“People have the idea you can tell what cars of the future will be like by looking at Chevrolet’s Corvette. They’re right.” 1970 Corvette sales brochure
- The 427 CID V8s were replaced by 454 CID engines.
- The four-speed manual transmission was made standard, eliminating the former three-speed option.
- A new cross hatch pattern was used for the side bents on each front Fender.
The 1970 Corvettes weren’t drastically different from the 1969 models, but there were quite a few distinguishing factors worth mentioning, including the new engine lineup.
There was only one 454 engine used in the 1970 Corvettes, which was a 390-horsepower 4-barrel version of the engine. There was also technically an LS7 version of the 454 that was officially rated at 460 horsepower. However, the $3,000 more than the base price this option carried was so great that no record has been found that any were ever built.
On the small-block side of things, the 350 CID V8 that had been introduced the previous year got an additional option that greatly helped out its power. While the standard Corvettes still came with a 300-horsepower version of the engine, the LT1 bumped that horsepower up to 370.
And even though the maximum available horsepower for Corvettes was disappointing, the next few years would prove even worse for the performance of the car. The government had been consistently introduced new emissions and safety regulations since 1968, and things would really get tight by the following year. After 1970, it would be quite a while before Corvette got its power back.
The most notable exterior styling distinction between the 1969 and 1970 models were the cross hatch side vents. These matched well with the egg crate grille that had been used for a couple of years at that point. Other changes included smaller, round front parking brakes and rectangular dual exhaust outlets that had previously been round.
The inside also stayed nearly exactly the same, though the seats were reshaped for better back support, and a little more headroom was added. There was a custom trim package offered for the first time that added, among other things, fake wood trim throughout the interior.
After two years of record sales, production plummeted in 1970. Less than half the number of Corvettes produced in 1969 were built in 1970; 17,316 Corvettes came off the production line during the production year. Corvette production hadn’t been that low since 1962. Fortunately, sales would begin to rebound the following year, and by the late 1970s, Corvette production would be at an all-time high.
1970 Corvette Coupe
After years of being the second-best selling Corvette behind the convertible model, this year marked the third year in a row that more Corvette coupes were sold than convertibles. Even still, production was down 51.85 percent, and 10,668 coupes were produced. It probably didn’t help that the base price for the car topped $5,000 for the first time ever.
1970 Corvette Convertible
Convertible production was down even more – nearly 60 percent to 6,648. Though it was still the less expensive of the two, it’s price rose more from the previous year than the coupe, now up to $4,849 for a base model.
Comparison to the 1969 and 1971 Corvette Models
Visually, there was very little difference between the 1969 and 1970 models, and this trend would continue into the following year, as well. But another trend was also taking effect that saw Corvette power being reduced every year, and this also would continue into the following year.
Mostly due to new emissions regulations, the Corvette power would essentially be neutered in the upcoming years. Power on the 1971 models wouldn’t be horrible, but the worst was yet to come.
|Base||350ci||1x4bbl||300 hp @ 4800 rpm||380 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm|
|L71||427ci||3x2bbl||435 hp @ 5800 rpm||460 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm|
|L89||427ci||1x4bbl||435 hp @ 6400 rpm||460 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm|
|L88||427ci||1x4bbl||430 hp @ 6400 rpm||460 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm|
|ZL1||427ci||1x4bbl||430 hp @ 5200 rpm||450 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm|
|L68||427ci||3x2bbl||400 hp @ 5400 rpm||460 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm|
|L36||427ci||1x4bbl||390 hp @ 5400 rpm||460 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm|
|0 to 60 mph||Quarter Mile||Engine||Source|
|n/a||13.6 sec @ 111.1 mph||427ci/430hp||Hot Rod|
|n/a||10.9 sec @ 130.0 mph||427ci/460hp||Motor Trend|
|6.6 sec||14.6 sec @ 98.6 mph||427ci/435hp||Car Life|