Driver Project: 1975 Chevrolet Corvette L82

hidden-corvette

Can you spot the car in this photo? Under all that junk there is a 1975 Corvette which has been parked since 2000. It is far from perfect, but with the most powerful engine option and a manual gearbox, we think it is worth some consideration. The fact that it is offered here on eBay without a reserve is also nice. There are a few issues that need addressing though. Thanks goes to Chip Lamb for the submission!

garage-find-corvette

We love unrestored cars and this Corvette is presented as such. Unfortunately, it has suffered a color change and stereo upgrade at some point so we wouldn’t consider it “unrestored” or original. Still, if you take it for what it actually is, we think it is a good find. This is the sort of vehicle we would buy if we actually wanted to drive it. You would feel guilty ringing out a survivor car, but this one can provide guilt-free fun.

corvette-uncovered

Since this car has been parked for about 13 years, it obviously needs some attention. The seller was able to get it to fire up, but the brakes need an overhaul. The pedal drops to floor and the parking brake is stuck. A rebuilt master cylinder may fix the pedal problem, but we would also want to replace any consumables (rubber hoses, pads, rotors, etc.) while we were at it. The seller mentions that the fuel doesnt smell too bad, but we would go through the fuel system anyway to ensure the maximum performance possible.

corvette-l82-v8

By 1975 emissions control systems were stifling output. This Corvette may have the optional L82 engine, but it was only rated at 205 hp. Even so, this was one of the most powerful cars on the market at the time. Luckily, this one is equipped with a four-speed so it should be a little more lively than a comparable automatic.

1975-corvette-interior

The interior looks great. We would do a thorough detailing and call it a day. Later down the road we would probably source a more period looking head unit. I mean, who really needs a CD player when you have a V8 and a four-speed? A vintage CB would be a nice addition though for those long distance trips and low-budget rallies.

1975-corvette-l82-loaded

This was originally a dark red car, but we like the white over red look so we would leave the exterior alone. We would instead focus our attention on everything under that fiberglass skin. After repairing the brakes and cleaning up the fuel system, we would start driving it. We have found that once you put a car into daily driver duty, the problems preset themselves quickly and you are much more likely to get them fixed.

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Comments

  1. paul

    Hay nice Vette,not many came with a stick, I even like the white color change as is mentioned, the idea of molding in the rear bumper cover looks cool but the soft cover against the fiberglass will always crack at the seam in short order.

  2. Graham Line

    Piling junk on your Corvette is a sure sign you have too much junk.

  3. Chuck

    If this Vette only has 47 K miles, it led a hard life ! Could be a good deal for someone.

    • Joe Howell

      My vote goes for 147,000 miles. Driver’s seat looks well worn…..

  4. swm

    Awfully clean and dust free for a car that has supposedly been sitting for so long.

  5. rancho bella

    This is when GM should have stopped making Corvettes and started up again about five years ago. I’ll just leave it at that………………..

    • Jeff V.

      Excluding of course the 90′ ZR1 IMO ;)

    • paul

      Yes they were down on HP, quality etc, but so was everything else made here at that time, the gas crisis hit , the bumper / crash / safety / smog etc, etc it was a forgettable time for the automobile industry foreign & domestic. This is when gray market cars was a hot item because they didn’t have the ugly bumpers/ lights / smog crap.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      The more I look at this one, the more I think it was staged…

  6. Dolphin Member

    Agreed it looks too clean to have sat so long without any attention, but not so clean that I would accept the low mileage without some evidence to document it. But….”barn fresh” !??? I don’t think that’s remotely in this picture.

    But, that said, what you see is what you get, and if the bidding doesn’t get crazy this could be a good driver for someone who likes the cars from this era. But with 29 bids already with more than 7 days left this will probably end up being fully priced when the bidding ends.

  7. Blindmarc

    Only at 4500 now. That’s a great deal for someone.

  8. Dave

    Question for the true Corvette experts: The VIN and some of the other photos clearly place this as a ’75, if I’m not mistaken. But the script on the rear doesn’t look right to me. Most 75s I know/knew had individual letters spread between the back-up lights, spelling C O R V E T T E.

    Seemed like the condensed script debuted in 1976. But maybe I’m getting old and my memory is rusty. Mid-year change, or hallucination? TIA!

    • rancho bella

      I don’t recall a factory installed Corvette badge on the gas filler lid either……but hey,
      I don’t know everything

      • Dave

        rancho bella – I do, but that’s only because I washed the ’75 that caused me to make my first comment. Strange what the mind retains….I can still smell and feel that car, and I was only 10 at the time. (Yes, I had help from the owner since I wasn’t tall enough yet.)

    • paul

      I think the 75 used a 2 part rear cover, left & right,I think, so the guy could have molded the vertical seam & used whatever emblem he wanted or the rear cover was changed to another year ( salvage yard ) & it came with what ever emblem in any case what you are seeing is the adhesive of an emblem that fell off.

      • Dave

        Good call, Paul. I seem to remember the ’74 having the split molded bumper, and the ’75 being solid with the same script. But prior body damage and a replacement seems to be a plausible explanation.

      • paul

        Yes I wasn’t sure of the year of the split bumper, but it was used 1 year.

  9. Charles

    Could be a sweet ride!

    It looks OK in white, but for me it would have to be restored back to the original color. Why would anyone paint a red Corvette white?

    That rust on the frame rail looks like it needs further investigation. I would probably set the body off and refinish the chassis.

    As for that rear bumper, it looks cool, but needs to be put it back to the original configuration.

    Probably 147K miles. Too much wear on the interior for 47K.

  10. alan

    Maybe the reason the rear bumper is blended in is because the color change occurred when the car was rear ended and it got ‘glassed all back together.

  11. jim s

    this dealer has some other interesting cars for sale also. on this one i would do the ” make it safe and then drive it ” deal. be interesting to see where the bidding does end. i have to wonder why the dealer did not fix the brakes/fuel system before listing car. i would think it would bring much more money that way. great find

  12. dave

    isnt that model not worth that much

  13. Jim-Bob

    What’s sad is that the most powerful Corvette of 1975 is slow compared to the most powerful minivan of today, and about on par with a cheap Kia Rio. Still, for the money it’s going for now, it’s still offers a lot of bang for your buck. Plus, it’s powered by a Chevy 350, the cheapest engine on the planet to get horsepower out of.

    • Jeff V.

      I believe 75′ was the first year of the catalytic converter which on top of all the government emissions choked every car on the road.

      • Jim-Bob

        Yup, and it’s the super-inefficient pellet bed style of cat too. Just swapping it out for a modern honeycomb matrix cat would probably be worth 10-15 hp on it’s own.

  14. Charles

    75 was the first year for cat’s on all cars.

    Guess that is a problem for states that make owners maintain emissions controls on old cars.

    Lucky for us in the south, most states here exempt vehicles from 1995 and older from emissions testing.

    My 82 TA with 24k miles on it still smells like burning rags when running. The original pancake style cat is still functional. I’ll bet this Corvette either has the cat removed, or gutted because they typically don’t last that long.

  15. Charles

    75 was the first year for cat’s on all cars. Those pancake style units on the 70’s and 80’s cars were not very effective and had a lifespan of about 40K miles. Typically the inside melts, plugs up the exhaust flow, and then the thing overheats. I had a GM truck that melted the inside of the cat, then the thing overheated, burned the paint off of the floorboards melted the wiring, burnt the insulation, and melted the carpet backing on the inside of the cab.

    Guess that is a problem for owners in states that make owners maintain emissions controls on old cars.

    Lucky for us in the south, most states here exempt vehicles from 1995 and older from emissions testing.

    My 82 TA with 24k miles on it still smells like burning rags when running. The original pancake style cat is still functional. I’ll bet this Corvette either has the cat removed, or gutted because they typically don’t last very long.

  16. Andrew

    Original except for the paint color….and the emblems…..and the molded in bumper…..and the radio

  17. Charles

    Not original, but could be a whole bunch of fun.

  18. Cameron

    Unmolested and unrestored Corvette? Come on, with a repaint, a color change, a molded in rear bumper. Also looking at pictures the rear 1/4 panel and front bumper is a different shade of white. So, maybe a repaint, then hit & that is when rear end was molded in? Barn find term is about as lame as name dropping or aftermarket HiD conversions…. Obviously a “staged” barn find, with items carefully placed. And Barn find??? Who cares!! It just means the car was not put away or stored properly. On a good note, mileage could be legit as my mother has a 77 Vette that is ALL original and owned since new with 60.000 on it and babied since new & driver’s seat has about the same wear on it, if not more. Just my $0.02

  19. Larry

    Looks to me like a 147,000 miles, not only is the seat worn but the clutch and brake pedals are very worn on the edges, but all that put aside I think this would make someone a real nice driver, this car has a lot of potential and if the price stays low enough it could be a good deal. who ever gets it I hope they enjoy the hell out of it.

  20. Charles

    If that car only has 47K miles, those have been some rough miles.

    My 82 Trans Am has 24K miles, and my 86 has 30K miles. Neither car has any signs of wear on any of the interior parts.

    • sj

      How do you explain the matching numbers block. Suffix code denotes 1975 L82???

  21. dj

    It’s not a real L82. L82 Had a 6000 redline on the tach. This one has a 5300 which means it’s the L48 low hp 350

    • Jeff V.

      Nice call!

    • dj

      I just looked at the VIN. It does denote an L82 option on the car but the tach is wrong for the engine.

  22. Charles

    It sounds like the car was created from a bunch of odd pieces and parts.

    • dj

      Yeah this is a put together car. I like the orange paint on the a/c bracket. I’m sure that’s factory. LOL A friend of mine bought a 77 Corvette. He had me come look at it. He was so proud of it. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it had a 73-74 front clip on it.

  23. sfallison

    This is a 75 with a 76 fiberglass rear end. The Corvette script is wrong for 75 ( 75 had C O R V E T T E) The gas cap is correct with the emblem on it.
    74 had the split-tail. The Tach is on the wrong side, and the gauge panel has been replaced with an aftermarket DIN radio style. Looks like the smog equipment and cat have been removed. I did the same thing on my 75. I left the rear end with the lines, but molded the front end in (hate the lines on the front).

  24. Foxxy

    I’m not a vette guy so I don’t know much about the different years. I keep wondering if those little piles it left on the garage floor they look like fine rust to me but might not be, I taken rust like that out of rusted brakes before. it just caught my eye. I wanted a vette bad when I was young, but ended up with a family instead. I think the family was a better deal.

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