1978 Chevrolet Corvette – Fastback?

Whats A Fastback?

1978 Chevrolet Corvette Silver Anniversary Edition

We are talking about the very famous 25th Anniversary Corvette, the first Anniversary Edition Corvette every made! Yes, it had to be special to earn this honor. And who was going to be spearheading this new design? The original design dream team had long been gone. Harley Earl was gone, Ed Cole was gone, Duntov left General Motors in 1975 and Bill Mitchell in 1977. What was to become of this very special Anniversary Edition Corvette?

Fortunately the motor was running, the design tools were still hot and the creativity that was launched from the past was able to be brought forward. Duntov had designed a prototype of this new Corvette back in 1973 utilizing the hatchback design he created based on 1968 Corvette. While the 1977 Corvette was becoming the highest sales year for the Corvette, selling over 49,200 units, the car known for its power and muscle had been gauged at, loosing power to the pressure of the mid 70’s economy. All of this came along with higher prices too! The Corvette had doubled in price since 1967.

 

High Demand1978 Chevrolet Corvette - Rear View

Still the demand was high and the Corvette enthusiasts were still hot on the trail of getting a collector’s piece, even if it meant paying nearly double the price for this new 1978 Silver Anniversary Edition Corvette. When this new Corvette hit the press in October of 1977, it had been described as a very handsome face lift. The flatback of the Corvette was gone and the public would see the return of the fastback! No luggage rack on this new design!!

This new open interior feel was a high demand item for Corvette owners. Opening up the roof behind the seats and storage area, gave the new interior a much roomier feel while driving this new look. And even though the hatch like window would not be functional until 1982, it still gave the Corvette owner plenty of new space for storage on that longer cruise. GM was even able to enlarge the gas tank to 24 gallons for this year’s new model, an option that had not been seen since the C2 days.

A Hollywood Hit

C3 Corvette - Jack Nicholson Driving on the Beach

The new bubble-like window in the rear even made it to Hollywood as it made a splash in the hit move, “Terms of Endearment”! With Jack Nicholson at the wheel, or maybe not, the Corvette zipped down the beach with Shirley MacLaine screaming in the passenger seat while Jack sat just above the rounded window steering the car with his foot. With one quick turn, the car swarved into the waves of the ocean and Jack popped off the top of the Corvette into the water! A classic movie scene!

Not since 1961 had the Corvette seen a two-tone paint scheme and this made the 1978 a huge hit! Chevrolet began showing off this new look as well as the long, sleek body style and even with that, sales were down to 40,274 units. There were options available like the two-tone paint for $399, a all aluminum wheel design for $340, and the 60 series Goodyear tires at $218. This new look also came with some extra weight, at 3,572 pounds, this was the heaviest Corvette ever offered to date. An L82 performance option was offered and this bumped up the horsepower by 10 to 220 hp all due to a new aluminum manifold and cold-air-induction system.

With all these extras, it was expected that sales would increase for 1978. The uniqueness of the first special edition Indianapolis 500 Pace Car would surely catch the public’s eye. Some say the economy slowed sales, some say it was the new bubble-like window in the rear that folks were just not use to seeing yet. Even still 1978 saw the second highest units sold only next to the 1977 year model. This would all change when, with only slight changes and a $869 price hike, the 1979 would break yet another model year record for sales, jumping up over the 50,000 mark to a new record high of 53,807.

1978 Chevrolet Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car

Still all in all, the 1978 remains one of the most unique years for the Corvette with its long nose and it spacious rounded rear window. It is a much sought after model year for the Corvette with still an unknown amount of these beauties stored away only to be awakened later for a future prize! This is the type of collectible Corvette Dreamers want to own!

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  1. […] Corvette’s overall look, although the fastback design the company introduced in their 1978 model remained. Mechanically, the engineers at Chevy improved the 1979’s horsepower, shock […]

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