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1981 Corvette 
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1981 Corvette Facts and Specifications 

For the Corvette, 1981 was a year of transition. Changes were made not only to the car itself but where it was assembled as well. Since 1954 the Corvette had been built only at Chevrolet's St. Louis assembly plant. The Corvette line there was small and cramped and not capable of handling the 40-50,000 units being cranked out annually since 1976.

With a new generation Corvette planned for 1983 as well as the high demand for the current model, Chevrolet chose to abandon St. Louis for a new assembly plant that would be dedicated solely to the Corvette.

1981 the first Corvette to use a computer on all production models.

The 1981 Corvette had two cooling fans to increase engine power.The regular engine-driven radiator fan was made smaller with fewer blades and less pitch so it consumes less power.Also installed was a Auxillary electric cooling fan.

The 1981 Corvette was visually identical to the previous model, with the exception of minor changes to the emblems. The new Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky opened its doors in June 1981. The old St. Louis plant built its last Corvette on August 1st. Therefore, for about two months, Corvettes were built at both facilities.

For 1981 more weight is saved through the use of tubular stainless steel exhaust maniifolds for all 50 states and a new fiberglass reinforced plastic monoleaf rear spring. An 81 Corvette can weigh in at just a shade over 3300 pounds packing 24 gallons of fuel and a hefty equipment load.

A new kind of rear leaf spring (which was an industry first). This new spring was the latest in the use of fiberglass-reinforced plastic for structural applications being pioneered by Corvette. Being a monoleaf, there is no inter-leaf friction as the spring deflects, eliminating a major source of ride harshness. Perhaps most important, the new spring was 33 pounds lighter than the multileaf steel spring, and yet delivers comparable spring weights with exrended life service.(I highly recommend that if you need to replace your rear spring on your older C3 Corvette that you replace it with the fiberglass Mono Leaf Spring.) You will love the improved ride!

Click here to view the inovative fiberglass-reinforced 1981 Corvette rear fiberglass Monoleaf spring.


The Automatic transmission has a converter clutch wich locks up in second and third gear operation, thus providing a direct drive and improves fuel economy.Clutch lock-up is controlled by the C3 computer.

In 1981, Corvettes were produced with two different types of paint. Lacquer was applied at the St. Louis plant, and enamel was applied at the new Bowling Green plant.

Click here to view the inovative fiberglass-reinforced 1980/81 Corvette front bumper construction which eliminated 31.5 pounds.

1981 Dimentions
Overal Lenghth--185.3"
Overall Width--69.0"
Overall Height--48.1"
Wheel Base--98.0"
Tread-Front--58.7"
Tread-Rear--59.5"
Minimum Running Ground Clearance 3.9" (at catalytic converter)

1981 Tire and Wheels
Standard Tire size--P225/70R15
Type--Steel Belted Radial"
Inflation Pressure (cold) front--35 PSI rear---35 PSI
Revolutions per mile--(45 MPH)--760
Standard Wheel--Short spoke spider, steel rim--15x8
Wheel Offset= -0.50"
Optional Tire--Good Year Eagle GT"
Size--P255/60R15
Type-- Steel Belted Radial
Optional Wheel--Cast Aluminum
Rim Size--15x8
Wheel Offset= -0.50"

1981 CORVETTE BUILD Options:

Base Price $15,248 Shipping Weight--3153 pounds,curb weight= 3,282 Pounds(This is the calculated weight of a vehicle with standard equipment only, as designed with the additional load of oils,lubes and fuel all filled to capacity.

1981 Options:
Code
Description
Quantity
1YY87
Base Corvette Sport Coupe
40,606
AU3
Power Door Locks
36,322
A42
Power Driver Seat
29,200
CC1
Removable Glass Roof Panels
29,095
C49
Rear Window Defroster
36,893
DG7
Electric Sport Mirrors
13,567
D84
Two Tone Paint
5,352
FE7
Gymkhana Suspension
7,803
F51
Heavy Duty Shock Absorbers
1,128
G92
Performance Axle Ratio
2,400
K35
Cruise Control
32,522
MM4
4 Speed Manual Transmission
5,757
N90
Aluminum Wheels (4)
36,485
QGR
White Letter Steel Belted Tires P225/70R15
21,939
QXH
White Letter Steel Belted Tires P225/60R15
18,004
UL5
Radio Delete
315
UM4
AM/FM Radio Stereo 8 Track
8,262
UM5
AM/FM Radio Stereo With 8 Track And CB
792
UN6
AM/FM Radio Stereo With Cassette
22,892
UN5
AM/FM Radio Stereo With Cassette And CB
2,349
U58
AM-FM Radio Stereo
5,145
U75
Power Antenna
32,903
V54
Roof Panel Carrier
3,303
YF5
California Emissions Certification
4,951
ZN1
Trailer Package
916

MORE 1981 VETTE CODES AND INFORMATION:
Standard engine for all States in '81 is a 5.7 liter V-8 350 L81
Compression Ratio 8.2:1
Caburetion---4 barrel Rochester
Hydraulic Cam
Hydraulic Cam
Operating Tappet Clerance= Intake--Zero Exhaust--Zero
Valve Lift (at zero lash) Intake--.3900, Exhaust--.4100
Valve Timing (based on top of ramp points) Intake opens 38 degrees, BTC Closes 92 degrees BTC, Duration 310 degrees, Exhaust --- Opens 88 degrees BTC ,Closes 52 dgrees ATC ,Duration 320 degrees.
Valve Open Overlap--90 degrees.

Transmission Ratios:
Manual Four-speed
First Gear 2.88
Second Gear 1.91
Third gear 1.33
Fourth Gear 1.00
Reverse 2.78
Automatic '350c':
Reverse 1.93
Drive 1.00
L3(second) 1.52
L2 (first) 2.52
Rear Axle Ratios
Manual 4-speed--2.72:1 (2.88 low)
Automatic '350c'--2.87:1(2.72:1 in California)

Spark Plugs
Make AC
Model R43TS
Thread (mm)--14
Gap--.045


VIN Numbers: 1G1AY87664BS400002 through 1G1AY87654BS431611 (St. Louis)
G1AY87664B5100002 through 1G1AY87654B5108995 (Bowling Green)
The 9th Digit is a check code, and varies. ZAK: 350ci, 190hp MT ZBD: 350ci, 190hp MT CE
ZAM: 350ci, 190hp AT CE ZCA: 350ci, 190hp AT
ZBC: 350ci, 230hp AT

CE=California Emissions, EP=Early Production, MT=Manual Trans,

AT=Automatic Trans, AC=Air Conditioning,AH=Aluminum Heads, HA=High Altitude< UU=Uncertain Usage

Base Engine: 350ci V8 190hp

1981 was last year Corvettes had a carburetor.

Total Production: 40,606(all coupes) 5,757 4-speed cars 7,803 Gymkhana cars
1981 Corvette Exterior Color Choices
CODE EXTERIOR QUANTITY
06 Mahogany Metallic 1,092
10 White 6,387
13 Silver Metallic 2,590
19 Black 4,712
24 Bright Blue Metallic 1
28 Dark Blue Metallic 2,522
52 Yellow 1,031
59 Beige 3,842
75 Red 4,310
79 Maroon Metallic 1,618
84 Charcoal Metallic 3,485
33/38 Silver/Dark Blue n/a
33/39 Silver/Charcoal n/a
50/74 Beige/Dark Bronze n/a
80/98 Autumn Red/Dark Claret n/a

1981 Corvette Interior Color Choices
CODE COLOR
152 Silver Gray Leather
19C Charcoal Cloth
192 Charcoal Leather
29C Dark Blue Cloth
292 Dark Blue Leather
64C Camel Cloth
642 Camel Leather
67C Dark Red Cloth
672 Dark Red Leather
752 Medium Red Leather

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