The Corvette C3 in Miniature - Part 1
By Dave Weber, images by Doug Breithaupt

This Third Generation Corvette first appeared in 1968. The C3 is recognized as the as the 'Big Vette'. The wheelbase was longer and the body had more curves. The 1968 model was referred to as the 'Mako Shark' The one word moniker of 'Stingray' was adopted in 1969 This same body style continued without any radical changes until 1978. The big change at that time was the relocation of the rear window on the Coupe model. It had been initially introduced as a 'flying buttress' fastback with a perpendicular rear window glass. The 1978 body introduced a large 1 piece wraparound rear window which remained in use until it was replaced by the C4 in 1984. It is noted that no Corvette was produced for 1983. Thus, the last official production year for the C3 was 1982.

In order to better understand the annual styling changes I will list a chronological history for this longest existing Series to date! The span was over 14 years, since leftover C3s were sold in 1983 as well. Each year will be listed chronologically. This will enable the collecting community to be able to assign a more correct year of manufacture to their unidentified C3 models. Experience has shown that some of the lesser known manufacturers do not identify their models accurately.

1968 New longer C3 body style
1969 Stingray name as one word is used.
1970 -1972 Introduction of 'ice cube tray' grille and side louvers
1973 Body colored urethane grille, domed engine hood and crash bumpers
1974 Introduced urethane rounded rear-end
1975 - 1976 Bumperettes added and the Convertible was discontinued for Federal safety reasons in 1975
1977 Black 'A' posts were added along with side mounted front safety lights
1978-1979 Introduced major rear window change with a wraparound 1 piece glass shield
1980-1981 A rear spoiler was added
1982 Frameless hatchback rear window added
1983 No production

Many toy/model manufacturers have produced miniature replicas of the various cars in the above time span. But not all manufacturers identify the year and make of their miniatures. In order to present the models in an organized fashion, the most efficient means is to list the manufacturers in alphabetical order and to include mention of their various products that may be part of this summary. I make no claim for completeness. And I recognize all models are not available to all collectors and regional availability is an ongoing problem. Any corrections and additions are invited.


Unfortunately some models no longer carry any identification when they are removed from their blister paks. There are several such miniatures made in Asia which are unidentified, having been given their freedom from their plastic blisters many years ago! The first carries #703 on the baseplate. It has a chin spoiler and possesses the earlier buttress style rear window with louvers. The second model is a crude copy of the Uniborn 1978 model casting. The third model is a copy of the Tomica 1976 casting but with racing tampos and could be a Welly although it differs from the Welly copy casting in several aspects. The fourth is a 1970-1972 model and does not appear to be a copy of another manufacturer. The last model (not shown) has #8402 on the base . It actually serves as a pencil sharpener . There is a hole in the rear wraparound window for the pencil to be inserted and inside the casting is a small knife blade. Any assistance in providing a correct identification of the manufacturer is invited.

#703 generic

1978 Uniborn copy generic

1976 Tomica copy generic

1970-72 generic


This firm produced a 1982 model in their 'Speed Strips' series. This appears to be the only use of this casting which featured a view able comic strip under the base.

1982 Ertl Speed Strips


This firm issued a 1968 Coupe model #6215 in their first issue of the newly introduced Red Line series in 1968. It has been claimed that this model was released to the public before the full size car was introduced by GM. This miniature was available through 1971 as the 'Custom Corvette' . The engine compartment was featured with a hinged hood cover. The 'Corvette Stingray' #9241 was introduced in 1976. It appears to represent a 1974 C3 and has been available through 2001 with various tampo designs. A revised casting of the #9241 was recently offered in the regular line with a plastic body. It represents the 1978 model with the large rear-window. In 1979 the 'Vetty Funny' #2508 was issued. It represented the 1978 newer C3 version with revised rear-window. Subsequent castings of this model were included in the Cal-Custom line in the early 1990s. The 1982 car is represented in the enhanced Collectible line and was issued in 1998. It was part of the Corvette Showcase #1 set.

1968 Custom Corvette

1974 Stingray (original red-wall)

1974 Stingray

1978 Coupe

1978 Funny Car

This concludes the first section of this summary. Next month I will continue looking at C3s from the remainder of the alphabet. Playing Mantis is presently introducing a 50th Anniversary series and the available issues will be reviewed among many others.