It’s time to say goodbye to the era of the high-output muscle car. Emissions regulations forced GM engineers to further detune the Corvette, which left only 200 hp in the 350ci base engine. In 1972, the most powerful Corvette engine available was the 270 hp LS5. The LT1, which produced 255 hp in ‘72, wasn’t offered again until the 1990’s.
Other notable “lasts” about the ‘72 car are that no car after it had chrome bumpers on both the front and rear. The removable rear window (coupe) was no longer available after ‘72, and after 1972, the windshield wipers no longer hid under a vacuum operated panel.
Overall, the external changes to the ‘72 car were minimal. Like in preceding years, a shade of green was the top selling color, and the coupe outsold the convertible by about 14,000 cars.
Now, you might be curious as to why horsepower numbers are so low for 1972, compared to ‘71. Up until 1972, GM published the gross horsepower ratings for its engines, but in 1972, it began publishing the net horsepower instead, Net horsepower only measures the amount of horsepower sent to the rear wheels through the driveline, while gross horsepower measures the absolute amount of power the engine produces when tested in a closed system.