1969 Corvette

As they usually are the year after a major model introduction, changes for the 1969 Corvette were minor, made mostly to remedy problems noted by owners and the motoring media. For starters, the steering-wheel diameter was trimmed an inch for more under-rim thigh clearance, and Duntov pushed through a $120,000 tooling change for the inner door panels to open up a half-inch per side in extra shoulder width. Interior door handles and control knobs were redesigned for safety's sake. The previous dash-mounted ignition switch moved to the steering column, where it combined with the newly mandated column lock for additional security. A warning light was added to advise the driver that the pop-up headlights hadn't popped up completely. Attempts were also made to increase Astro Ventilation flow volume, but the system was still judged to be inadequate. Finally, a flexible dash-mounted three-section map pocket was included to help make up for the lack of a proper glovebox.

Besides many detail improvements for the 1969 Corvette, the Shark became a Stingray.
Besides many detail improvements for the 1969 Corvette, the Shark became a
Stingray, gaining fender namescript with the same one-word spelling
Bill Mitchell had used for his 1959-1960 race car.

Exterior alterations were likewise minimal; the most obvious was the return of the Stingray designation (now spelled as one word) in script over the front-fender louvers. Another change involved the door handles. New single-lever door-handles replaced the conventional chrome handgrips with thumb-operated pushbuttons. A new headlight washer system was added, and windshield-washer jets were moved to the wiper arms. The already over-engineered hidden-wiper arrangement became even more complex with the addition of an override switch that allowed the vacuum-operated panel to be left up in freezing weather. At the rear, the previously separate backup lights were incorporated with the inboard taillamps. The frame was stiffened to reduce body shake and standard rim width went up another inch -- to eight -- for improved handling.

The 1969 Corvette featured hidden windshield wipers beneath a power pop-up cowl panel.
The 1969 Corvette featured hidden windshield wipers
beneath a power pop-up cowl panel.

Engine alterations, on the other hand, were more obvious, seeing as how carmakers were in the second year of federally mandated -- and still relatively straightforward -- emission controls. The famed Chevy small-block was stroked about a quarter-inch to 3.48 inches, which boosted displacement from 327 to 350 cubic inches on the same 4.00-inch bore. Corvette offered 300- and 350-bhp versions, the same ratings as their 1968 equivalents but with compression dropped a quarter point in each case -- to 10.25:1 and 11.0:1, respectively. Significantly, peak power engine speed was also lower by 200 rpm, to 4,800 and 5,600 rpm, respectively.

The big-block 427s returned unchanged, with ratings of 390 to 435 horsepower. The special aluminum-head L88 -- still rated at a modest 430 bhp -- remained among them, though its towering $1,032 price attracted just 116 buyers.

Two new performance options were announced for 1969: One was extremely rare -- with only two installed -- the other was ostensibly available but put back a year. The former was RPO ZL1, which was essentially the mighty big-block L88 with all-aluminum construction plus numerous other modifications including dry-sump lubrication. Devised for the British-built McLarens that would dominate the SCCA's Canadian-American Challenge Cup series, this engine had the same compression and carburetion as the L88 but weighed 100 pounds less. It also carried the same 430-bhp rating, but that was a joke; over-the-counter racing versions were reportedly good for 585 bhp. It lurked beneath a special domed hood shared with the L88 (RPO ZL2) incorporating an air intake at the high-pressure area near the base of the windshield.

Of course, Duntov hadn't dismissed the potential of small-block power. Listed for 1969 but not available until 1970 (owing to development and manufacturing problems) was a special solid-lifter version of the new 350. Coded LT1, it was right in line with Duntov's longtime goal of minimizing weight in a performance car growing heavier with every newly added creature comfort. Unlike tamer small blocks, the LT1 had more radical cam timing with more generous valve overlap, used the big-block engines' hefty 2.5-inch-diameter exhaust system, breathed through the same 850-cfm Holley carb fitted to the L88/ZL1, and came with transistorized ignition. The result was 370 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 380 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. It was offered only with a four-speed manual transmission, and a Corvette so equipped typically streaked through the standing quarter-mile in 14.2 seconds at 102 mph. Visual identification was subtle -- just the special domed hood with perimeter striping and discreet "LT1" lettering -- but there was no mistaking the rap-rap exhaust or the distinct tapping of those mechanical lifters.

Despite continued criticism from the enthusiast press for its dismal build quality, styling eccentricities, and overall lack of finesse, Corvette sales took a vertical leap for '69, rising by more than 10,000 units to 38,762 -- a record that wouldn't be broken until 1976.

Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

1968 Corvette
1969 Corvette
1970 Corvette
1971 Corvette
1972 Corvette
1973 Corvette
1974 Corvette
1975 Corvette
1976 Corvette
1977 Corvette
1978 Corvette
1979 Corvette
1980 Corvette
1981 Corvette
1982 Corvette

Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See:

  • Corvettes: Learn about the history behind each model year and see Corvette photographs.
  • Corvette Specifications: Get key specifications, engine and transmission types, prices, and production totals.
  • Corvette Museum: The National Corvette Museum draws Corvette lovers from all over the world. Learn more about the museum.
  • Corvette Pictures: Find pictures of the hottest classic and current-year Corvettes.
  • Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
  • Consumer Guide Corvette Reviews: Considering a Corvette purchase? See what Consumer Guide has to say.

1969 Corvette Specifications

The 1969 Corvette was again a Stingray -- spelled as one word on the front fenders. For this model year, the designers worked hard to address complaints from the previous year, to give a smoother and more pleasant ride. Here are the specifications for the 1969 Corvette:

For the 1969 Corvette, the base small-block V-8 went to 350 cubic inches and 300 or 350 bhp.
For the 1969 Corvette, the base small-block V-8 went to 350 cubic inches
and 300 or 350 bhp. Among big-block options was a mighty new L88
version with aluminum block and a nominal 430 bhp.

Vehicle Specifications
Convertible
Coupe
Wheelbase, inches
98.0
98.0
Length, inches
182.5
182.5
Width, inches
69.0
69.0
Track, inches
front: 58.7 rear: 59.4
front: 58.7 rear: 59.4
Height, inches
47.9
47.9
Curb weight, pounds
3,425
3,260

Mechanical Specifications (2-door convertible/coupe)

Suspension
front: Independent; upper and lower A-arms, coil springs, tubular hydraulic shock absorbers,
antiroll bar
rear: Independent, lateral leaf springs, struts, U-joint halfshafts, trailing arms, tubular hydraulic shock absorbers

Wheels/Tires
8x15

Brakes
front: 11.75-inch disc
rear: 11.75-inch disc

Transmission
3-speed manual (std)
4-speed manual (opt)
3-speed Hydra-Matic (opt)

Standard axle ratio
3.36:1

Engine Specifications

Typeohv V-8
ohv V-8
ohv V-8
ohv V-8
ohv V-8
Displacement, liters/cu inch
5.7/350
5.7/350
7.0/427
7.0/427
7.0/427
Bore × stroke, inches
4.00 x 3.48 4.00 x 3.48 4.25 x 3.76 4.25 x 3.76 4.25 x 3.76
Fuel Management
1 x 4-bbl.
1 x 4-bbl. 3 x 2-bbl. 3 x 2-bbl. 1 x 4-bbl.
Horsepower @ rpm
300 @ 4,800 350 @ 5,600 400 @ 5,400 435 @ 5,800 430 @ 5,200
Torque @ rpm, pound-foot
380 @ 3,200 380 @ 3,600 460 @ 3,600 460 @ 4,000 450 @ 4,400

Published Performance Numbers

Acceleration
300 hp, 3-sp automatic
0-60 mph, sec
8.4
0-100 mph, sec
21.7
1/4-mile, sec @ mph
NA

Vehicle Production and Base Prices

Car Type
Production
Price
2-door convertible
16,633
$4,438.00
2-door coupe
22,1294,781.00

Options and Production

Option
Production
Price
Leather Seats
3,729
$79.00
Soft Ray Tinted Glass, all
31,270
16.90
Power Windows 9,816
63.20
Headrests
38,762
17.95
Custom Shoulder Belts (std w/coupe)
600

42.15

Auxiliary Hardtop
7,878
252.80
Vinyl Covering
3,266
57.95
Rear Window Defroster
2,485
32.65
Air Conditioning
11,859
428.70
Special Front and Rear Suspension
1,661
36.90
Positraction Rear Axle, all ratios
36,965
46.35
Power Brakes
16,876
42.15
Special Heavy Duty Brakes
115
384.45
Engine Block Heater
824
10.55
Transistor Ignition System
5,702
81.10
390 hp Engine
10,531
221.20
350 hp Engine12,846
131.65
400 hp Engine
2,072
326.55
435 hp Engine
2,722
437.10
430 hp Engine
116
1,032.15
Aluminum Cylinder Heads with L71
390
832.05
4-speed Manual Transmission 16,507
184.80
4-speed Manual Transmission, close ratio
13,741
184.80
4-speed Manual Transmission, close ratio, heavy duty
101
290.40
Turbo Hydra-Matic Automatic Transmission
8,161
221.80
Side Mount Exhaust System
4,355
147.45
Tilt-Telescopic Steering Column
10,325
84.30
Power Steering
22,866
105.35
Deluxe Wheel Covers
8,073
57.95
Red Stripe Tires, F70 x 15 nylon
5,210
31.30
White Stripe Tires, F70 x 15 nylon
21,379
31.30
White Letter Tires, F70 x 15 nylon2,398
33.15
Front Fender Louver Trim
11,962
21.10
Alarm System
12,436
26.35
Speed Warning Indicator
3,561
11.60
AM/FM Radio33,871
172.75
AM/FM Radio, stereo
4,114
278.10
Special L88 (aluminum block)
2
4,718.35

Color Choices (Production numbers not available)

Color Choice
Color Choice
Color Choice
Tuxedo BlackCan-Am White
Monza Red
LeMans Blue
Riverside Gold
Fathom Green
Daytona Yellow
Cortez Silver
Burgundy
Monaco Orange


Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

1968 Corvette
1969 Corvette1970 Corvette
1971 Corvette
1972 Corvette
1973 Corvette
1974 Corvette
1975 Corvette
1976 Corvette
1977 Corvette
1978 Corvette
1979 Corvette
1980 Corvette
1981 Corvette
1982 Corvette

Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See:

  • Corvettes: Learn about the history behind each model year and see Corvette photographs.
  • Corvette Specifications: Get key specifications, engine and transmission types, prices, and production totals.
  • Corvette Museum: The National Corvette Museum draws Corvette lovers from all over the world. Learn more about the museum.
  • Corvette Pictures: Find pictures of the hottest classic and current-year Corvettes.
  • Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
  • Consumer Guide Corvette Reviews: Considering a Corvette purchase? See what Consumer Guide has to say.