45k Original Miles: 1980 Chevrolet Corvette

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Chevrolet always knew that 1979 would be a tough act to follow with its iconic Corvette. While it was no longer the fire-breathing beast it had been a decade earlier, 1979 brought record sales for the badge. Although sale numbers dropped the following year, a sticker price increase meant the company still turned a tidy profit on the ‘Vette. This 1980 example is a clean driver needing nothing but a new home. It is a turnkey proposition for its new owner, and with 45,000 original miles on the clock, it has years of reliable service to offer. The seller listed it here on Craigslist in Stephenson, Virginia. It could be yours by handing them $15,000, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Rocco B. for spotting this tidy survivor.

As with most years during C3 production, Chevrolet offered a choice of ten paint colors for 1980 Corvette buyers. The Code 10 White cloaking this car was easily the most popular, with more than 19% of buyers selecting that shade. The seller acknowledges the vehicle received a previous repaint, but it is unclear when that happened. The presentation is first-rate, although it would be reasonable to expect an in-person inspection to reveal a few flaws and defects on any car of this vintage. The fiberglass is excellent, and the plastic shows no signs of deterioration. The seller mentions the original owner’s decision to order this classic with the glass T-Top panels. While that is a welcome addition, the fact that more than 48% of buyers chose the option means it isn’t particularly rare. The remaining glass looks excellent, and there are no visible problems with the trim or aluminum wheels.

Powering this Corvette is its numbers-matching 350ci V8 that sends 190hp to the road via a three-speed automatic transmission. Standard equipment includes power assistance for the steering and brakes, but the transmission is probably the best guide to the C3’s evolution. In 1970, 29.5% of buyers chose the self-shifting option, while that total grew to a staggering 85.8% in 1980. This reflects how the Corvette morphed from an outright performance car to a more civilized vehicle that could serve as a practical and effortless daily driver. The journey down the ¼-mile would take 16.2 seconds in this car, with the entry-level auto-equipped ’70 model completing the journey in 15 seconds. How times change! This ‘Vette is in excellent mechanical health and is ready to provide its new owner with immediate motoring enjoyment. The seller claims it has a genuine 45,000 miles on its odometer but doesn’t mention supporting evidence. However, since they appear approachable, they may be willing to answer questions on the matter.

Although the Corvette’s sticker price rose significantly in 1980, the new model year brought an increase in standard equipment. It included air conditioning, power windows, sports mirrors, and a tilt/telescopic wheel. This ‘Vette is 1-of-2,752 ordered with its interior trimmed in Dark Blue leather. The seats show the wrinkles that form part of the character of that material, but there is no significant wear or damage. The lack of scuffing on the outer seat edges is particularly noteworthy and may support the seller’s mileage claim. The remaining upholstered surfaces present well, as do the dash, carpet, and console. If considered purely as a survivor-grade classic, this interior ticks the right boxes for potential buyers.

Corvette sales dropped by more than 20% between 1979 and 1980, and several factors may have been at play to explain the decline. Most people, with their finger on the pulse, knew a replacement was not far away and struggled to justify the expense of spending their hard-earned cash on a car that would soon be outdated. The question of the cost may have weighed heavily on their mind because the sticker price rose by an eye-watering 30% between 1979 and 1980. However, it is worth noting that buyers drove off the lot behind the wheel of the best-equipped cars in C3 history. This one reflects that philosophy, while its overall condition and odometer reading increase its desirability. The seller’s price looks competitive in the current market, and I won’t be surprised if it heads to a new home pretty quickly.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Tbone

    Something seems to be going on with the nose of the car on the drivers side under the headlight. Otherwise presents well and not crazy priced. These seem to be gaining in popularity.

    Like 6
    • Rick

      Very common issue with the last generation C3’s. The plastic nose is almost always warped on the upper surface. Was the same way on my ’82 CE. This one, seems clean, but still overpriced. C3’s haven’t rised in value that much.

      Like 3
  2. Gordon

    Still available?

    Like 0
  3. drew

    1980 Corvettes benefited from a weight reduction, some 250 lbs were removed from the C3 model going forward.

    Like 1
    • Dave

      More aluminum

      Like 1
      • JoeNYWF64

        Is the birdcage aluminum on these? That or stainless steel(like the Unisphere) would be ideal.
        Could you still get cloth seats & exterior chrome mirror(s) in 1980?

        Like 0
      • Frank Sumatra

        1980 Birdcage is good old-fashioned, rust-prone carbon steel. GM spent a little more time and money on rust-proofing C4 components which is why we don’t hear about C4 birdcage issues. Not even sure it is called a birdcage on C4’s

        Like 1
  4. moosie moosie

    A twin to my former C3, mine being an L82. During a refurb I changed to a cloth interior (Blue) , the leather seats took on a few bad areas that wouldn’t clear up. Also resprayed it in a short lived ’89 Corvette color “Pearl White” from its normal factory “Classic White”. Besides the cloth just felt better. Pictured is my Doberman who adopted the car as his, he loved profiling in it.

    Like 8
  5. Gary D. Oliver

    A Corvette with a speedometer that only goes up to 80 MPH. What a joke from GM.

    Like 1
    • Bill Appleton

      That was because of a national 55 mph speed limit and ALL manufacturers were required to have an 85 mph speedometer, NOT a GM thing!

      Like 4
    • NHDave

      GM had no choice in the matter. Regulations passed in 1979 required speedometers of upcoming models to max at 85-mph. While the regs lasted only a few years, most manufacturers waited until a vehicle was redesigned or refreshed before changing the speedometer back to a higher maximum.

      Like 4
    • RL

      The 3 main Vette parts suppliers back in the early 80’s offered a 140 mph and a 160 mph speedo face. You sent them your speedo and it was recalibrated and the new face added for $175. They still do it today at a cost of $350-$425. My 80 L82 has the 140 mph done by the original owner.

      Like 0
  6. George Mattar

    Last year before computers. But boring with automatic.

    Like 0
  7. NovaTom

    15K? That’s what a stripped rusty hulk of a ’69 Charger goes for.

    Like 2

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