1971 Corvette

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe


The third iteration of the Chevy Corvette was known as the C3 and was built from 1968 to 1982.

1971 Corvettes retained the silver-colored egg-crate grill with rectangular signal lights, and the signal lights kept their clear lenses and amber bulbs. The front fender louvers were also the same for this year, with an egg-crate style grill.

The big change for '71 was the lower compression engines and the subsequently reduced power outputs. This was the beginning of a downward trend that would last for years. The base 350 was rated at 270 hp (formerly 300 hp), the LT1 was rated at 330 hp (formerly 370 hp), and the 454 cubic inch LS5 was now rated at 365 (formerly 390 hp). The LS6 454 engine was newly available in the Corvette, and was rated at 425 hp and 475 ft-lbs of torque.

1971 Corvette Key Differences

1971 and 1970 Vettes both had front signal lights with a clear lens which differentiates them from 1972 Corvettes which had an amber lens. '71 and '70 Corvettes are externally virtually the same, but they can be differentiated by the chrome trim strip surrounding the front grill. In 1971, three screws are visible from the front, while in 1970, only one screw is visible.

They can also be told apart by the engine the specifications plaque mounted on the central console. 1970's Corvettes have 10.25 or higher compression ratios, while 1971's have 9.0 or lower compression ratios.

Similar Years

1970 to 1972 Corvettes are almost identical from a styling perspective and share the same egg-crate front grill and side louvers, the same rectangular front signal lights, and the same chrome front and rear bumpers. Only minor differences set them apart.

How to Identify a 1971 Corvette

1971 C3 Chevy Corvette

  • C3 Corvette body style (1968-82)
  • Corvette coupe shown

1971 Corvette Fender Vents

  • The egg crate style side fender louvers remained unchanged (1970-72)

1971 Corvette Grill

  • The grill had a silver egg-crate pattern (1970-72)
  • Front signal lights were rectangular (1970-72)
  • The chrome trim strip surrounding the grill was held on by three screws visible from the front. In 1970, there was only one visible screw (1971-72)

1971 Corvette Front Signal

  • Rectangular front signal lights had clear lenses with amber bulbs (1970-71)

1971 Corvette Air Cleaner

  • Lower rated power on all the engines reflected the lower compression ratios that were used so that engines could run on regular gas

1971 Corvette Console Plaque

  • A plaque mounted on the center console indicated the engine specs (1969-76)
  • Compression ratios of 9.0 or lower indicate a 1971 Corvette
  • 1971 was the last year for the console-mounted fiber optic lamp monitors (1968-71)

1971 Corvette Dash

  • The dash remained the same

1971 Corvette Fender Flare

  • The small fender flares at the bottom edges of the wheel-well openings went unchanged (1971-82)

1971 Corvette Seats

  • The seats had built-in shoulder belts (1970-76)

1971 Corvette Door Handle

  • The door handle and lock was the same (1969-82)

1971 Corvette Removable Roof Panels

  • Roof panels on the coupes were removable (1968-82)

1971 Corvette Rear Window

  • The small rear window on the coupe was removable and could be stored behind the seats on a storage tray (1968-72)

1971 Corvette Front Flags Emblem

  • The front crossed-flags flags emblem was the same since 1968 (1968-72)

1971 Corvette Tail lights

  • The tail lights carried over with one red light, and one red & white light on each side (1969-82)

1971 Corvette Standard Hood

  • For Corvettes with the standard 350 engine, the hood was smooth with a slightly raised central ridge (1968-72)

1971 Corvette Optional Hood

  • The hood for cars equipped with an LT1 350 or a 454 engine had a raised center power bulge with air vents (1968-72)

1971 Corvette 454 Hood Vents

  • Air exhaust vents for the optional 454 or LT1 hood face the rear (1968-72)
  • "454" (or "LT1") emblems were mounted on the side of the bulge (1968-72)

1971 Corvette Fuel Door

  • The crossed-flags badge on the fuel filler door remained the same (1968-73)

1971 Corvette Front Bumper

  • The chromed front bumper and the hidden headlights were not changed for 1970 (1968-72)

1971 Corvette Rear Bumper

  • The chromed rear bumpers continued unaltered (1968-72)

1971 Corvette Wheel

  • Standard slotted steel rims with an outer chrome ring and chrome center caps (1968-82)

1971 Corvette Windshield Wiper Flap

  • A powered flap at the windshield's base would open up when the windshield wipers were turned on (1968-72)

1971 Corvette Luggage Rack

  • A chrome luggage rack was a dealer installed option for the rear deck (1968-76)

More 1971 Corvette Pictures

For more photos of vintage 1971 Corvettes, visit the C3 Corvette Image Gallery at the Muscle Car Jungle.

If you have any comments, or would like to report any errors or omissions, contact us at feedback@oldcarsguide.com

Field Guide to American Autos

Need help identifying a classic car from the 1950's, 1960's, 1971's, or 1980's? Old Cars Guide .com has illustrated make and model guides to help you identify the most popular vintage North American automobiles. Year to year and generational changes are outlined in easy to use picture identification guides.

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