The 1982 Corvette signified the end of the C3 production.
Text and photography by Colin Date
What’s so important about a 1982 Corvette you ask? Plenty! Even though the early 1980s will never be regarded as the quintessential performance years, there were some historical milestones that turned up here and there. Such is the case with our feature car: The 1982 Corvette Collector Edition.
1982 proved to be a benchmark year for Corvette, as it was the last of the “C3” breed. It was the end of a generation that dated its basic body structure back to 1968 and its chassis back to 1963. Truth be known, the Corvette faithful was more than ready for the next gen version. Sure, you can call the ’82 long in the tooth, and maybe it was back in the day, but there’s no denying that it’s now part of Corvette history– and that alone makes this car important.
To commemorate the C3’s final year, Chevrolet produced a special “Collector Edition” of the ’82. In addition to a higher level of standard features that were optional on base model ’Vettes, this limited production version came with a lifting rear hatchback-style glass– a first for Corvette– and privy to the Collector Edition only. This car also featured unique wheels that were reminiscent of 1967’s “bolt-on” style optional wheels, a special silver/beige paint application, silver-beige leather interior, and commemorative emblems. Sound gaudy? Remember, this was the early 1980s– it fit in just perfectly with the times.
The Collector Edition carried a special code (a “zero” in the 6th digit) in its VIN, but it did not have a separate serial number sequence. The car also sported a whopping $22,537 MSRP– at the time, the most expensive regular production Corvette ever. Up until then, no Corvette’s base price tag had ever exceeded twenty grand.
Motivation was provided by Chevy’s venerable small-block 350, now (for 1982) sporting “cross-fire injection”. Cross-fire injection combined two throttle bodies with Chevy’s Computer Command Control system to bring about improved economy and performance through the precise metering of fuel. The engine was rated at 200 horsepower, up from 1981’s 190. Unfortunately, the 4-speed manual tranny was axed in favor of an automatic version for 1982. 1953 and 1954 were the only other model years where this was the case.
All 1982 Corvettes were manufactured in the new Corvette assembly plant located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Corvette production at this facility began in 1981, with 8,995 models coming off the line that year. The 1982 model saw a total production run of 25,407 units. Out of that, 18,648 were coupes, and 6,759 were Collector Editions.
So there we have it. Not a fire-breathing incarnation of the legendary Corvette breed by any stretch, but a significant piece of Chevrolet history, preserved to perfection.
Facts and figures courtesy of: The Corvette Black Book by Mike Antonick