In 1975 people flocked into the theaters (and out of the oceans) to see a movie about a giant killer shark. Coming in at number one and beating out even The Godfather, Jaws featured one man's fight against nature. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, the government was fighting a Shark of a different type, and the Shark was sinking fast.
Nineteen-seventy-five was a year of economical depression for the Corvette. Sagging sales and higher costs made for a weary public. But with only two other "American performers" to compete with, the Z28 Camaro and the Trans-Am Firebird, things weren't as bad as they could have been-or were they?
The year had ushered in a new wave of government regulations, meaning GM had to tighten the proverbial belt and get going on the new smog laws. With pending roll-over safety regulations on the table, topped with low sales, this was the final breath for the convertible until 1986. Also, gone was the big-block 454, taking the engine selection down to one alternative: The L82. This gave buyers little choice (the most restrictive of choices since 1955), since the $336 option-rated at 205 hp-was the only way to "up the ante" under the hood. And with the advent of the new catalytic converters, non-leaded fuel, and a redone exhaust system that routed spent gases through a single converter instead of true dual pipes, the L82's horsepower rating had dropped an astonishing 45 ponies. And the changes didn't stop there.
The urethane rear bumper, now in its second year, reappeared as a one-piece, and the distributors became HEI no-points units that no longer powered the tachometer since the tach was now electronically driven. Rounding out the changes was a speedo-meter featuring kilometers printed below miles-per-hour, a headlight-warning buzzer, a bladder-type fuel cell, wider side mirrors, and a final year for the Astro Ventilation. Changes for the good or bad, the Corvette was still around as an example of American engineering. And it was one of these examples that Roger Zrimsek recently found on a car lot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Spotting the red roadster for sale, Roger got curious and pulled in to investigate. It's a good thing he did! Roger was a just a little shocked to find the convertible only had 7,550 original miles on the clock! A deal was quickly struck, and he became the proud owner of one barely used '75 Corvette.
In the ragtop's final year, a mere 4,629 cars produced carried the option 1YZ67: Base Corvette Convertible. Out of 38,465 cars made total, this made the drop-top Shark a little bit on the rare side, so it is treated as such by its owner. Three years after his purchase, Roger's pristine convertible has only accumulated 6,150 additional miles-bringing the total to a mere 13,700 original miles. This is why he drives it only on nice days or to special events. With the exception of a high-quality paint job, everything is still original, down to the interior installed at the St. Louis assembly plant in 1975. Rally wheels, AM/FM radio, tilt-wheel, A/C, power windows, power steering, and power brakes round out this well-equipped Vette. Roger trailers his pride and joy to various Corvette shows, and we caught up with him and his convertible at the recent NCRS Winter Regional Corvette show in Orlando, Florida. We would like to thank Roger for giving us the opportunity to eyeball his shark, and hope you enjoyed this little history lesson as we enjoyed shooting it!