Fix Up Or Part Out? 1980 Chevrolet Corvette

This poor Corvette has been parked outside in Virginia Beach for the past 12 years. It’s dirty and a few parts are missing, but it would be a shame to just let such a good looking sports car go to waste! Find it here on eBay where it’s listed with no reserve and let us know if you think it’s worth rescuing.

The exterior is rough and it doesn’t look like the interior fared much better. I’m not seeing much here that could be used for parts if one were to go that route. Luckily, you can upholstery kits and trim pieces easily. I’d be more worried about the condition of the structure hiding under that fiberglass body though.

Any serious rust would be the deal breaker here, so ask for more photos before bidding. After dragging this home, you’ll probably want to yank out that anemic V8 and install something more potent. That was about the least powerful 350 you could get so something with higher compression might be a good idea.

The body appears to be in good condition under that layer of dirt. Or is it oxidation? This generation of Corvette may not be the most popular, but with the values of earlier cars getting so high, they are a good alternative if you want something to drive. So, would you attempt to fix this one or should it just get sent to big scrapyard in the sky?

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  1. slickb

    It would be a kinda fun father ad son project.
    I wouldn’t just want it for myself I am not really a fan of the 80’s corvettes

    • Poppapork

      There are better examples out there for 3k. This thing is not repairable, parked outside for 12 years! ITS GONE look at the underhood rust thats not normal for cars with hoods on to rust like that, ypu can get a nice running and driving late c3 for 5 grand. PS. And i would consider a 79 for a stronger diff that was replaced with a diff/crossmember combo in 1980, if you like the looks of the early 80 bumper covers you can get them from ecklers corvette to retrofit on an earlier model. You can even put a chrome bumper conversion on it and it looks sick with the bubble glass:

    • Peter421sd

      It seems like you guys like drama,this is about to be the cheapest,easiest car to restore in the whole world,if you think this is expensive or complicated maybe classic car restoration is not your cup of tea,collecting stamps or baseball cards perhaps ?

  2. CanuckCarGuy

    I started looking at C4s as an affordable way of updating my bucket list, but the C3s (pre ’78) have started to get more of my attention. Good price point, less technology, easier engine mods, better holding power on payback?

    • Poppapork

      Why pre 78?

      • CanuckCarGuy

        Personal taste only, but I’m not a fan of the bubble back window…like the C5, where I prefer the Z06 styling.

    • Pa Tina

      Careful with C3’s. You will need stainless-steel lined brakes, the rear wheel bearings have a tendency to let go resulting in losing a wheel at speed. These issues were corrected with the C4. 92-96 C4 is the best entry point

      • gbvette62

        All 65-82 Corvettes used the same brake calipers. While they do have a habit of leaking, it’s really more of a seal issue. Pitting of the piston bore was once a problem, but most Corvettes have had their calipers replaced by stainless steel sleeved ones by now. Even with stainless sleeves, leaking seals are a possibility, but calipers are available today with o-ring seals, which greatly reduces leaking, in comparison to the old lip seal calipers.

        Though rear trailing arm bearings are known to fail, mainly because it’s not possible to grease them, I’ve never heard of them causing a Corvette to lose a wheel. In extreme cases of failure they tend to seize, but not lose a wheel. Normally they tend to squeal, or make other load noises, long before they get to the point where they might seize. In fact, I think it’s almost impossible to loose a rear wheel on a Corvette. Even if you broke a spindle, the brake caliper keeps the wheel in place. We’ve torn up a lot of Corvette rear end parts on our race cars, like spindles, bearings, half shafts, etc., and never lost a wheel.

        The 84-96 Corvettes have plenty of issues of their own, such as the digital dashes and steering racks. In comparison, there are far more parts available for the pre 84 cars, often for a lot less money than similar 84-96 parts.

    • Pa Tina

      Seeing how the C4 production run doesn’t all have full digital dashboards and the steering rack issues have probably been addressed as the C3 brakes have been, I would still suggest a 92-96 as the entry point, “Bucket List” Corvette. Each to his/her own.

  3. R Soul

    You would want to get this one cheap…it would take at least $10,000 to get this thing respectable again.

    • Poppapork

      Nonsense 10g gets you fresh paint, this thing is rusted out! Look at the underhood rust! The bird cage must be gone…

      I dont even see 1g worth of parts there, engine is a 2 bolt rusted in and out (no carb ), diff core is gone due to scaling rust. Glass and some trim, headlights…

      • Superdessucke

        People really underestimate restoration costs. I don’t know about 10k but a good quality thorough respray is at least 5k. Add in interior, suspension, engine, brake, tires, trim, and fuel system work and you’re into this thing for 30k by my rough guessmeter, assuming you run into no nasty surprises.

  4. Classic Steel

    It’s a 2000 dollar car !

    Paint 8-10 thousand

    Interior 1200 min as it a Corvette $$

    Engine fuel system and rebuild 2000 min

    Wait these only bring with Automatics
    10 to12 in great shape 😅💰💰💰

    Luv the one eye freaky look!
    They make electronic pop up conversions or rebuild kits as the vacuum canisters are probably
    good if u must save the Corvette
    So now it’s a parts car to strip items …

    • Dan in Texas

      Nutz to a 10k paint job. Do it yourself with a roller!

      I have done this on a couple of beaters, and the results looked pretty good. Not all cars need to have all the money spent on them. I used to be pretty pleased when they were running, let alone fully restored.

      • AMCFAN

        I am thinking by using a paint roller would make it look like a better parts car. Great idea. Not!

      • Dan in Texas

        AMCFan: Why so negative? Did you even look at the article?

    • Poppapork

      OkBro did you see the pictures of the rust? What kind of 2000 engine and fuel system rebuild are you talking about? It needs everything gutted out and replaced under the hood not to mention THE FRAME AND BIRDCAGE MUST BE GONE IF EVERYTHING UNDER A CLOSED HOOD IS RUSTED TO SH!T.

      1200 on interior? Not even close….

      Parts car? What parts? Fiberglass parts are hard to sell due to size and.shiping, same.with glass….

    • grant

      Who the F pays 10k for paint? If you do the prep yourself, and the color sanding/buffing/trim reinstall yourself, you can get excellent results for $2500.

  5. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Buy a decent driver. They are all over and reasonably easy to purchase for not much ching.

  6. Suttree

    Around here these big window C3s and C4s end up out to pasture. Too good to junk, too expensive to fix. They’re not sitting everywhere but they are around.
    I’ve never seen anybody take a ragged C4 and get it back on the road and here you could put any drivetrain and exhaust in it and go.

    • Poppapork

      Can you specify your location?

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      There is an early 80’s Corvette parked beside a barn 10 minutes from my place. It’s been there at least ten years. Really a looker when parked, after about five years the tires were gone. Saw them on there hay wagon later.

  7. Suttree

    Let’s just say 200 miles from Atlanta.

    • Poppapork

      Thanks, too bad these cars dont store too well outdoors, bridcage rust killed manY projects…

  8. Pa Tina

    Buy one you can drive tomorrow for 10,000. They are all over the place.

  9. mike D

    very sad looking… seller is right.. parts car

  10. bull

    Good car for a convertible conversion and rebuild.

  11. ACZ

    Best to donate it to the local high school auto shop. Corvette Summer revisited.

  12. Jack Quantrill

    This car is winking at the poor fool who buys this!

  13. Norm Miller

    Well. it appears to be winking.
    Wonder what it’s hiding?

  14. Henryfrederick

    The late c3 ,s are sharp in my opinion. I know they don’t have much of a following. I sold my 74 stingray last yr. To have funds to finish my cuda project. Then found my 80 l48 for 2500.00. Only needed paint and some interior work. A nice driver. Cost just under 1k for paint and supplies. Lots of prep work. Luckily I can do all my work in my shop. Glad I learned how to paint. Otherwise could not afford it. If you enjoy working on them don’t be afraid to pick up a paint gun.

  15. Stu

    My heartfelt condolences. To whom do I send the flowers?

  16. Jermey

    Take to a wrecker. Second photo shows the drivers seat cushion has been soaked and the automatic shifter is rusty. This car has been water logged for quite sometime. Maybe from a hurricane or other act of nature.

  17. Curt

    That seems real high for just the tail light lenses.the only good parts i can see..

  18. wes

    Used to live at the beach. A running car will rust away if not looked after, this dream machine is a goner..

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