The Missing 1983 Corvette

Those familiar with Corvette history are well aware that there was no 1983 Corvette. The industry standard Corvette Black Book certainly shows no entry between the 1982 and 1984 Corvettes.

Imagine my amazement this past Saturday at the National Corvette Museum standing in front of a white 1983 Corvette! This unique Corvette is shown below.

The sign on the exhibit explains: "The planned 1983 Corvette brought forward some of the most far reaching design changes in Corvette's history. Many changes included high-technology that had not been proven for automobile application….Although the technology was available, it had to be developed into the manufacturing process with the quality, reliability, and durability proven before production of saleable vehicles could begin. The initial plan called for introduction of the newly designed 1983 in October 1982. There were 43 pre-production models built (but) a decision was made to withhold production (for sale) until January 1983 and to serialize them as 1984 models. The Corvette was named "Car of the Year" by Motor Trend Magazine in 1984."

So, why were they held off until January? Before production lines began, California voted to make emission controls more stringent than ever, and the 1983 model wasn't prepared to deal with it.

All 43 prototypes were ordered to be destroyed but canny assembly plant personnel hid one vehicle for years, changing the paint scheme, and moving it around until they received a commitment from GM that it wouldn't be destroyed. You can see it today for yourself at the Museum!

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Source: Bill Connell, Corvette Blog

Submitted by Phil Ellison