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Corvette ’68 is where it all became different. For the Corvette, 1968 was a year of significant new design revisions. The body of the 1968 Vette was completely redesigned, giving it an almost convertible feel thanks to retractable T-tops and a removable rear window.
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Corvettes had not only risen to fame in the sports car industry but had also been a precursor of some thrilling and practical vehicle innovations over their 15-year existence. The Stingray’s mechanics were enhanced and honed in 1968, and the year was an inspirational one in terms of design. This Corvette had a unique feature: detachable panels above the pilot and navigator that could be removed for open-air driving. An almost vertical glass back window tucks into a baggage compartment out of the way. The result is a flow-through roof, which has never been seen before on a US sports vehicle. As is customary for continental GTs, a long, low profile with a harsh design comes up the rear. The rear spoiler is part of the aerodynamic design. Wraparound front and back bumpers, as well as line-smoothing hidden elements, contribute to the Corvette’s trim appearance. When the lights are switched on, vacuum-operated headlights slide open automatically. Windshield wipers are disguised behind a power-operated panel that turns on or off when the wipers are switched on or off, ensuring that they aren’t in use when they shouldn’t be. Wheel trim rings and center caps protect enormous 7-inch-wide wheels below the beltline. The brilliant metal body sill between the wheels gets a special tuck-in treatment. From the sidelines, the Corvette is enhanced with front and rear marker lights.
The Corvette Convertible takes the fundamental stingray concept and converts it into top-down driving for two people. The drivers of 1968 Corvettes had three choices for putting the top on their cars. Choose between a soft top (in black, white, or beige) or a detachable hardtop (in black, white, or beige) as a standard option, or purchase both. The glass on the 1968 Corvette Convertible tells a tremendous narrative. A rustless fiberglass body, like the Coupe and all prior Corvettes since 1953, is standard. For the first time, the Convertible’s retractable hardtop incorporates a glass back window, which improves sight as well as looks. Both the Coupe and the Convertible come standard with a 300-hp Turbo-Fire 327 V8 and a completely synchronized 3-speed transmission. There are four more engines available, and the 427 V8 has a unique high-domed hood. There are also 4-speed, close-ratio 4-speed, and Turbo Hydra-Matic transmissions, which first appeared in the Corvette power squad lineup in 1968. The innovative Astro Ventilation system with vent apertures in the driver and passenger sides of the instrument panel allows air to flow through Corvette even when the doors are fully closed for comfort.
The 1968 Corvette cockpit was constructed specifically for the traveling couple. High-backed buckets with thin tapering and curved sides are quite comfortable. The basic upholstery is plush all-vinyl, with real leather available as an option. Seat belt buckle straps—twin sets with push-button buckles—are also stored under the console. The option to buy AM/FM radio with or without FM Stereo multiplex was offered. Seat belt reminder lights and door ajar flashers were included as new features. A new ignition alarm system was also created to warn you to take the key when you leave the automobile.
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Frame, chassis, and power team members provide the enthusiast with accurate handling of a smooth-but-vigorous road vehicle.
For greater stiffness and strength, a network of steel is interwoven with body panels. Rather thanusing riveted bonding strips, the fiberglass body pieces are glued directly to the steel frame. Increased supports and support reinforcements offer the Sting Ray Coupe and Convertible bodywork more strength.
Full-length ladder-style frame with five cross members, all-welded. Box section for side rails and intermediate cross members; box girder section for front cross member. There are eight body mounting points and two radiator mounting points.
Independent coil springs and concentric shock absorbers are used in the front suspension. Each wheel has spherically joined steering knuckles. Stamped steel control arms with pivots that have pre-loaded steel-encased rubber bushings. Hydraulic shock absorbers have a piston diameter of 1 inch. Steel link stabilizer bar with rubber bushings. The angle of the front upper control arm is used to produce anti-dive control. With a frame-anchored differential, the rear suspension is entirely independent. Three connections determine the location of each wheel: a universal jointed axle shaft, a nearby strut, and a torque control arm pivoting at the frame side rail. Shock absorbers and a transversely positioned nine-leaf spring accept vertical suspension stresses.
The steering damper is located between the frame and the relay rod, which is positioned on the tie rod. The dual-mounted steering arm tie rod connection allows for the selection of a street or fast ratio. From curb to curb, the turning circle is 39.9 feet. With street steering, the number of turns locks to lock is 3.4, and the number of turns quickly is 2.92. The parallelogram linkage is assisted by a hydraulic cylinder operated by a pump. With power steering, the number of turns locks to lock is 2.92.
Cast iron alloy cylinder blocks were utilized in all Corvette engines. Each cylinder is surrounded by full-length water jackets for maximum cooling. The cylinder heads are made of a cast iron alloy with high chromium content. Total combustion chamber volumes are: 300 hp-4.69 cu in; 350 hp-4.17 cu in; 390 and 400 hp 5.90 cu in; and 435 hp 4.92-cu in. On 300- and 350-hp engines, the inlet manifold is made of cast iron alloy. The intake manifold is made of cast aluminum alloy and can handle 390, 400, and 435 horsepower. All engines have cast iron alloy exhaust manifolds. All engines have a tough alloy steel crankshaft with five main bearings. 327-1.625; 427-1.8; 327-1.625; 427-1.8; 327-1.625; 427-1.8; 327-1.625; All cranks have six counterweights. Inertia torsional damper with rubber mount. Timing gear is made of steel sprockets and chains. All engines use a cast iron alloy camshaft with five steel-backed Babbitt bearings. Each engine’s valve system contains stamped overhead rocker arms that are independently attached. Hydraulic lifters actuate push rods (except the 435-hp which has solid lifters). Steel alloy intake valves are used. Steel alloy exhaust valves are used. All 427 engines have head diameters of 300 horsepower (1.495-1.505), 350 horsepower (1.595-1.605), and 1.715-1.725 horsepower (1.715-1.725). The 300, 350, and 390 horsepower engines employ Rochester 4-barrel downdraft carburetors, while the 400 and 435 horsepower engines use a Holley triple 2-barrel downdraft system. In 1968, all Corvette engines were equipped with an Air Injection Reactor to regulate exhaust emissions.
The wheelbase is 98.0 inches, the overall width is 69.2 inches, and the overall length is 182.1′′. The front tread is 58.3 inches, while the back tread measures 59.0 inches. Overall height (loaded): Coupe 47.8′′, Convertible 47.9′′. Coupe: 3210 lbs., Convertible: 3220 lbs.
A 20-gallon plastic gasoline tank is used for the first time in a Corvette. It weighs less than a traditional tank and is resistant to rust and corrosion.