The third generation of the Corvette didn’t get a very good reception when it was launched in 1968. The pundits were unimpressed with the new flamboyant styling, inspired by the Marko Shark show car of 1966. With its aggressive pointed noise, flying buttresses flanking the rear window (on the coupe) and the sharply cut off tail featuring pseudo Ferrari round tail lights, it seemingly failed to please. Although Chevrolet advertised the car as ‘all new all over’, in fact the 1968 car was little different from its predecessors, retaining the same separate chassis and a crude but fairly effective, form of independent rear suspension first in 1963. The fact that it drew so heavily from its predecessors was the main strength of the car. It certainly helped to keep it strong with the public in terms of popularity, sales and performance. Disc brakes were at least standard across the board now. The car was also offered with a range of V8 engines that give it the performance to live up to its aggressive look. The basic 5.4 liter small block was good for 300bhp and 0-60mph (96km/h) in 8.4 seconds, even with automatic transmission. If you opted for one of the big block 427 units, you had a truly awesome machine. The tri Carb delivered 435bhp.
If the critics didn’t like the Corvette at first, then the buyers certainly did. That was why the car became the most long lived and successful of the marque, lasting in production until 1984. Basically, the real reason why the critics were holding back on praise for the new Corvette was because it was replacing a generation of Corvette that had won a place in almost everyone’s hearts.