Have you ever wished Chevy hadn’t skipped the ’83 model year for Corvettes and produced a 30th Anniversary edition?
Well, Corvette restoration expert Chris Mazzilli decided to take matters into his own hands, and his efforts are the subject of a special one-hour documentary called “The Lost Corvette” that debuts Monday, July 8 at 10 p.m. on the History Channel.
“The car that became the 1984 Corvette was too much of a departure from the third generation, which remained in production for 15 years,” Mazzilli explained to hemmings.com. “The design of the production car was devoid of Corvette styling characteristics, and while it may look timeless today, it wasn’t universally loved back then.”
As many of you know, Chevy originally planned to introduce the fourth generation Corvette in 1983, just in time for the 30th anniversary of the sports car. They actually ended up making 18 prototypes and 43 pilot cars – a total of 61 cars for 1983 – but after running into some problems, decided to wait and debut the C4 as an ’84 model. Only one of those ’83 models managed to survive and is now on display at the National Corvette Museum.
The delayed start of the new generation by a model year, of course, means there was no chance for an official 30th Anniversary tribute, a situation that Mazzilli decided to remedy himself.
He started the project with a stock 1985 Corvette, but then added special styling tributes to 1953, 1963, and 1973 model years.
Honoring the ’53, of course, the 30th Anniversary tribute car is white with a red interior, same as the original 300 cars. However, since pearls are associated as a gift for the 30th anniversary, Mazzilli did make the switch from Polo White to Pearl White.
The ’63 is known for the Split Window Coupe, so Mazzilli’s tribute car not only has that styling cue, but it also has another ’63 trait, a dorsal seam up the hatch and across the roof.
Paying homage to the ’73, Mazzilli added a single front fender vent to his creation instead of the double vertical “gills” on stock ‘85s.
He also used 30th Anniversary logos on the headrests of the red leather seats and ditched the “high-tech” digital gauges for traditional analog instruments. Under the hood, he used a ProCharger supercharger and other upgrades to allow the stock L98 V8 to pump out an impressive 530-540 horsepower.
Apparently, all of his efforts turned out to be pretty impressive as the completed 30th Anniversary edition managed to score a 99.2 from NCRS and a 427 Award (for modified cars) in Concours judging.
You can see how three experts feel about the car, too, as C4 Corvette chief engineer Dave McLellan, former Chevy senior development engineer Rick Darling, and Danny “The Count” Koker of Count’s Kustoms in Las Vegas will weigh in with their feelings on next week’s TV special.
That’s not the only Corvette special in the works on the History Channel, though.
Mazzilli and his shop, Dream Car Restorations of Hicksville, Long Island, N.Y., will be featured in mid-September on a series called “The Lost Corvettes.”
The shows will detail Dream Car’s recent restoration of the VH1/Peter Max Corvettes, a collection of 36 Corvettes that was awarded in the 1980s by music channel VH1 to one lucky person who received one Corvette from each model year up to that time.
The restored Corvettes will soon be given away again but this time to 36 individual winners, with proceeds from ticket sales going to several veterans charities, including the National Guard Educational Foundation.
You can find out more about the giveaway at CorvetteHeroes.com.