The 1971 Corvette Sting Ray used unleaded gasoline, which made it different from the high compression engine of the 1970 Corvette Sting Ray. Unleaded gasoline was the way of the future and high octane gasoline craving high compression engines was a thing of the past. The change significantly decreased the horsepower ratings for the LS5 motor. In 1970, the LS5 454 cu. in. engine was rated 390 hp. For the 1971 Corvette Sting Ray, the rating was down to a mere 365 hp. It was however much easier for 1971 Corvette Sting Ray drivers to obtain gasoline and many felt that this actually outweighed the drop in performance. Only 0.86% of the buyers were willing to pay $1,221 to get the LS6 454 cu. in. engine capable of 425hp, and this meant that it was only installed in 188 cars. Getting the LS5 454 cu. in. 365hp engine cost much less, $295, and this option was chosen by over 20 percent of the buyers. A third option was to boost your 350 cu. in. engine from 300 hp to 330hp by paying $483. This was done in slightly less than 2,000 cars.
The total production of 1971 Corvette Sting Ray landed on 21, 801, which was a significant increase from the year before when only 17,316 Corvettes were manufactured. During the 1960’s, the convertibles had been more popular than the coupes. In 1965, over 65 percent of the Corvettes were convertibles. During the 1970’s, these figures turned around, and in 1971, over 65 percent of the Corvettes were instead coupes. Over 14,500 coupes were produced and only slightly more than 7,000 convertibles. The price was still higher for coupes. A base Corvette Coupe with a 350 cu. in. 300 hp engine cost $5,496, while the price for a convertible landed on $5,259.
You could get your 1971 Corvette Sting Ray in ten different exterior colours: Classic White, Nevada Silver, Sunflower Yellow, War Bonnet Yellow, Ontario Orange, Mille Miglia Red, Brands Hatch Green, Mulsanne Blue, Bridgehampton Blue and Steel Cities Gray. The most popular choice was War Bonnet Yellow. This colour was used for 17 percent of the cars, which meant that 3,706 War Bonnet Yellow 1971 Corvette Sting Ray were produced. War Bonnet Yellow was followed by Brands Hatch Green (15.8 percent / 3,445 cars) and Mulsanne Blue (11.3 percent / 2,465 cars). The two least popular colours were Nevada Silver and Sunflower Yellow, chosen by 5.4 percent of the buyers respectively. Each colour was used for 1,177 cars.
Except for the changes in fuel, the 1971 Corvette Sting Ray was very similar to the previous year model. The fibre optic light monitoring system behind and in front of the shifter was for instance still there (it would be dropped in the 1972 model). The classic Corvette style from 1968 was still clearly visible in the 1971 Corvette Sting Ray. If you purchased a 1971 Corvette Sting Ray coupe, you would get shoulder belts for free, but buyers of the cabriolet still had to pay $42 to have custom shoulder belts installed. Headrests had been included in the all Corvettes since 1969.