1968 CHEVY CORVETTE KICKS OFF 3rd-GENERATION
The 3rd-generation of Corvette, or C3 kicked off with the ’68 model year. It had a totally new look, patterned after the Mako Shark II concept car that had been working the car show circuit. The fastback of the C2 was replaced with a tunnel-roof hardtop with a recessed backlight and a short, flat rear deck. While the new body was like a shocking look into the future, most of the mechanicals underneath were carried over from the previous generation. But, they surely did something right, because the C3 lasted longer than any other generation of Corvette. The 3rd-generation started with the ’68 and ended with the ’82 model year. That’s 15 model years, and impossibly long model cycle by today’s standards. But Chevy managed to keep it current, even through the dark years of the 70s.
1968 Chevy Corvette CONVERTIBLE
CHANGES TO THE 1968 CHEVY CORVETTE
The 327 was replaced during the 1968 model year by the 350 as the base engine, although horsepower figures remained the same at 300hp. The windshield wipers were now hidden beneath the rear edge of the hood. The hideaway headlights were back, but now were vacuum operated instead of electrically as in the C2. This was also the first year for removable T-Tops, all Coupes had them, along with a removable rear window. The new 3-speed Turbo Hydramatic auto trans replaced the ancient 2-speed Powerglide autobox. Wheels were 1-inch wider than in 1967, and the rear roll center was dropped for better handling. The interior was completely redone for the 1968 model year. The dash took on a totally new shape, with a few classic Corvette design cues.
1968 Chevy Corvette COUPE
1968 Chevy Corvette INTERIORS
1968 Chevy Corvette ENGINES
1968 CHEVY CORVETTE ENGINES
While many early ‘68s came with 327 V8s in various forms, the change over to the 350 came late in the year. Until then, the base engine was the 300hp 327 with 10.0:1 compression. Next up was the L79 350hp 327 with 11.0:1 compression. Then it jumped up to the big blocks. The L36 390hp 427 had 10.25:1 compression and a single 4-barrel. Next were a pair of Tri-Power 427s, the L68 with 10.25:1 compression making 400hp, and the L71 with 11.0:1 and 435hp. This was the top-rated engine in the lineup, if you believed the manufacturer’s claims. The L88 was a high-strung 427 with 12.5:1 compression that Chevy said made only 430hp. Whether to get it by GM brass or the insurance lobby, it actually made something more like 560hp and was so full-race that it was barely drivable on the street. It was also an expensive option at $948 and few were built.