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350/4-Speed: 1978 Chevrolet Corvette Silver Anniversary

Chevrolet had two reasons to celebrate its iconic Corvette’s achievements in 1978. It had been selected as the Official Pace Car for that year’s Indianapolis 500, with the company releasing 6,502 Pace Car Replicas to maximize the sales potential this honor presented. It was also twenty-five years since the first Corvette appeared on showroom floors. Chevrolet marked the occasion by releasing a Silver Anniversary Edition. It was a purely cosmetic package, and almost ⅓ of all buyers that year ticked the box on their Order Form. Our feature car is a tidy survivor with no pressing needs. Its new owner could address its few faults easily in a home workshop, and doing so would lift its presentation while only costing a few dollars. The seller has listed the ‘Vette here on Craigslist in Brentwood, New Hampshire. They set their price at $17,900, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder PRA4SNW for spotting it.

Chevrolet hadn’t offered a two-tone paint job on a Corvette since 1961, but both special editions released in 1978 saw the return of that feature. The Indy Pace Car scored Black and Silver, but the Silver Anniversary Edition rolled off the line with a more subtle combination of Silver and Gray. The seller confirms the car underwent a repaint but doesn’t specify when this happened. It presents well, with a healthy shine and no evidence of significant flaws or deterioration. The fiberglass is in good order, and the seller doesn’t mention rust issues with the frame or birdcage. The glass, including the roof panels, is crystal clear. The only cosmetic shortcoming I can spot is oxidization on the aluminum wheels. It isn’t severe, and a few hours of hard labor with a high-quality metal polish should address that minor issue. Otherwise, this Corvette appears to have no cosmetic needs.

Lifting the hood reveals a confusing aspect of this Corvette. The company only offered a 350ci V8 to power its 1978 model, and the seller and VIN both indicate this should be the more potent L82 version producing 220hp and 260 ft/lbs of torque. However, this motor looks like the entry-level L48 powerplant. It lacks its sibling’s distinctive valve covers, intake, and dual-snorkel air cleaner, meaning the driver would have 185hp and 280 ft/lbs of torque. The seller doesn’t mention an engine change as part of this car’s history, but they appear approachable and willing to answer questions. Whichever version of the small-block this is, it sends its power to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. Power assistance for the steering and brakes ensures the driver won’t raise a sweat maneuvering this classic. The four-speed is worth noting because only 17% of buyers elected to undertake shifting duties themselves. The car is in excellent mechanical health and ready to hit the road with a new owner behind the wheel.

Ordering a Silver Anniversary Corvette brought a choice of three interior trim colors, with this car’s original owner ticking the box for Black leather. Its overall presentation is good for a driver-grade classic, with no faults or flaws that would prompt a retrim. The upholstered surfaces and dash look excellent, while the console exhibits a few minor marks and scratches that confirm the vehicle has seen active service. The carpet is slightly frayed near the driver’s left foot, but it is hard to tell whether the shortcoming could be addressed without replacing it. An aftermarket radio/cassette player occupies the spot typically reserved for the factory unit, and that appears to be the only addition. The new owner receives air conditioning, power windows, and power locks to make life in this Corvette enjoyable.

This 1978 Corvette Silver Anniversary Edition is a tidy driver. It should provide its new owner with an enjoyable driving experience and has no pressing needs. The buyer’s price is in the ballpark if the engine is confirmed as an L82, but it would be slightly optimistic if it is the less potent L48. If that is the case, the seller may need to compromise on their price, but it would still be a strong contender for an enthusiast seeking a turnkey classic. The engine question is the greatest unknown, so which do you think it is?


  1. Robert Proulx

    Also missing the air ducting in front of the air cleaner. Also was the a.i.r. system removed, i was under the impression that most had it. Nice machine and stick shift it could be a keeper

    Like 3
  2. JoeNYWF64

    I thought cat converters did away with air pumps.

    Is this vette sittin a little high in the back?

    I could never understand why ’70s vettes did not get the GM windshield radio antenna used on many GM cars, including f-bodies.

    Like 3
  3. George Mattar

    4 speeds 78s had A.I.R. Rare to see 4 speed. Only way to go in a Corvette.

    Like 4
  4. Frank Sumatra

    Fifth digit in the VIN should be a 4 if it an L-82.

    Like 1
    • Billy

      Forth digit is a 7. What does that mean? I don’t have any way of looking up that information.

      Like 1
    • Tim Loving Member

      Hi Frank. That may be for that year only. I have a 79 L-82 and the fifth digit is not a 4. My copy of the original invoice from the dealer Sales Deal Sheet, states L-82 and 2 other documents other than the obvious hood ornament which could be put on by anyone.
      Hope you are doing well. It has been a while.. Tim

      Like 2
    • Frank Sumatra

      I will try and find the NCRS judging sheets from my 1979 L-82. According to an NCRS handbook I have from 1997 the codes for 1978 and 1979 would be 1Z87L8S400001 for 1978 base engine and 1Z8789S400001 for 1979 base. L-82 would be 1Z874…for 1978 and 1979. The engine codes are also stamped on the machined pad on the right front side of the block. 1978 code should be CMR for L82 4-Speed, and CMS for L-82 automatic. 1979 should be ZBA 4-speed and ZBB automatic. I need a beer!

      Like 3
      • Frank Sumatra

        I guess the judging sheets went with the car when I sold it.

        Like 0

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