1980 CORVETTE

 

Welcome back to Hobby Car Corvettes as we continue with our exciting C3 Vette series. Each week, we review the next in line of the fifteen impressive machines in the third generation of Corvettes. Last week, we had nothing but praise to offer for the 1979 Corvette, and this week we we will be visiting the 1980 C3 Corvette.

 

1980 chevrolet corvette black exterior red interior

1980 Chevrolet Corvette Black Exterior Red Interior

 

 

We started this series because here at Hobby Car Corvettes in Martinsburg, PA, we personally feel the third generation of Corvettes was the best! While we are all-around Corvette enthusiasts, the third generation will always be our favorite generation. Wasting no more time, let’s get to it and learn all there is to know about the 1980 Corvette!

 

OIL CRISIS STRIKES AGAIN

 

The year of 1980 brought again an oil crisis that would have a direct impact on federal mandates for all vehicle manufacturers. The most impactful mandate, required improvements in fuel efficiency. It was beginning to be realized that fuel was not an ample and renewable supply, and so vehicles had to be smart about their use of the resource. Chevrolet set straight away to modifying the Corvette in the best way possible to meet these new mandates. As always, they did their best to simultaneously improve form and function.

 

The first goal was to eliminate 250 pounds from the current design, which would increase fuel efficiency. The challenge that Chevrolet engineers and designers were up to was removing the weight while maintaining Corvette’s reputable structure and image.

 

They began by using lighter materials. The differential housing and front-frame cross-member were switched from steel to aluminum, a much lighter option. In previous years, the L82 engine was fitted with an aluminum intake manifold, and this piece was now included on the L48 engine as well.

 

The use of chrome was kept to a minimum, and far more plastic was used where it could be. The crossed flags emblem was removed from the front fender. Though it seems a small change, every removal and addition mattered. Additionally, engineers used lower density roof panels and reduced thickness of the hood and outer door skirts.

 

In addition to reducing weight, engineers worked to improve Corvette gas mileage overall.  They did this by making appropriate changes to reduce drag. The front and rear spoilers were reshaped and made an integral part of the bodywork. The front grill was raked back just slightly.

 

1980 CORVETTE AESTHETICS

 

In regards to aesthetics, the front and rear spoiler change made for improved fuel efficiency was one of the most notable changes. Additionally, the raked back grill and removal of the front fender emblem affected the overall appearance of the 1980 Corvette. The emblem that would still be found on the Corvette, was redesigned with new elongated flags.

 

 

1980 yellow corvette some things endure ad

1980 Yellow Chevrolet Corvette original ad

 

 

The 1980 Corvette hood had a lower profile with new cornering and taillights. The storage that could be found in the rear was changed from three lids to two. While the battery remained in its own separate compartment behind the driver, the center and passenger side compartments were combined and now accessed with a single door.

 

A new aesthetic option offered for the interior was a new ribbed cloth.

 

1980 CORVETTE MECHANICS

 

It comes as no surprise that the 1980 Corvette suffered somewhat in regards to power and mechanics due to the ever tightening regulations. The base L48 engine lost 5 hp, dropping it from 195 hp to 190 hp at 4,400 rpm and 280lbs/ft of torque at 2,400 rpm. On the flip side, the L82 benefited from the changes, jumping from 225 hp to 230 hp.

 

 

1980 red chevrolet corvette original ad

1980 Corvette original advertisement

 

 

Some features that were made standard included power windows, air-conditioning, and tilt-telescopic steering.

 

 

1980 chevrolet corvette original ad

1980 Chevrolet Corvette original advertisement continued

 

 

Additionally, a new convenience group was created that included time-delayed dome and courtesy light operation, a headlight warning buzzer that signaled when the headlights were left on, a low-fuel warning light, intermittent windshield wipers, and a passenger-side illuminated visor mirror. These are many of the modern conveniences we appreciate today. Though even some of these are a thing of the past as many headlights turn on and off independently.

 

THE 1980 CORVETTE IN CALIFORNIA

 

But specific to only one state, was the impact that California emission standards had on the Corvette. GM engineers, unfortunately, were not able to certify the “high-compression” (9:1) small block for California use. Nationwide, the demand for it had already dropped significantly at the end of 1979. Because of this, 1980 would be the last year for the optional L82 engine.

 

Due to the California’s more stringent regulations, the 1980 Corvette option for California residents had only one engine, a 305 ci. This engine was the same engine used in Chevrolet’s standard passenger car models. However, in an effort to make it Corvette specific, the engine was equipped with stainless-steel tubular exhaust headers, a computer command control system, and an oxygen sensor in a closed loop system.

 

With these few changes, Chevrolet was was able to improve the 305 ci engine available to California buyers, producing an output of 180 hp. This output was only 10 hp lower than the standard L48 available in all other states. This option for the 305 ci engine, was mandated due to Chevrolet’s inability to certify that the small-block 350 ci engine could meet all of California’s emission requirements.

 

DID YOU KNOW

 

  • While California consumers received a $50.00 credit as a result of this downgrade, the LG4 305 ci engine was only available with an automatic transmission, making it even less desirable to true sports-car enthusiasts.
  • As a result of federal mandate, the 1980 Corvette was the first year to have a speedometer with an upper limit of only 85 MPH
  • 1980 would be the last year for the optional L82 engine.

 

CONCLUSION

 

With a hefty increase in the Corvette price tag, and a significant decline in Corvettes sold, it wasn’t the strongest year for the third generation. The number of cars sold dropped 20% from 1979, selling only 40,614 Corvettes. Despite the decline, this is still a large number of cars to be sold, and so it was clear that Corvette enthusiasts were still devoted.

 

It’s possible that numbers dipped due to price increase. The year began with a price tag of $13,140.24 for a 1980 Corvette and ended at $14,345.24. It’s also possible the dip was in response to feelings of disappointment. With the changes made to increase fuel efficiency, using less chrome and more plastic, some opinions offered that Corvette was losing some of its original feel and standards.

 

These lukewarm feelings had the conversations growing that it was time to consider a new generation of Corvettes. No matter the reason for the drop in sales, we are nearing the end of the third generation of Corvettes.

 

As always, thank you for stopping by here at Hobby Car Corvettes, for our series on third generation Corvettes. We hope this specific year added to your well of Corvette knowledge. Please return next week as we head into the final two years of the third generation of Corvettes.

 

As always, if you are in the market for your very own Corvette, reach out to us here in Martinsburg, PA. We proudly and competently sell nationwide and international. Check out the 1980 Corvettes we have to offer below, and feel free to peruse our large Corvette inventory!

 

See you next week!

 

We currently have the following 1980 corvettes for sale:

 

 

SPECS

 

MODEL1980 CHEVROLET CORVETTE
GENERATIONC3
BODY STYLETwo-door coupe, front engine, rear wheel drive
MANUFACTURING LOCATIONSt. Louis, Missouri
Original Price$14,345.24 (Coupe)
Units Produced40,614
EXTERIOR

COLORS

White, Silver, Black, Dark Blue, Dark Brown, Yellow, Dark Green, Frost Beige, Dark Claret, Red
INTERIOR

COLORS

Oyster, Black, Dark Blue, Doeskin, Red, Claret
CONSTRUCTIONUniconstruction: fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP or “fiberglass”) body backboned by a steel cage outlining the the passenger compartment. Principal members – steel front and plastic rear – underbody, front and rear end assemblies, dash panel and hinge pillars are bonded, riveted, and bolted together and to each other. Hood is plastic with bonded plastic reinforcement. Car includes two removable roof panels. Doors are plastic, double paneled, reinforced with steel at hinge and lock locations. Front hinged.
VEHICLE NUMBERS (VIN)1Z878AS400001 – 1Z878AS440614 (coupe)
ENGINE SUFFIXZAK: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

ZAM: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION

ZBC: 350 CUBIC INCH, 230 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

ZBD: 350 CUBIC INCH, 230 HORSEPOWER, UNCERTAIN USAGE

ZCA: 305 CUBIC INCH, 180 HORSEPOWER, CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS

ENGINE BLOCK NUMBER14010207: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HORSEPOWER, 230 HORSEPOWER, LATE PRODUCTION

3970010: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HORSEPOWER, 230 HORSEPOWER

4715111: 305 CUBIC INCH, 180 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION, CALIF. EMISSIONS

HEAD NUMBER462624: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190 HORSEPOWER, 230 HORSEPOWER

14014416: 305 CUBIC INCH, 180 HORSEPOWER

CARBURETOR NUMBERSROCHESTER Q-jet #17080204: 350 C.I., 190HP, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

ROCHESTER Q-jet #17080207: 350 C.I., 190HP, MANUAL TRANSMISSION

ROCHESTER Q-jet #17080228: 350 C.I., 230HP, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

ROCHESTER Q-jet #17080504, 17080517: 305 C.I., 180HP, AUTO. TRANS, CALIF. EMISSIONS

DISTRIBUTOR NUMBER1103287: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190HP,MANUAL TRANSMISSION

1103352: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190HP, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

1103353: 350 CUBIC INCH, 190HP, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

1103368: 305 CUBIC INCH, 180HP, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION, CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS

1103435: 350 CUBIC INCH, 230 HP, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

ALTERNATOR NUMBER1101041, 1101075, 1101085, 1101088, 1103122
AXLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBEROF: 3.07:1 RATIO

OH: 3.07:1 RATIO

PRODUCTION ENDING VEHICLESEP., 1979: 400011, OCT., 1979:404267, NOV., 1979: 408343, DEC., 1979: 411652, JAN., 1980: 416198, FEB., 1980: 420057, MAR., 1980: 424380, APR., 1980: 427800, MAY., 1980: 431152, JUNE, 1980: 434509, JULY, 1980: 438049, AUG., 1980: 440614

 

Options Codes, Production, & Pricing

 

CODESDESCRIPTION QUANTITY RETAIL PRICE
1YZ87Base Corvette Sport Coupe40,614$13,140.24
AU3Power Door Locks32,692$140.00
CC1Removable Glass Roof Panels19,695$391.00
C49Rear Window Defogger36,589$109.00
FE7Gymkhana Suspension9,907$55.00
F51Heavy Duty Shock Absorbers1,695$35.00
K30Cruise Control30,821$123.00
LG4305ci, 180hp Engine (required in CA)3,221$50.00
L82350ci, 230hp Engine5,069 $595.00
MM44-Speed Manual Transmission5,726$0.00
MX1Automatic Transmission34,838$0.00
N90Aluminum Wheels (4)34,128$407.00
QGBWhite Letter SBR Tires, P225/70R1526,208$62.00
QXHWhite Letter SBR Tires, P255/60R1513,140$426.16
UA1Heavy Duty Battery1.337$22.00
UM2AM-FM Radio, stereo with 8-track tape6,138$46.00
UN3AM-FM Radio, stereo with cassette15,708$155.00
UP6AM-FM Radio, stereo with CB15,148$168.00
U58AM-FM Radio, stereo2,434$391.00
U75Power Antenna32,863$56.00
UL5Radio Delete201$126.00
U81Dual Rear Speakers36,650$52.00
V54Roof Panel Carrier3,755$125.00
YF5California Emission Certification3,221$250.00
ZN1Trailer Package796$105.00

 

TRANSMISSION CODES

 

CODETRANSMISSION
ZJWarner 4-Speed, Heavy-Duty Aluminum Case, Wide-Ratio (2.88:1 1st Gear)
JCTurbo Hydra-Matic 350 with 305 California Engine
TWTurbo Hydra-Matic 350 with 350 Engine