one of the best Corvettes we’ve ever driven.”

 

Thank you again for checking in with us here at Hobby Car Corvettes for the C3 Vette Rundown. We invite you to come back every week as we release new posts weekly. Should you have any questions or curiosities about owning your very own Corvette, we would be happy to speak with you!

 

We currently have the following 1973 corvettes for sale:

 

SPECS FOR 1973 CORVETTE

 

MODEL1973 CHEVROLET CORVETTE
GENERATIONC3
BODY STYLETwo-door convertible/coupe, front engine, rear wheel drive
MANUFACTURING LOCATIONSt. Louis, Missouri
EXTERIOR

COLORS

Sunflower Yellow, Pewter Silver, Bryar Blue, Elkhart Green, Classic White, Mille Miglia Red, Targa Blue, Ontario Orange Steel Cities Gray, War Bonnet Yellow
INTERIOR

COLORS

Black, Midnight Blue, Medium Saddle, Dark Saddle, Red Vinyl
CONSTRUCTIONUniconstruction: fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP or “fiberglass”) body, backboned by a steel cage outlining the passenger compartment. Principal members – underbody, front and rear end assemblies, dash panel and hinge pillars are bonded, riveted, or bolted together and to each other. Hood is plastic with bonded plastic reinforcement. Coupe: two removable roof panels and removable rear window. Frame: all welded, full length, ladder construction with 5 crossmembers. Side Rails and intermediate crossmembers box section; front crossmember box girder section. Eight body-mounting points.
VEHICLE NUMBERS (VIN)1Z37J3S400001 – 1Z37J3S434464
ENGINE SUFFIXCKZ: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL

CLA: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC

CLB: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL, CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS

CLC: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC, CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS

CLD: 350 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC

CLH: 350 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC, CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS

CLR: 350 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL

CLS: 350 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL, CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS

CWM: 454 CUBIC INCH, 275 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL

CWR: 454 CUBIC INCH, 275 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC

CWS: 454 CUBIC INCH, 275 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC, CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS

CWT: 454 CUBIC INCH, 275 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL, CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS

ENGINE BLOCK NUMBER3970010: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HP, 250HP

3970014: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HP, 250HP

3999289: 454 CUBIC INCH, 275HP

HEAD NUMBER353049: 454 CUBIC INCH, 275HP

330545: 350 CUBIC INCH, 250HP

3998993: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190HP

333881: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190HP

333882: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190HP

CARBURETOR NUMBERSROCHESTER Q-jet #7043200: 454 CUBIC INCH, 275HP, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

ROCHESTER Q-jet #7043201: 454 CUBIC INCH, 275HP, MANUAL TRANSMISSION

ROCHESTER Q-jet #7043202: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190HP, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

ROCHESTER Q-jet #7043203: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190HP, MANUAL TRANSMISSION

ROCHESTER Q-jet #7043212: 350 CUBIC INCH, 250HP, AUTOMATIC

DISTRIBUTOR NUMBER1112098: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190HP

1112114: 454 CUBIC INCH, 275HP

1112130: 350 CUBIC INCH, 250HP

1112150: 350 CUBIC INCH, 250HP

ALTERNATOR NUMBER1100544: 350, 454 CUBIC INCH, AIR CONDITIOING

1100950: 350, 454 CUBIC INCH

1102353: 454 CUBIC INCH

AXLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBERAA: 3.55:1 RATIO

AB: 3.70:1 RATIO

AC: 4.11:1 RATIO

AW: 3.08:1 RATIO

AX: 3.36:1 RATIO

LR: 3.36:1 RATIO

PRODUCTION ENDING VEHICLEAUG., 1972: 401138, DEC., 1972: 410679, APR., 1973: 421933, SEP.. 1972: 403539, JAN., 1973: 413600, MAY, 1973: 428892, OCT., 1972: 406054, FEB., 1973: 416301, JUNE., 1973: 431731, NOV., 1972: 408696, MAR., 1973: 419253, JULY, 1973: 434464

 

Options Codes, Production, & Pricing

 

CODESDESCRIPTION QUANTITY RETAIL PRICE
1YZ37Base Corvette Sport Coupe25,521$5,561.50
1YZ67Base Corvette Convertible4,943$5,398.50
Custom Interior Trim13,434$154.00
A31Power Windows14,024$83.00
A85Custom Shoulder Belts (std with coupe)788$41.00
C07Auxiliary Hardtop (for convertible)1,328$267.00
C08Vinyl Covering (for auxiliary hardtop)323$62.00
C50Rear Window Defogger4,412$41.00
C60Air Conditioning21,578$452.00
Optional Rear Axle Ratio1,791 $12.00
J50Power Brakes24,168$46.00
LS4454ci, 275hp Engine4,412$250.00
L82350ci, 250hp Engine5,710$299.00
M214-Speed Manual Transmission, close-ratio3,704$0.00
M40Turbo-Hydro-matic Automatic Transmission17,927$0.00
N37Tilt-Telescopic Steering Column17,949$82.00
N40Power Steering27,872$113.00
PO2Deluxe Wheel Cover1,739$62.00
QRMWhite Stripe Steel Belted Tires, GR70x1519,903$32.00
QRZWhite Letter Steel Belted Tires, GR70x154,541$45.00
T60Heavy Duty Battery (std with LS4)4,912$15.00
U58AM-FM Radio, Stereo12,482$276.00
U69AM-FM Radio17,598$173.00
UF1Map Light (on rearview mirror)8,186$5.00
YF5California Emission Test3,008$15.00
YJ8Cast Aluminum Wheels (5)4$175.00
Z07Off Road Suspension and Brake Package45$369.00

 

TRANSMISSION CODES

 

CODETRANSMISSION
PMuncie 4-Speed, Heavy-Duty Aluminum Case
AMuncie 4-Speed M20 Wide-Range (2.52:1 1st gear)
BMuncie 4-Speed M21 Close-Range (2.20:1 1st gear)
CKTurbo Hydra-Matic 400 with 350 L-48 Engine
CYTurbo Hydra-Matic 400 with 350 L-82 Engine
CSTurbo Hydra-Matic 400 with 454 Engine