GM started building Corvettes in St. Louis in 1954. Twenty-seven years later, it moved Corvette production to its new home in Bowling Green, KY. The first Corvette built in Bowling Green was built on June 1,1981. Production ceased in St. Louis later that summer on August 1. Two-tone paint was an option on the ‘81 car, and while a few two-tone cars were painted in St. Louis, most were built at the Bowling Green plant.
Chevrolet installed its computer command control module on all ‘81 Corvettes, and only offered one engine - a 190 hp 350ci. Manual and automatic transmissions were both available, but the manual was unique. It was the last true four-speed ever installed in a Corvette. Although a “4-speed manual” was offered on the 1984 car, it contained overdrives in the top three gears.
The power driver seat was the most popular new option on the ‘81 car, but the power locks and glass roof panels were also strong sellers. Chevy sold 40,606 Corvettes in 1981. Of these, only 5,352 had two-tone paint. In base form, with either a manual or an automatic, the Corvette sold for $16,258.52.