With the Last Year of the 80s Decade, the 1989 Corvette Shines in Looks and Sales
With the end of the dismal 80s coming to an end the GM engineers again gave another attempt to revive the Corvette Nation that seemed to be sleeping when it came time to buy and they did a wonderful job with the 1989 Corvette. While the 1990s would bring much in the way of the Corvette, including a new generation, the Chevy people wanted to send the 80s out with a bang as big as the hair dues were back in that time.
Now standard for the 1989 Corvette was the handling package that had been so popular in the past but was never free as an upgrade. The Z51 package came standard on all Corvettes for the model year of 1989 and included:
- Fast ratio steering.
- 17-inch wheels.
- Delco Bilstien shocks that were gas charged.
- A front end structure that was fortified.
- Heavy duty radiator.
- Heavy duty engine oil cooler.
Also new for the 1989 Corvette was the optional tire pressure monitoring system which was actually supposed to be added back in 1987. The system had the capability of detecting a tire pressure drop as little as one pound per square inch with special sensors that were in each wheel. This helped regulate pressure and not only improved the life of the tires but also helped slightly with fuel economy.
Under the hood the L98 engine saw very minor changes though 1989 was the first year that the new Multec fuel injection was offered. This would be a taste of what was to come with the new LT5 engine that would power the ZR-1.
Controlling the new styled engine was a six speed no cost option that was a joint design between GM and Germany’s ZF. This six speed manual transmission forced drivers to have to bypass second and third gears and then lock out fifth gear in certain lower throttle situations to help save on gasoline consumption. This seemed to aggravate some testers but GM was quick to point out that the annoyance could be overridden with the quick clip of one red wire. The only problem with that though was a possible void of warranty if something went wrong.
Also new to the outside of the 1989 Corvette was an optional hard top that came in the way of a bolt on. It was made of fiberglass resin over urethane which coated a steel and aluminum cage. The headliner was cloth and the back windshield was even heated, which could be activated using a special plug in wire while the top was on.
While Chevy had struggled over the last few years with declining sales, they finally caught a break in 1989 and had an uptick in sales for the first time in what must have seemed like an eternity. The final tally saw Chevy sell 26,412 1989 Corvettes with almost 10,000 of them being convertibles. Once again Chevy and the mighty Corvette were on the upswing and the super car left the ugly 80s behind in style and looked to a new a brighter decade with the 90s.