1981 Chevrolet CorvetteClose
The big news for 1981 was a venue change, as Corvette assembly moved from St. Louis MO to Bowling Green KY. The original St. Louis plant was designed for 10,000 cars a year and Corvette production had been over 40,000 / year since 1976. The new Bowling Green plant would also feature more modern production capabilities. The last St. Louis Corvettes were built on July 31, 1981 and on June 1, 1981 Bowling Green production started so for a couple of months Corvettes were built in two different places simultaneously.
1981 Corvette - Last St. Louis MO ProductionClose
Above: the last Corvette (manual transmission) manufactured at the St. Louis MO plant and (Below) the first Corvette (automatic transmission) to be manufactured at the Bowling Green KY facility. Hard core Corvette fans might read something in the transmission choices made; feel free to voice your opinion.
1981 Corvette - First Bowling Green KY ProductionClose
1981 Chevrolet Corvette L81 EngineClose
Engine bays had been getting crowded for some time as a myriad of plumbing and assorted paraphernalia was added to meet anti-pollution requirements. For the first time since 1954, there was only one engine available. Automatic and four speed manual transmissions were possible and the price was the same for either. A "computer command control" which in 1980 had been part of California bound Corvettes was installed in all Corvettes. The system controlled ignition timing and air-fuel mixture, a necessity for tailpipe emissions compliance. The 350 cu. in. 190 hp L81 was, along with both the automatic and four speed manual transmissions, legal in all 50 states.
1981 Chevrolet Corvette GM PhotoClose