Hello, loyal readers, and welcome to week four of CorvetteBlogger’s countdown of the best ‘Vettes from each decade! It is ’80s week and we want to start with a quick and fun exercise. Close your eyes for thirty seconds and think about all your favorite things from the 1980s.
Wasn’t that a good time? The ’80s were an awesome, neon-colored period packed with the fall of the USSR, Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros, Bird vs. Magic, Christie Brinkley, and mankind’s finest ever collection of action movies (Top Gun, Die Hard, the Predator, the Empire Strikes Back, Lethal Weapon, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and so many more!) all set to a soundtrack of Van Halen, Poison, Billy Idol, and Motley Crue. If the 1980s have an Achilles’ heel, it is undoubtedly its cars. This was an especially grim ten-year span for folks who prefer their vehicles be as proud and American as they are.
After suffering a steady decline in performance, the decade prior, the Corvettes from the ’80s offered a faint light that would continue to gain power as the years went by, a light that would lead American performance out of the darkness of the malaise era and back to relevance on the international scale.
The first one of the renaissance Corvettes that we would like to honor with our ’80s bronze medal is the 1982 version. ’82 was the final year for the long in the tooth C3 generation but it acted as a testbed for several things that were destined for the long-awaited C4. With the state-of-the-art production facility in Bowling Green, KY opening, Chevrolet wanted to continue with the familiar, existing platform while they ironed out all of the techniques that the new Corvette Plant was capable of. They started with the updated powerplant, which, of course, meant the return of fuel injection! This iteration was dubbed “Cross-Fire” fuel injection and it utilized twin throttle bodies on top of the proven 350 cubic inch V8 instead of a carburetor. This new “L83” was the only engine on offer for ’82 and it made 200 HP and 285 lb/ft of torque which both improved upon the numbers of the 1981 Corvette while also reducing emissions. While the first “fuelie” since 1965 was huge news, it came at a cost. The manual transmission didn’t show up as an option in 1982 for the first time since 1955. A four-speed automatic was the only gearbox on offer.
1982 was the last year that an 8-track tape player was available for order (RPO UM4 was ordered by 923 customers) and it was the only year to feature a console mounted clock finished in Quartz. Also, of note was the addition of the special Collector Edition Hatchback meant to commemorate the end of the line for the C3. In total, 6,759 of these fading black striped silver-beige cars were produced. Other than the unique paint, things that made this special edition actually special were; ’63 inspired turbine wheels, bronze tinted glass T-tops, color-matched leather interior, and more. The Collector Edition and its unique VIN and emblems (an addition made to foil “counterfeiters” who had been attempting to pass regular ’78s as Pace Car special editions) was the first Corvette to sticker for more than $20,000 with an MSRP of $22,537.59 or $4,247.52 more than a Base 1982 Sport Coupe and, a whopping $17,874.59 more than the original C3’s sticker price from fourteen years prior.
Total production was down from 40,606 in ’81 to 25,407 to close out a tumultuous, yet financially successful third generation Corvette that most importantly, and unlike the majority of its domestic rivals, survived the most difficult years of vehicle production in the United States.
We will see you tomorrow, same righteous time, same radical place when we will reveal our second place Corvette from the “Greed Decade.”
Check out all of our Best Corvettes of Each Decade features:
- The Best Corvettes of the 1950s: No.3 – The 1953 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1950s: No.2 – The 1959 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1950s: No.1 – The 1957 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1960s: No.3 – The 1965 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1960s: No.2 – The 1963 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1960s: No.1 – The 1967 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1970s: No.3 – The 1978 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1970s: No.2 – The 1970 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1970s: No.1 – The 1971 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1980s: No.3 – The 1982 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1980s: No.2 – The 1986 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1980s: No.1 – The 1984 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1990s: No.3 – The 1996 LT4 Corvette
- The Best Corvettes of the 1990s: No.2 – The 1999 Corvette FRC
- The Best Corvettes of the 1990s: No.1 – The C4 Corvette ZR-1
- The Best Corvettes of the 2000s: No.3 – The C5 Corvette Z06
- The Best Corvettes of the 2000s: No.2 – The C6 Corvette Z06
- The Best Corvettes of the 2000s: No.1 – 2009 Corvette ZR1
- The Best Corvettes of the 2010s: No.3 – The C7’s Z07 Ultimate Performance Package
- The Best Corvettes of the 2010s: No.2 – The C6’s Z07 Ultimate Performance Package
- The Best Corvettes of the 2010s: No.1 – The 2019 Corvette ZR1