The horsepower rating of the standard Corvette engine was 165 hp. This isn't much more than the 155 hp of the 1954 Corvette - but that was a six cylinder motor!
Smog regulations were to blame and the future looked very bleak. The news hit all car enthusiasts hard and many of them wondered what, given the present, would the future would be like? And the horsepower figures did not tell the whole story. Fuel system engineers struggled mightily to satisfy tailpipe emissions regulations and were forced to engage in all sorts of trickery and undesirable practices to make their cars legal. The result was poor drivability, reliability problems and severely reduced fuel economy with lousy performance to rub salt in the wounds.
Since the rules were the same for all manufacturers, the story was the same everywhere. Many gave up on performance completely. Those that did not usually had results inferior to what the Corvette could offer. Chevrolet had not lost its allegiance to its enthusiast customer base and long standing Corvette qualities - high performance at a moderate price - were still available. The customers responded with sales volumes that kept increasing during this very rough period for performance cars.
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Also coming to an end, albeit temporarily, was convertible production. 4,629 were produced for 1975 and word was that there would be no more. A declining interest in open cars due to safety concerns along with a prediction that they would essentially be outlawed was to blame. Many 1975 convertibles were bought with the expectation that their rarity would make them highly valuable in the future, which did not happen. The regulations banning convertibles never materialized and a ragtop Corvette returned to the scene in 1986 and has been an essential part of the Corvette experience since.
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