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Hi all,

Well about 4 months ago I bought a 93 Z28 Camaro Black with the 6spd. Not a bad car. About three days later my brother drove home in an 88 Vette. My Camaro has sucked ever since.

I always thought of Vettes as the really cool car I would never own. Now I find myself able to afford one. I've been shopping and find a lot of "needy" vettes and "expensive" vettes.

The coolest Vette of all is the C3. It's the picture that always comes to my mind when I think Vette. I'm having trouble deciding on a year though.

Here's basically what I'm looking for... I want to modify the drivetrain, keeping a stock exterior. I'll be shooting for 300 rwhp +. My biggest worry is remaining emission compliant. I've looked mostly at the 81 and 82. 82 has the crossfire so I think I'll probably skip it. And the only bothersome thing about the 81 is the computer (how difficult will it be to modify). Well any suggestions you've got on the pros and cons of the C3 years would be appreciated. I hope to be joing the ranks soon.
First you need to decide which year group you want. We have a wide virarty of body changes though the run of C-3's. Chrome bumpers are nice, vertical back windows keep the sun out of the interior, convertables are cool, and the 80 and up nose makes the car look long and low. Plenty to choose from.
After you've narrowed the year group down plan on what you want to do with the car;
1. Park it in the garage and do a frame up restroation.
2. Drive and maintain/restore as you go.
3. Drive.
I have chosen option 2 and spend 200 to 450 per month on parts. I plan on being complete in 2 years.
If you are going to chose option 2 or 3 shop carefully, a nice paint job isn't worth a hoot if you've got to rebuild the entire suspension.
Good luck on your shopping.

Welcome to the Corvette Action Center and good luck on your search. Sometimes the search is the most fun! :)
I'm thinking '80

I do like the soft nose looks, the thing that bothers me is when searching for performance engines GM specifically says their crate motors are for 75 and earlier or 73 and earlier.
At present I anticipate buying within the next two months.
Go C-4 fo Performance

For looks, you can't beat the 80-82's

If you want performance, think about a 1974 or earlier Big-Block ( 73 & 74 big blocks are reasonably priced )

Best "Bang for the Buck" is a 1985 to 1991 L98 motor Corvette. Good prices :) , Great Torque :eek , Hard to beat on the street. Lots of parts available for these cars also.

Just my opinion!

Oh!, and consider a convertible model too! very cool :cool

:w Welcome KK1727, :w

As you can see there are a lot of '81 owners here and we all love our cars. If you want the same look but not the computor go for a '80. Hold out for a nice car and have it checked by a trusted Corvette specialist before you buy it. My choice in a '80 would be a L82/4-speed. Probably in yellow for Arizona. Good luck in your search.

The '80 is pretty much what I've been thinking. I'm going to talk to a shop this weekend about motors/emissions, so that I get an idea of where I'll be able to go with it.

I've found many '81's but not quite as many '80's. With the 81 I think I'll have broader range of choices as far as options/colors go. I found two this last weekend at Cn'V corvette here in Arizona both for about 14K. Beautiful White with tan interior. Cn'V seems to be a bit pricier than the privately owned I've looked at. On the other hand their vettes look to be in excellent condition with the interiors almost like new and low mileage motors too.

I've ruled out the '82 because of the Crossfire. But I'm still considering the 70-72 years. I just haven't decided if I really care for the vertical window or not. I've promised myself so far to not compromise on what I want, that way I'll find the vette that I can keep forever.

It's a toss up between what I can do for the drivetrain and still be emission compliant and the body styling.

If you go with the '70-72 convertible, you don't have to worry about the vertical window. :D Besides, living in AZ I would think that would be the best choice?

Happy hunting!

Also don't forget that the rear window is removable on '68 to '72s.


I think you will enjoy any year shark body corvette you decide to get. As an owner of an 81, I enjoy going places and doing alot with other corvette people.

As for GM motors. We put in a GM crate engine last year. We weren't after power just something that runs smooth. I am very happy with it. We still have the original storerd in the garage. Maybe someday we will get it rebuilt.

Keep us posted as to your search and what you decide to get.

I talked to a couple shops this weekend, and I feel much better. I've decided on the '80. Now I have to find the right one. The engine shops I talked to said I should have no problem approaching the 270 hp mark at a fairly decent price. Another told me they might be able to get 300-350 maximum and still be emissions compliant. That being known I can have the car I like the looks of most. Of course I could always throw on a supercharger and not have it on during emissions testing... hmmmm.
1980 L82 4-Speed ????

Sorry to be the bearer if bad news, but there are no 1980 L82 4-Speeds, unless they have a motor change.. :D

The 1980 4-Speed came with the L48.. The one I had ran strong and with most L82's in autocross racing. (Back in 80-82). Good Luck in your search..
L82/4 speed

How right you are Bud. I always thought otherwise but I just checked and you were right as usual. I would. have thought the 4 speed only available with the L82. Oh well, with that extra horsepower a 5 or 6 speed would be better. Or a 700R4 if staying with the auto.

Please forgive my doubt, oh great Yoda.

L-82 4/Speed

RARE81, you are definitely right, The story I heard was that GM didn't have time for the L-82 4-speed to get emission qualified?!

I like my 80 for the reason thats its NOT a 4-speed, here in Charlotte Traffic, those clutches can wear a leg out...for that I have my LT-1 convertible.hehe

I would go with the 80 since like you said , no computer, drop in an American Speed 383 stroker motor (500 hp/525 tq) 700r auto and a 3.73 gear along with some coated headers, oh and don't forget the Edlebrock DUAL quad set-up THAT WILL fit under the hood (it did on mine!) and ENJOY!

good luck on your choice!

When I began my Vette search I used the following guidlines for myself. I wanted to spend no more than $10,000, I wanted a pre-emission version(68-72 for me), numbers matching didn't matter, and I wanted a 4sp. I figured that if this is something I alone will work on, I wanted to keep the emisions and computers out of the pic. I wanted to free myself of all the regulations.

Well it took me 2 years but I found a slightly modified '70 L-46 that I've been slowly bringing back to life. I just finished a front suspension/steering rebuild. The previous owner wanted $10,000 and I got it for $7,600. I'd buy another 68-72 in a minute, this time though I'd opt for a BB.


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