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  1. #1
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    1978-1980 Corvette

    I've been looking into getting one of these things. They all have relatively low milage, price is around 7,000 - 9,000 for a decent looking one. (5.7l V8, leather, etc.) I understand the 1983 models have all the emission junk on them, do the 1980 ones have this also? I also know the bodies have a lot of fiberglass panels. I am prepared to deal with this I believe. I just like the look of this year-span a lot.
    Has anyone driven one of these? How did it feel? Any tips for purchasing?

    Thank you,

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  2. #2
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rag6's Avatar
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    The entire body is fg. My dads 78 had no emissions junk. Look closely at the t tops area to see if they leak. My dads did a little bit, he did something to fix it, but dont remember as I was 7 in 78. Get the 78 its the 25th anniversary 8)
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  3. #3
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    That a stingray right? My dad had a 82' and he loved it
    Couldn't even sell it for $5,000 he traded it off to some guy for a quad.
    Really nice car man

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    Wrong year not a popular body style

  5. #5
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rag6's Avatar
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    In 76 they added the cat converter, and replaced the fg floor panels with steel.

    76 was the last year for the stingray. The sting ray (2words) was produced from 63 to 67

    1979 was the most popular year for all 'vettes.
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  6. #6
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    Awesome, thanks for the info guys. I had no idea the entire body was fiberglass. How fast are these things?



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  7. #7
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rag6's Avatar
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    My dads wasnt crazy fast, but the 350 4bbl got out of its own way. It did however handle very well for a car from 78. I was in the car when he went 130, so at least that fast.
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  8. #8
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rjm2519's Avatar
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    I think you are looking for an idea that wasn't really produced by GM. The late 70s to early 80s vettes weren't the best to say the least. The engine wasn't special and the build quality of that era leaves a lot to be desired. They looked great, but in terms of functionality they weren't terribly special especially when compared to other vettes. Most anything built during that era is going to be, well cheap...it was the gas crunch and there were a lot of cars built that many manufacturers probably would like to take back.
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  9. #9
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    when you say build quality, do you mean mechanical characteristics? Like chassis, suspension components?
    @rag6, awesome, I can always upgrade the engine/tranny. Just good to know the car handles well enough.

    What do you guys think about early 90's vettes?
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  10. #10
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    Grab an '83. Hands down the best.
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  11. #11
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    Awesome, what makes them good?
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  12. #12
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    Wasn't '77-'82 the worst years for the Corvette? Iffier than normal quality, made less horsepower than my I-6 Jeep too IIRC. Might be ok for a build project if you were really going to go all out and make a G-Machine, Street Fighter, Drag Car, or Show Car out of it, but stock they left mountains to be desired.


    BTW, there was no official '83 Corvette, they were so bad that GM held off on releasing them until '84, and even then they were horrible from a Quality standpoint!
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  13. #13
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    they didnt make an 83 vette. The only one is in the corvette museum. They had problems with getting the new body style out of the production line so they just called them 84 vettes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericmstepp View Post
    they didnt make an 83 vette. The only one is in the corvette museum. They had problems with getting the new body style out of the production line so they just called them 84 vettes.
    44 total were made, 43 of them GM destroyed, so you are exactly correct. Too many problems trying to introduce the C4, so it was pushed out a year.
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    Technically they built them, just didn't sell them. Anyway, it was just a rib. Been through more Vettes than I can count. I would consider C4's to be an excellent bargain at this time.
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    What do you think about the C5? For bang for your buck with a corvette, 2001 to 2004 C5 is your best bet if you like that body style. 99-2000 have EBTCM issues which no one at this time sells a replacement and getting them rebuilt is a real hit or miss. But you can get a nice on for around 15K, it is a better car for handling,power, breaking, and also gas mileage.
    But if you set on a C3 body style, you really have to look close at the body. A older fiberglass body can become costly to prep for repaint if needed. Make sure the paint is good shape so you won't have to worry about that.
    The C4 corvette I had looked great inside and out, but was the biggest money pit I ever owned. From that experience and the actual ride (Z51 performance package) and rigidity of the chassis, I do not recomend them.
    But what ever you buy, I hope you enjoy it!!!! Post pics.
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    Get a 67 With a 427 Or a 1969

  18. #18
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rjm2519's Avatar
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    When I say build quality I mean top to bottom, chassis, body, electrical system, hvac system, suspension...interior

    If i was looking for a corvette I would go for a 90s model at the latest, even those had some serious electrical gremlins, especially the factory anti theft system which was problematic in all GMs it came in. If you remember the resistor chip in the key, seemed like a good idea at the time, interiors also suffered from cheap materials and adhesives on door panels and whatnot.
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    I think you need a big block!!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by doubletapdaddy View Post
    Grab an '83. Hands down the best.
    ???? It's all an opinion but the emissions are really not a big deal, what they used to is put a smog pump, and what this does it but air into the exhaust to try and help it pass emissions so in no big deal because they go out all the time but it will not affect performance..
    Good luck post pics if you find one!!

  21. #21
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rjm2519's Avatar
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    The whole thing IMO with the emissions control was during those years GM was really setting the bar low in terms of quality and performance and that was across the line not just on the corvettes. The 90s really turned the tide on how the vette was produced and that was when IMO the best cars started coming to production. There were still some problems but the cars were generally enjoyable and were performers for their time.

    The smog era vettes were only performers because everything else sucked so bad.
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  22. #22
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    get a C4 (84-96?) more/ better parts- better EFI (Cross Flow (CFI- kinda junky) and Tuned Port (TPI), 4 or 5 speed manual- 4 speed auto 5.7 350 LT1 came in a few years

    (unlike 77-82- 3 speed auto, 4 speed manual- junk EFI and junk carb- emissions crap), 77-82 vette's were lucky to see 240hp- as were C4's were 250-330hp they're a little nicer looking but that's about it for me..

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjm2519 View Post
    The whole thing IMO with the emissions control was during those years GM was really setting the bar low in terms of quality and performance and that was across the line not just on the corvettes. The 90s really turned the tide on how the vette was produced and that was when IMO the best cars started coming to production. There were still some problems but the cars were generally enjoyable and were performers for their time.

    The smog era vettes were only performers because everything else sucked so bad.
    I agree with that but every car has an issue, that's why if it were me I would find the body style I want then I would build it the way I want it.
    IMO

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjm2519 View Post
    The whole thing IMO with the emissions control was during those years GM was really setting the bar low in terms of quality and performance and that was across the line not just on the corvettes. The 90s really turned the tide on how the vette was produced and that was when IMO the best cars started coming to production. There were still some problems but the cars were generally enjoyable and were performers for their time.

    The smog era vettes were only performers because everything else sucked so bad.
    That's why I said;

    Quote Originally Posted by bjoehandley View Post
    Might be ok for a build project if you were really going to go all out and make a G-Machine, Street Fighter, Drag Car, or Show Car out of it, but stock they left mountains to be desired.
    A modern drivetrain swap, fully built suspension, and modern rolling stock could go a long, long way to making it work really good for a car from that era!
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  25. #25
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rjm2519's Avatar
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    A modern corvette drivetrain alone would cost more than the old vette. If you are looking to build something you want at any cost by all means have at it and pictures please, but if you are looking for something to put minimal work into and be able to drive from day one, put the money away for now and find a good deal on a newer vette, their is a reason those years are as cheap as they are.
    Last edited by rjm2519; 03-10-2013 at 09:16 PM.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjm2519 View Post
    When I say build quality I mean top to bottom, chassis, body, electrical system, hvac system, suspension...interior

    If i was looking for a corvette I would go for a 90s model at the latest, even those had some serious electrical gremlins, especially the factory anti theft system which was problematic in all GMs it came in. If you remember the resistor chip in the key, seemed like a good idea at the time, interiors also suffered from cheap materials and adhesives on door panels and whatnot.
    I remember my anti-theft acting up on my C4 many times, I really don't miss that. I did however kinda liked the Doug Nash 4+3 it had, the theory of it is pretty cool. Same as putting a gear vendors over-drive system on a car now.
    The chassis flex on the car was awful, cruising with the top off made it very apparent.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjm2519 View Post
    A modern corvette drivetrain alone would cost more than the old vette. If you are looking to build something you want at any cost by all means have at it and pictures please, but if you are looking for something to put minimal work into and be able to drive from day one, put the money away for now and find a good deal on a newer vette, their is a reason those years are as cheap as they are.
    Ok find a vette you like and if it doesn't run fine, from the point on throw a 5.3 or 6.0 in it behind a 700r4 or even a 4 speed ect. Now you have a car that has a modern engine in it that later on you could put money into I and get 600 plus horsepower!!

  28. #28
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rag6's Avatar
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    My dad had 2. A 64 and a 78. The 64 was by far my favorite of the 2. He wanted a 63, but its kinda hard to afford that year lol... even in the early 70's
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjm2519 View Post
    A modern corvette drivetrain alone would cost more than the old vette. If you are looking to build something you want at any cost by all means have at it and pictures please, but if you are looking for something to put minimal work into and be able to drive from day one, put the money away for now and find a good deal on a newer vette, their is a reason those years are as cheap as they are.
    Quote Originally Posted by johnzillia54 View Post
    Ok find a vette you like and if it doesn't run fine, from the point on throw a 5.3 or 6.0 in it behind a 700r4 or even a 4 speed ect. Now you have a car that has a modern engine in it that later on you could put money into I and get 600 plus horsepower!!
    Doesn't have to be a modern Corvette drivetrain, the LS and what ever trans combo from a 4th or 5th generation Camaro would work nicely. GM is even offering their E-Rod kit with all the needed stuff to make it's recipient emissions compliant for around $10,000. Find an old, tired, smog era C-3 Vette, rebuild the suspension with upgraded parts and pieces, put on some reasonably sized rolling stock, put in the E-Rod goodies, and then finished the body and interior how ever you want!


    Here's the link to GM's page on E-Rod
    http://www.chevroletperformance.com/erod/


    Come to think of it, this would work nicely for a certain '79 Impala too
    Last edited by bjoehandley; 03-13-2013 at 06:36 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjoehandley View Post
    Doesn't have to be a modern Corvette drivetrain, the LS and what ever trans combo from a 4th or 5th generation Camaro would work nicely. GM is even offering their E-Rod kit with all the needed stuff to make it's recipient emissions compliant for around $10,000. Find an old, tired, smog era C-3 Vette, rebuild the suspension with upgraded parts and pieces, put on some reasonably sized rolling stock, put in the E-Rod goodies, and then finished the body and interior how ever you want!


    Here's the link to GM's page on E-Rod
    http://www.chevroletperformance.com/erod/


    Come to think of it, this would work nicely for a certain '79 Impala too
    I agree with you but you don't have to have the e rod engine get a 5.3 or 6.0 that has emissions and way better than what they had in that year, and yeah you don't have to have a modern drive train, and think about it for 10 grand just get a 6.0 or 5.3 turbo or supercharge it and get big power, emissions, fuel injection. ( and you can leave it stock for a while too ) so either way modern or not you have a lot of options!

  31. #31
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    The E-Rod is good if you live in an area that makes you follow emissions laws for newly built "kit" type cars or rebuilt cars with newer powertrains that have to pass the emissions requirement for the model year of the given engines.
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  32. #32
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    I had an 82 model in white. This was in about 2000 or so. They're not bad cars but they are not fast either. By 82 things like cats converters had been added and I think it was the first yr for a smog pump as well but i'm not real sure.

    My car had a recent exterior restoration which included fixing the cracking that's common in fiber glass and a complete repaint in Arctic White. All the door and t-top seals had been replaced so it was quite and fun to drive.

    After about 3 months I got tired of the factory red interior and pulled it out over the winter then replaced it with black. That spring I pulled the stock 350 and had it rebuilt at a local shop. When all was said and done the car ran 13.0's around 107 mph so it was as quick as most cars on the road at the time.

    I bought the car for $5500 back then and I kind of wished I kept it but you know how that goes.....

    If you buy one you'll need to do a couple of things most likely. Replace all the door and T-Top seals. My T-Top seal only lasted a yr then needed to be replaced again. The T-Tops wiggle around and tear them.

    You'll also want to add sound deadening and a heat barrier to the foot wells or your feet will bake in there....
    Last edited by Basher 1; 03-17-2013 at 09:20 AM.

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