1972 Corvette LS 5 454Posted on
1972 Corvette LS 5 454
The Chevrolet Corvette (C3) was a sports car that was produced by Chevrolet for the 1968 through 1982 model years. Engines and chassis components were mostly carried over from the previous generation, but the body and interior were new.
The 1972 Corvette was the last year for chrome bumpers at both front and rear, the vacuum actuated pop-up windshield wiper door, as well as the removable rear window common to all 1968-72 coupes.
increasingly popular choice of an automatic transmission was installed in most corvettes for the first time, with nearly 54 percent so equipped. This year SAE net measurement for horsepower was now utilized (away from the previous SAE gross standard), and was largely responsible for the much lower engine output figures such as the 200 hp rating on the standard 350 cu in motor.
This was the final year for the LT-1 engine, rated at 255 hp and the ZR1 racing package built around it. Although the M22 HD 4-speed was no longer a Regular Production Option, it continued to be fitted to cars outfitted with the ZR1 package.
The LT-1 could now be ordered with air conditioning, a combination not permitted the two previous years. The LS5 454 cu in big block was again available and came in at 270 hp.
Noteworthy is in ’72 the LS5 was not available to California buyers. This was the beginning of a trend where Chevrolet restricted certain power train choices to California buyers due to that state's practice of applying more stringent emission (smog) standards than mandated by federal regulations. Convertibles were a vanishing breed by ‘72,and the Stingray was no exception. It sold only 6,508 copies, amounting to 9% of the market, placing it number three; it was beaten by the number one-selling Cutlass Supreme, with 11,571, but beat the Impala's 6,456 and the Mustang's 6,401. Rare options: ZR1 special engine package, shoulder belts with convertibles (749), LT1 engine option (1,741).
Although its arrival was anticipated by consumers and critics alike, there were virtually no physical or mechanical changes made to the 1972 Corvette from the previous year. In fact, the most dramatic “changes” made to the current model year involved items that were no longer available to prospective owners when ordering a new Corvette.
Previously, consumers looking to purchase a Corvette had had the option of including the 454 cubic inch big block LS-6 either on its own or as part of RPO ZR2, but because of incredibly poor sales numbers the previous year (only 188 Corvettes with the LS6 engine and a meager 12 Corvettes equipped with RPO ZR2 were sold), GM felt that the eradication of the engine was a necessity. To that end, only three engines were listed for the Corvette in 1972, which made it the smallest selection since the 1956 model.
All three – the base optional LT-1 small block, and the optional LS-5 big block – were all carry over engines from the 1971 model year, and each of these had more conservative power ratings than their 1971 predecessors.
All of the engines offered in 1972 suffered a loss in power because of the mandatory inclusion of emissions-lowering tuning that year. Furthermore, as was becoming common amongst all automotive manufacturers, GM was now measuring engine outputs in the new SAE “net” measure for the 1972 model year. The choice to use the net numbers instead of the “gross” horsepower measurements was the result of power losses caused by mandatory equipment such as the water pump, alternator, power-steering pump, mufflers, and air cleaner. While the ratings were universally lower, they were also more realistic.
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