Identification of C3 Corvettes by Years
These ID'ing features are unique to the year specified. Not easily visible or not "across the board" changes are specifically omitted:
The C3 "Sharks":
New body given CokeĀ®-bottle shape.
The coupe features a scooped out roof line.
No Stingray logo above the 4 side louvers (gills).
Backup lights are under the bumper.
Four all red taillights.
Silver front grills with round corner parking lights.
Push button door lock that opens the door.
No metal tips on the removable hardtop.
Black rocker panels.
DOT mandated side markers (small square lights on the fenders).
Removable roof panels (coupe, first year).
Removeable rear window (coupe, first year), stores in a tray under the rear deck.
Flat, straight dash that arches down and away from the driver and passenger.
Door panels with a sculpted look of fat armrests and shoulder supports and scooped out area to place the arm.
The ignition switch is in the dash (last Corvette to have this until C5)
Engine gauges now in center dash.
The center console has the fiber optic monitors and a set of cross flags only.
Transmission tunnel enlarged (to accept the TH400).
The Stingray name returns to the front fenders above the 4 gills.
Door push button replaced by a handle flap & key lock.
The back up lights integrated with inner two taillights.
Front grill is now black.
The four side gills have an optional chrome insert (each appear as a chrome louver).
Factory sidepipes ('69 only on C3's)
Hardtops gain small stainless steel tips (protect the pointed tips with top off).
Center console gains a plate with the engine size and horsepower rating.
Anti-theft steering column ignition lock (key moves off the dash).
Flexible map pocket on P/S dash.
Rubberized control knobs.
Plastic horizontal grills are replaced with egg-crate, pot metal grill.
Side gills are changed to "ice tray", metal design.
Front parking lights become large and square with a clear lens (amber bulbs).
Tinted glass standard (first time).
Lower fender flares are added (to cover the 8" wheels & prevent rock chips).
Headrests are now incorporated into the seats.
Round exhaust tips are replaced by rectangular tips.
Safety belt retractor containers added.
Chrome letters label the A/T shift quadrant.
Console engine size and horsepower plate relects reduced engine output.
6th. digit on VIN is a "1" (1971).
Green letters label the A/T shift quadrant.
Fiber optic system is removed.
Horsepower dropped from engine ID plate.
Only year for LT-1 A/C
Front parking lights lens changed to amber.
Chromed egg crate front grill.
Lap seat belt retractor has alarm buzzer.
Console fan control and trim plate show "OFF" (left side) instead of "FAN".
White letters label the A/T shift quadrant & fan switch/rotary dial.
Review mirrors are black grained vinyl backed (not S/S).
Body colored urethane front bumper replaces chrome.
Side louvers are replaced with a single slot, indented opening.
Rear window no longer removable (coupe) & storage tray is deleted.
New domed hood with rear cold air induction eliminates the wiper door.
Undercoating sprayed on inner panels.
Radial tires (first year)
Body colored urethane rear split (2 piece) bumper replaces chrome.
Shoulder belts integrated with lap belts.
Alarm system relocated from rear to D/S fender.
The rear rubber bumper is now one piece.
The front bumper no longer has a straight line on each side of the V.
Fake rubber pads appear on both bumpers as bumper guards (first year).
Catalytic converters, and unleaded fuel only (first year).
Lights ON warning buzzer (first year).
Bladder type fuel tank (first year).
First year in Corvette history that only coupe is offered.
A new one-piece Corvette emblem is on the rear bumper instead of Corvette letters.
The rear deck vents are gone.
"Vega" padded steering wheel added.
The cowl induction hood is replaced with a standard hood.
In-glass rear window defogger (first year).
New four spoke steering wheel.
Stingray script on the fenders deleted.
Crossflags are added during production.
The new crossed flags emblem is used on the fenders, front-end and fuel filler door.
Exterior luggage rack optional (first year).
Leather seats standard (first year).
Engine color changes from orange to blue.
Thinner, blacked out windshield pilars.
Voltmeter replaes ampmeter.
Smart switch headlight dimmer and W/W controls.
A/T levers add pointer and black leather boot.
Leather wrapped steering wheel.
Black satin replaces wood trim door panel inserts.
Embossed stitch pattern on I/P and door trim eliminated.
New swivel padded sunvisors.
New vinyl coat hook on P/S roof pillar.
AM/FM with 8 track available.
Cruise control option (A/T).
Door Ajar and Headlights Up, eliminated.
The center dash and console changed, accepting a standard Delco radio & heater-A/C controls (first time).
Body change to new fastback style.
25th Anniversary emblems on the gas tank lid and the side fenders.
Silver Anniversasry two-tone paint scheme (Silver over Gray).
Indy 500 Pace Car special two-tone paint (Black over Gray) with special VIN.
Locking glove box added (first since '67).
24 gallon fuel cell replaces 17 gal. tank.
Tinted glass roof panel with integrated alarm system, option.
Speedo/tach redesigned into a square design.
Rear hatch roll shade added.
W/W controls moved back to I/P.
AM/FM with Cb optional.
New cut and sew door trim.
Silver Anniversary Emblem:
A new elongated Cross Flag emblem is used.
Seat hinge higher on the back, and provide a lumbar support (like Pace Car).
Front and rear spoiler options available on the 1979 Corvette.
Tungsten-halogen high beam headlights standard.
AM/PM cassette available (first time).
P/S illuminated visor mirror optional (first time).
New front and rear bumpers incorporate spoilers into their design.
New lower profile hood.
Aluminum differential housing replaced steel.
A/C standard (first year).
New Cross Flag emblems.
Side grills filled the old side vents in the front fenders.
Speedometers read to a maximum of 85 mph.
Two storage areas behind seats (vs. three).
Two tone paint scheme is available for the first time since 1961 (Bowling Green cars).
Fiberglass-reinforced composite monoleaf rear springs is introduced (A/T).
Power drivers seat (6-way) available.
IGN interrupt added to anti-theft system.
New enamel base with clear topcoats.
Color keyed H/L and W/W switch bezels match interior.
Delco Electronically Controlled Radio (ETR).
Quartz clock standard.
Collector's Edition rear window becomes an opening hatch.
CE distinctive two tone matching paint/interior scheme (silver-beige metallic).
Cross Fire Injection emblem on the fenders.
All are automatics.
Electric fuel pump in gas tank (first year).
Hood includes solenoid operated doors.
Charcoal filter element replaces paper.
Cloisonne' emblems on hood, rear deck, and steering wheel.
Bronze tint solar screened glass T-tops.