The Five Highest Production Years In Corvette History
The Highest Production Years in 'Vette History
Wow, That’s A Lot of Corvettes
It seems as if much has been publicized in recent years regarding the rarest of Corvettes, which are steeped in nostalgia due to their scarcity. However, seldom is the story told of particular model years where production has peaked, and sales have flourished. Although these less than rare Corvettes are abundant in number, they carry their own legacy, just the same. During the Corvette’s inaugural year in 1953, only 300 total units were produced. Since that time, production numbers have varied substantially from one model year to the next, eventually peaking at 53,807. What year was this peak reached, and what other model year Corvettes were among those that saw booming sales figures? The following are the 5 most “common” Corvettes, as designated by overall production and sales figures.
1976 C3 Corvette
Production: 46,558 units
The late 1970s was an era during which Corvettes seemed to disappear from dealership lots, as fast as they were delivered. In fact, 4 of the Corvette’s top 5 years off production took place during this period. This upward trend in sales began in 1976 when 46,558 Corvettes were produced in total. More often than not, the 1976 Corvette’s banner sales figures are attributed to the energy crisis that had taken place only a few years prior. By this time, gas-guzzling muscle cars had largely fallen from favor, as fuel-efficient compacts took center stage. With the bulk of manufacturers having nixed their performance vehicle lines, the Corvette was one of the only remaining production vehicles in which thrill seekers could get their fix.
1978 C3 Corvette
Production: 46,776 units
Though down slightly in sales from the year prior, the Corvette had a phenomenal showing during 1978. A total of 46,776 units were sold, as the popularity of performance-based vehicles once again surged. This would prove to be the third consecutive year during which production numbers exceeded 40,000 total units. Ironically, 6,502 of the Corvettes sold during the 1978 production year were limited edition Pace Car models, which retailed for over $4,000 more than the year’s base model offering. In many regards, consumers began to associate these Pace Cars with collectibility, which ultimately drove demand.
1977 C3 Corvette
By 1977, the Corvette’s third generation was beginning to grow somewhat dated in the eyes of consumers and GM engineering/design staff alike. However, throughout the Corvette’s decade long tenure in its current form, sales continued to flourish. A total of 49,213 Corvettes were sold during the 1977 model year, which set an official sales record at the time. It is also worth noting that Corvette production during this era appeared to run in parallel with rising sales costs. In 1974, the Corvette’s sticker price exceeded the $6,000 threshold for the first time. By 1977, this number had ballooned to $8,647.65, which was a $1,000 increase over that of the prior year model.
1984 C4 Corvette
By 1984, Corvette enthusiasts had been awaiting the arrival of the iconic American sports car’s fourth generation for quite some time. For this reason, it is of little surprise that total sales numbers for the year exceeded 50,000 units for only the second time in Corvette history. In total, 51,547 units were sold in 1984. Aside from significant interest on the behalf of curious buyers, much of the 1984 Corvette’s significant sales figures can be attributed to the absence of any production Corvette for the 1983 model year. This led to an extended sales period, during which over 50,000 consumers signed on the dotted line.
1979 C3 Corvette
Despite surging fuel costs and ever-increasing sticker prices, 1979 would go down in history as the single most significant year of Corvette production, in the terms of total units sold. 1979 would also be the first year during which Corvette sales would exceed 50,000 total units, a feat that has only happened on one other occasion since. The 1979 Corvette also holds the distinction of being the first year model to exceed a base sales price of $10,000. Despite its notable increase in sticker price, the 1979 base model Corvettes only managed to muster 195 bhp, as performance output during this era remained subdued on the heels of increasingly stringent emissions mandates.