History of the 1973 Chevrolet Corvette
As the door slammed on the muscle car era, new regulations for 5-mph front bumpers led to a color-keyed urethane front end treatment for the 1973 Chevrolet Corvette, replacing the chrome bumper. It added only 35 pounds, and tail stayed the same as 1972 for another year.
Corvette production increased to 30,464, but only 4,943 were convertibles, and 1,328 buyers chose the auxiliary hardtop for $267. The coupe rear window was also no longer removable. Prices increased slightly to $5,561.50 for the base coupe and $5,398.50 for the convertible.
As horsepower dwindled to 190 bhp for the base model, Chevrolet concentrated on sound deadening material to cut interior noise a claimed 40 percent. Rubber pads were fitted between the body and chassis. Steel beams were installed in the doors as crash protection. A cold-air induction hood was introduced and radial tires were now standard.
Chevrolet introduced new mag wheels, but just like the original knock-offs in 1963, they were withdrawn for porosity problems and would not reappear until 1976. While 800 sets were made, only four sets were reported actually sold, and some reports also cited strength concerns.
The solid-lifter LT1 engine was no longer available, and engine options were limited to the base 350 cid 190 bhp V-8, the 250 bhp 350 cid L82, or the 275 bhp 454 cid LS4 producing only 275 bhp. Not surprisingly perhaps, 17,927 buyers opted for the 3-speed HydraMatic transmission and only 3,704 chose the close-ratio 4-speed M21 manual gearbox. A further 21,578 buyers selected air-conditioning, with 24,168 choosing power disc brakes and 27,872 choosing power steering.
The Z07 off-road suspension and brake package found only 45 buyers, who also bought the L82 and LS4 engines, power brakes and M21 4-speed.
10 colors were offered again: Orange, Yellow, Metallic Yellow, Mille Miglia Red, Elkhart Green, Blue-green, Medium Blue, Dark Blue, Classic White and Silver. A further 30 cars were painted black at the St. Louis plant.