Must-Have Corvette Books

As they say, information is power, and if you plan to wrench on your Corvette—and trust me, you will wrench on your Vette at some point or another—you really want and need the best information available.

While I do a lot of the work required to maintain my car, some I leave to professionals. I don't have every tool I would like to own... yet. So things such as a professional car lift, compressor, welding equipment, bead-blasting cabinet, and many others, are on my list.

But one thing I do have is plenty of good books, starting with the Corvette Assembly Instruction Manual, or AIM, for short. This is a must-have book if you own a Corvette.

And here are other books for your consideration. I own every book on this list.

How To Restore Your C3 Corvette, 1968-1982

From the back cover: Whether it’s hard use, neglect, or just elapsed time, often these 30-year-old or older cars require a major restoration and not just simple repair.

Through the pages of this book, you are expertly guided through each crucial stage of the restoration process from disassembly to inspection and parts selection to assembly.

The hands-on restoration techniques for all major component groups are explained in exceptional detail for professional results, including suspension, engine, interior, body, paint, brakes, steering, electrical, and interior.

Special coverage is devoted to restoring the birdcage frame and the fiberglass body.

The author addresses the real-world benefits and drawbacks of doing the work yourself. It will also contain essential model information, VIN identification, powertrain, and interior options, and more.

If you’ve been looking for an authoritative guide for restoring your 1968-1982 Stingray, this is it.
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Corvette Restoration Guide: 1968-1982

From the back cover: Chevrolet’s Corvette remains the quintessential American sports car, and collector interest in the 1968–1982 C3 “Shark” cars is at an all-time high.

The surge in C3 popularity has given rise to an insatiable demand for information about these cars, and this painstakingly researched book provides all of the details you need to bring your car up to the highest show standard.

Everything from running production changes to interpreting component part numbers and date codes is clearly explained.

Corvette 1968–1982 Restoration Guide provides accurate information on different paint and plating finishes, fastener types, engine parts, upholstery, gauges, soft trim, chassis components, body glass, wheels and tires, and virtually every other part that enables you to restore your Shark Corvette to its exact original factory configuration.

More than 400 color photographs of low mileage, beautifully preserved original cars as well as perfectly restored examples complement the detailed text and help illustrate vital information.

Whether you’re performing a complete restoration or basic maintenance, this book is an invaluable resource that will help you every step of the way.
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C3 Corvette 1968-1982: How to Build and Modify

From the back cover: About half-million Corvettes were sold between 1968-1982, and the distinctive Shark body style with the combination of V-8 power has gained legendary status. Some Corvettes are too rare and valuable to be modified. These include the big-block cars built between 1968-1974, which command big dollars at auctions.

However, the vast majority of Corvettes built between 1975 and 1982, are affordable and plentiful, and these are ideal for high-performance builds.

Many Corvettes from this era are often considered weekend cruisers because they carry antiquated brakes, steering, and suspension, and also anemic V-8 engines with 165-220 HP. Lacking modern technology, these 31-year-old or older cars are ripe for a high-performance transformation. And with the right build-up plan, products, and services, they can become high-performance sports cars that rival current sports cars on the road today.

Corvette expert and builder Chris Petris shows how to transform a mundane C3 into a standout, high-performance car. The most popular upgrades to every component group are covered, including engine, transmission, differential, front suspension, rear suspension, steering, chassis, electrics, interior, tires and wheels, and more. With this information, you will confidently know all the products and procedures that make the car as a whole a far better performer than stock.

Corvette C3: How to Build & Modify is the ideal book for the at-home mechanic as well as the adept enthusiast supervising the build-up of a Corvette. Whether it's mildly modifying your Corvette for greater comfort and driveability or substantially modifying it for vastly improved acceleration, braking, and handling, this book has a massive amount of information to accomplish the reader's goals.
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How To Rebuild Corvette Rolling Chassis 1963-1982

From the back cover: Second- and third-generation Corvettes may well be the stuff of collectors’ dreams—but if you’re an owner or enthusiast who plans to drive your dream car, this guide to repairing and rebuilding will put you and your ’Vette on the road.

With step-by-step text and photographs, author George McNicholl documents the complete rebuilding of four Corvettes—1965 and 1967 convertibles, and 1969 and 1972 coupes—putting the process within reach of any do-it-yourself mechanic.

McNicholl’s focus is on rebuilding second and third-generation Corvette rolling chassis for daily use, with clear and concise information on engines, transmissions, differentials, frames, front suspensions, brakes, wheels, and fuel, exhaust, and cooling systems for models from 1963 to 1982.
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Haynes 1968-1982 Corvette Repair Manual

Even though I've had one of these manuals sitting on a shelf in the garage for years—much like the Chilton manual for the same vehicle—I hardly ever bother to crack them open.

These manuals are okay for some basic maintenance and repairs, but there's nothing like a Corvette factory manual specific to the year of your car.

Having said that, there's no such thing as too much information, and both the Haynes and Chilton manuals can come in handy, from time to time.

Actually, I've found the wiring diagrams to be quite helpful on at least two or three occasions, and if you don't mind owning a used copy, you can pick these for deeply discounted prices.
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1976 Corvette Factory Electrical Wiring Diagrams

This Chevrolet Corvette Wiring Diagrams manual covers the complete '76 Corvette body and chassis, including:

  • Engine compartment
  • Automatic-transmission kick-down switch
  • Instrument panel
  • Instrument cluster
  • Rear window defogger
  • Power windows
  • Mono and stereo radios
  • Air conditioning
  • Integral charging system circuitry
  • Body and rear lighting
  • Directional signals
  • Backup lights
  • Neutral safety switch
  • Light switch circuits and electro-pneumatic schematic diagram
  • Cruise master system for the 1976 Corvette

This manual contains wiring diagrams and color code information to identify wires and their locations. Its size makes it easy to use in and around the car and its handy color-coding notations help you track down wires.
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Vette Vues Fact Book, 1973-1977

I was lucky to find one of these at the NCRS show in Lakeland a couple of years ago. The book was in excellent condition and I only paid $10 for it.

Great photos and all sorts of production data make it far more than just a pretty "coffee table" book.

The 1973-1977 edition—as well as others in the series—has been out of print for quite some time now, and even though it is not a restoration or repair manual per se, it makes a great addition to the library of the serious Corvette owner and aficionado.

So, if you can find a copy for a somewhat reasonable price, grab it before it's gone.

1976 Corvette Assembly Instruction Manual (AIM)

Original copies can be hard to find, but fortunately, there are plenty of reproductions available out there. Usually in loose-leaf format. I keep mine in a binder and it's been an excellent source of information when it comes to working on the car.

As something that was published forty-plus years ago, sometimes the diagrams and illustrations can be difficult to decipher, but with a little bit of patience, you can eventually figure out how things fit and how they were done at the factory.

Anyone who owns a Corvette should have the factory assembly manual handy in their garage. Just make sure the one you purchase is for your car's year. They are all different in one way or another.

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1976 Chevrolet 
Service & Overhaul Manual

In this factory-issued manual, you will find step-by-step instructions on lubrication, heater, Astro-ventilation, frame, suspension, driveline, brakes, engine, clutch, transmission, fuel tank, exhaust, steering, chassis sheet metal, wheels and tires, radiator, accessories, air conditioning, bumpers, and the electrical system.

Includes maintenance and routine repair for the engine, transmission, and rear end, as well as a complete overhaul of those parts. 

You'll find detailed specifications, special tool lists, lots of clear black-and-white pictures, illustrations, and detailed wiring diagrams. 

These manuals cover the 1976 Chevrolet Bel Air, Impala, Caprice, Malibu, Chevelle, El Camino, Camaro, Chevy Nova, Monte Carlo, and Corvette, and body service information for Corvette only. Over 400 pages of information, photos, and diagrams.

1976 Corvette Owner's Manual

A high-quality reprint of the owner's manual that came with your Corvette. 

Find out the essentials of operation and maintenance. 

You will find directions for the instruments and controls, as well as operation of standard and optional equipment such as the air conditioning, battery, brakes, clock, clutch, cooling system, doors, fuel system, glove box, heater, hood, ignition, jack, lighter, lighting system, locks, transmission, radio, rear storage compartment, spare tire, steering, ventilation, and wipers.

You will also find lubrication specs and charts, engine specifications, adjustment references, a maintenance schedule, and helpful troubleshooting tips.

The manual measures 8 3/8" by 5 1/4". 86 pages with B&W photos and illustrations.

1976 Corvette Dealer Sales Brochure

This brand new 1976 Corvette Dealer Sales Brochure measures 8 1/2 by 11 inches and folds open to create 6 colorful panels detailing the Corvette options, features, and some specifications.

With GM's permission, this sales brochure was printed on an offset press so you can be confident it is a high-quality reproduction that will make an interesting addition to your Corvette memorabilia.

Corvette Magazines

Last but not least, Corvette-specific magazines provide tons of great information for the Corvette owner and/or restorer.

Most titles have gone out of business with just a couple remaining.

I usually look through the mountains of old magazines offered at swap meets, where you can usually pick those up for 25 cents up to a buck per copy. And sometimes you can score a few great deals on eBay.

Corvette Fever is one of my favorites, and I've been accumulating back issues all the way to the early 1990s. I've even found a couple of collections advertised on Craigslist, so you have to keep your eyes open. You never know where the next great deal is going to come from.

A quick search on eBay for Corvette Fever magazine lot may pay off, so keep on the lookout.

I hope this list of C3 Corvette books and literature is helpful.

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