1960s CHevrolet Corvette Radiator

1960 Chevrolet Corvette Aluminum Radiator

1960s Chevy Corvette

The 1968 Corvette would prove to be nearly as controversial as the times themselves. The so-called "Shark" generation was a very different sort of sports car than its predecessors -- what was a dual-purpose race-and-ride machine had evolved into more of a plush and powerful boulevard cruiser.

Critics would blast the initial C3 offering for its excessive styling, increased bulk, and carryover platform -- it certainly was not the substantial leap forward Corvette fans had hoped for.

The third-generation Corvette suffered from development problems and introduction was postponed from 1967 to 1968. It was probably just as well. Although the government's first safety and emissions standards took effect nationwide with the '68 model year, Chevy would doubtless have seen to it that the engineering of an all-new 1967 model reflected the new standards. As it was, the delay took some of the pressure off of harried engineers.

As was the case with the first Sting Ray, powertrains for the new 1968 model were largely retained from the previous generation. The one significant exception was substitution of GM's new three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission for the old two-speed Powerglide automatic. Elsewhere, the car's battery was relocated behind the seats to improve weight distribution and to provide added under-hood room. Side vent windows were eliminated in favor of a new fresh-air "Astro Ventilation" system. Shoulder belts, previously an added-cost option, were included at no charge on coupes. Other new features for 1968 accentuated the Corvette's GT leanings, and included an electric rear-window defroster, speed warning indicator, AM/FM stereo radio, and a futuristic fiber-optic light monitoring system.