1972 Chevrolet Corvette LT-1 air coupes

2 LT1 coupes

In February 1989 we bought a 1972 Corvette LT-1 air coupe in Austin - a red car with tan leather. It had never been in an accident and the body was in great condition.

A month later we ran across another LT-1 air coupe in Borger, Texas and we also bought it. That car was Targa Blue with blue vinyl. The blue car was in the original paint when we bought it and we could tell it had never been bumped anywhere. We stripped the car to bare fiberglas before repainting.

We began the restoration on both of the cars. At first we didn't want to paint the blue car the original color but Richard was removing parts of the dash when he came across the original build sheet - so of course we painted it the original color which we didn't regret. The Targa blue was beautiful and few LT-1s were painted that color. It was a deep dark blue.

Both cars received new interior - leather in the red and vinyl in the blue. The engines were rebuilt. Besides seat covers the door panels and carpets were replaced and new weatherstrips were installed. Stainless steel brake calipers were used on both cars, the bumpers were rechromed, new sill plates were installed. New mufflers were installed along with new exhaust extensions, new shifter boots and parking brake console seal installed.

The cars made a beautiful pair. In the fall of 1990 we took them to auction and they were both purchased by the same buyer.

The 1972 Corvette was the last Corvette to feature front and rear chrome bumpers and the side bright "egg crate" grills. It was also the last to have a removable rear window. This was the last offering of the LT-1 engine until Chevrolet resurrected that designation in the 1990s. The reduce the possibility of shredding the fan belts from high rpm, the LT-1s with air conditioning had the base engine's 5600 rpm redline tach instead of the 6500 rpm tach offered in the non-air LT1s. The original pricing for the 1972 Corvette Coupe was $5,533 and the convertible was priced slightly lower at $5,296. The LT-1 option added $483.45 and air conditioning added $464.50.

Standard equipment on 1972 Corvette's included positraction rear axle, a left-hand outside rearview mirror, all tinted glass, flo-thru ventilation, front and rear disc brakes, an electric clock, carpeting, wheel trim rings, all-vinyl upholstery and an anti-theft alarm system.

The LT-1 was a high-performance 350-cid small block with a 9.0:1 compression ratio and a Holley four-barrel to produce 255 hp at 5600 rpm and 280 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. LT-1 components included a forged steel crankshaft, solid valve lifters, a high-performance camshaft, an aluminum intake manifold and a 2.50 inch diameter dual exhaust system. Only 1,336 cars were built with the LT-1 option and even fewer were equipped with air conditioning. 1972 was the only year that air conditioning could be combined with the LT-1 option. In an article appearing in Corvette News the number was quoted as being 240. Most publications, however use the figure of 286. Considering the fact that a lot of people were unaware this package was available, the published production figures above are both believable. The bottom line is the LT-1 with air conditioning is very rare.

The LT-1 has screaming power thanks to special impact extruded aluminum pistons, forged steel alloy crankshaft, solid valve lifers and giant Holley carburetor atop the aluminum hi-rise manifold. The LT-1 was built from 1970-1972. The 1970 LT-1 was rated at 11:0:1 compression and 370 h.p. The pistons and heads were redesigned in 1971 to permit compression ratio to drop and the horsepower to drop to 330. Not quite as strong but still quite an engine. In 1972 the engine was exactly the same as the 1971 but a change in classifying horsepower from the brake to net method resulted in a 1972 rating of 255 h.p. Hagerty Insurance posts some information about the horsepower games of the 1970s.

In 1972 there were 3,198 Corvettes built in the Targa Blue and 2,478 built in the Mille Miglia Red.

Since the pictures I took of these cars during the restoration process were during the days of 35mm and film I will post more pictures of these 2 cars as soon as the scans are all done and the pictures edited for the web.

72 LT1 Corvettes

72 Corvettes

Corvettes with hoods up

1972 Corvette LT1s

Facts about the blue car

Serial #1Z37L2S515308
Block # 12S515308 V0221CKY
Block Casting #B152 (February 15, 1972)
Build date: H02 (March 2, 1972)
Trim Tag: Trim 412 Paint 979
Alternator #1100544 (61A) 2B10
Rear end date code: A197
Rear end serial # AAW035E2 - 3.55 positrac
Transmission number: 12S515308
Bell housing number: 3899621
Starter number: 11084182A28
Distributor number: 1112101
Heads: 3973487X
Intake: 3959594