Good Place To Start? 1976 Chevrolet Corvette L82

The seller of this Corvette claims that there might be less than 100 built with the same options. If that kind of thing matters to you, then you may want to take a look. This is obviously a project car, but it’s listed here on eBay with no reserve and some heated bidding!

I’ve owned a few C3 Corvettes and, unless you can afford an earlier car with a big block, the L82 is the one to get. It included the higher-power and better-built 350 V8. You can identify an L82 by those cool finned valve covers and you can confirm that visual by looking for an “X” in the VIN.

The “X” is there, but I’m having a hard time figuring out which options are making this car rare. The 4-speed and Gymkhana suspension are sweet to have, but not super uncommon. Maybe it’s the fact that the transmission is a close ratio unit? Or maybe it’s the rear end gears? The yellow paint?

Maybe some of the Corvette experts can figure out what makes this one so special. Most of the options look like common C3 to me, but perhaps there’s a weird combination here. Anyway, the worst part about this project is that there’s some rust on the frame where it sat in the mud. It’s going to be a big job, but do you think that options list could make this project worthwhile?


  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    To rough for me Jesse, was a looker and fun driver in its day though. 5 years in the mud and that Vega wheel kills it for me. My 1972 came with the same wheel when I bought her. It also included the stock wheel in a box. Maybe someone liked the look or feel better. 1st thing I did was swap to the original wheel. 19 years later I still have it, offered for free. Hopefully to a Vega owner.

    Like 3
  2. NotSure

    Um, no! This car has been trashed 10 ways ‘til Sunday! The admitted frame rust undoubtedly runs all throughout the birdcage. Every body panel has had abuse. Left quarter seems a different shade of yellow. So what was repaired? A front clip and door or the quarter panel? There are several somebodies out there that will want to resurrect this car but not if the bid gets much higher. JMO

    Like 7
  3. Dean

    Amazing how so many sellers refuse to pick up a vacuum. They seem to take the “this is how we found it” approach…hoping to garner more interest? Seems illogical.

    Like 15
    • mjf

      agreed , I guess they want the Barn Find look… lol

      Like 3
  4. cold340t

    I recently passed on a 75′ C3 L82/4spd/ac car for $8500. Now I regret it. Turns out it was one of @106 in that combo. That being said, this car probably is 1 of 100 or so built this way. Auto/L48(low perf. 350) cars are most common.

    Like 2
  5. Tom Member

    As a Corvette owner, having owned many including a 76 just to flip it, facts are facts. If there is anything rare or unique about this car it is cancelled out by 1976. Anything after 1971/72 for many years had poor performance. Close ratio trans is better than an automatic BUT what is it working with, 180 HP? Yes you can beef that up BUT IF you are going to put your hard earned money into a corvette, any year after 1973 is really not a good investment.

    Based upon the lack of care and abuse on this car, the investment to get this car right will put you multiples past what the car is worth.

    You guys know my saying. Put it away, store it correctly, accumulate the restoration parts and bring it out 10 years from now and you MIGHT have something.

    I am a big fan of cars with rare options but there does come a point of saying “this car is one of 76 because they only built 76 with all of these identical options” sorry that is way to far reaching. There was a year where Chevy only built 1 factory black corvette for the wife of one of the GM big wigs, now that is worthy.

    Like 9
    • Ralph

      I don’t get how some people can have fun with a 30hp car but to some people 180hp with a manual transmission just isn’t enough.

      Maybe some people are confident enough in their egos that they can enjoy this car without needing 500hp?

      Like 13
      • Tom Member

        Ralph, not sure where you are going with your comments?

        To answer your comments.

        30hp in a Model T in a Parade or on a country road is a lot of fun.

        We are talking about a Corvette from an era with no performance.

        I am a master detailer so I am more about the show than the GO personally. I don’t need 500 HP. My 72 Vette with a 454 at 290 hp with a Rockcrusher backing it up was a bunch of fun. The 76 I owned was a pretty car to look at but a dog generally speaking. I speak from personal experience. My point is considering the condition of this car, what it was as built, what it could be and what it will take to restore it will be WELL BEYOND what you would ever be able to sell it for probably X 3 or X4 maybe X5.

        Everybody has their tastes. I am looking at this from an investment standpoint.

        Like 10
    • Martin

      The L82 was 210 hp in 1976.

      Like 3
  6. R Soul

    Nothing rare about this car. Tom, not that it makes much difference, but this is an L82 that put out 210 hp. leiniedude, the Vega style steering wheel came on all 76 vettes, and on 77 through 79 with non tilt wheels.

    Like 4
    • Tom Member

      R, thanks for the correction. For that extra 30hp the new owner better put in a roll cage and a race harness !! lol. I guess the 210 feels like 180.

      Like 3
  7. Gaspumpchas

    Good start maybe if it stays reasonable, but you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken $hit. I’d bet the whole frame is toasted , possibly the birdcage, the way the drivers door lines up , the gaps on the pass side also. Could be in a world of hurt, Get a good inspection from a knowledgeable car guy. 180 HP?? that’s sad. Good luck to the new owner.

    Like 6
    • Martin

      210 hp

  8. ACZ

    A great $2500 car. Pure sucker bait.

    Like 3
  9. JoeNYWF64

    I wish i could still buy USA made shop tires like those –> S <— rated grand am's(or grand prix's – from long gone Strauss) WITH THE RUBBER QUALITY THEY USED BACK THEN. They lasted much longer than today's tires – i've had plenty of expensive modern tires that went bad/cracked/gone flat/separated in as little as 6 years with just 10k miles on them! arrgh. But those grand ams i have seen go more than 20 yrs w/o issues!!
    On any '70's vegavette or later, just swap out the steering wheel for a nice aftermarket one of your choice & replace the terribly restrictive converter.
    Put THAT converter on a 60's car or a new challenger along with it's single exhaust & see what happens. You'll lose a LOT of horsepower!

  10. Keith Mann

    I used to own the same year car with the same options. It’s closer to two thousand made. Sadly mine had a crate engine replacement, of which killed the value. Since the end of the big blocks this is the next best thing. A great future collectible!

    Like 1
    • Last 1LE

      There’s nothing there to make this example a great future collectible. It’s one of 46,558 1976 Corvettes — at that time a record and only edged out by 1977 (49,213), 1978 (46,776), 1979 (53,807 — the all-time record) and 1984 (51,547), and none of these are exactly sterling examples of “America’s Sports Car.”
      As for rarity, well,there were 5,720 with the 210hp L82s and 2,088 of those were ordered with the M21 close-ratio four-speed — which was the the sole manual trans offered in 1976 and only with the L82. That ain’t exactly uncommon. Code 56 Bright Yellow was applied to 3,389 Corvettes that year.
      It’s a really rough car with the high probability of serious frame and ‘cage’ rust issues due to it’s bottom side resting in mud for several years, topped by coming from the snow belt (Nebraska). And the 1976 Vettes were the heaviest ever built (3,600-3,700 pounds) and even with the L82 and four-speed, this sorry ol’ car is going to be a dog compared to almost any other model of Corvette except similar years with the 180hp base engine and an automatic.
      As I get ready to hit “Post Comment” the bidding is up to $4,750, which is already probably double what a dubious proposition like this is worth.

      Like 4
  11. Stilbo

    Never mind the thing being trashed cosmetically… the door gaps explain everything about the frame being rotted and sagged beyond use. Also the missing T Top panel was probably missing while it sat in the mud turning the interior into a fishbowl or terrarium.
    This at best is a parts car.
    And as someone else said here, “Sucker Bait”.

    Like 2
  12. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended: Apr 28, 2019 , 8:14PM
    Winning bid:US $4,750.00
    [ 44 bids ]

    Like 1

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