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Even though the base price of a 1979 C3 Corvette exceeded $10,000, the first time the base price had hit five digits, the year 1979 brought peak production of the Corvette, with the St. Louis factory making 53,607 vehicles. This is a record that has endured.
The 1979 C3 Corvette was notable mainly for some options from previous years becoming standard and for the addition of some new options. Making previous years' options standard and a certain grudging acceptance of notorious 1970s-style inflation no doubt made the price hike for the 1979 C3 Corvette more palatable to the public.
In 1979, high-back bucket seats and AM-FM radios became standard in C3 Corvettes. These cooler-looking seats also dropped 24 pounds from the vehicle's weight. CorvetteMods.com carries a variety of seats and seat covers for the 1979 C3 Corvette.
Tilt telescoping steering columns, air conditioning and power windows all continued to be available. The crossed-flag emblem returned to the 1979 C3's nose and fuel tank door after a brief interruption for the silver anniversary badges in the previous year. Tungsten-halogen high-beam headlights became standard.
Front and rear spoilers and glass roof panels also were adopted from the 1978 silver anniversary pace car. The spoilers helped reduce drag by about 15 percent and boosted fuel efficiency slightly.
New options became available, including a cassette player for $234. The 1979 C3 Vette came standard with a four-speed manual transmission, with the Turbo Hydra-matic 350 automatic transmission as an option. In this case, the option proved a crowd pleaser, with about 80 percent of customers choosing the automatic transmission.
Open flow mufflers helped pump up horsepower a bit in both engines: the base 350 cubic inch L48 V-8 rose to 195 horsepower from 185 horsepower, and the optional 350 cubic inch L82 got a boost from 220 horsepower to 225 horsepower.