Grandma’s Vette: 1980 Chevy Corvette

My grandmother, a wonderful human being by most accounts, desired to own a Volvo 240 wagon in her retirement years. I don’t know why – just that the old silver 240 was a sign of a life well lived, in her book. This 1980 Chevrolet Corvette also belonged to a grandma who had a slightly different outlook, and is listed here on craigslist by the offspring of the grandparents that took it home new from the dealer in 1980.

The Corvette is said to have 34,000 original miles and a wicked pair of old-school California vanity plates. I can’t help picturing grandma wearing a leather jacket and high-heeled shoes on her way to whatever popular cover band was performing that weekend. I’m sure this is all an exaggeration, of course, but the combination of a cherry red Corvette and “REDROZE” license plates just lets the imagination run wild.

The low mileage claims seem buoyed by the impressive cosmetic condition, which includes a dusty but otherwise unmarred exterior and closely matched red leather cabin accompanied by red carpeting. This deep shade of cherry red is just everywhere; I wonder if that was a custom order or it if was sitting on the showroom floor just like this before grandma laid her eyes on it and decided she had to have it. No surprises here to see the Corvette comes with the popular automatic transmission option.

While the Corvette does appear to be in impeccable condition, it hasn’t run in two decades and will likely require an extensive list of maintenance updates in order to run reliably again. I’m sure the full assortment of fluids, belts, and hoses will be needed before a startup is attempted, but these are fairly simple cars under the hood with a robust network of spare parts to rely on. Whatever happens, those plates need to stay with the car.


  1. Bob McK Member

    Tough condition for 34,000 miles. How did that seat get so worn?

    Like 7
    • Ray Smith

      Looking at the seat and carpet it looks like it was cooked from the sun. I would really be interested to see if the paint has any sun damage. If the paint is still good this may be a good starting point for a fun project.

      Like 6
    • JoeNYWF64

      Seats might have been switched. Only a 4500 rpm redline?

    • Last 1LE

      1980 Corvettes’ odometers read to 99,999.9 miles and rolled back to ZERO when the car hit 100,000.0 miles. By the wear visible though out the interior “Granny’s” ’80 Vette has racked up at least 134,000 miles and the whole Grandma’s car routine sounds like a Craigslist scam. A California-spec 1980 Corvette is about the least desirable Corvette in existence. If this was priced at $3,900 (half the asking price) it might be a good buy — if the buyer could do most of the needed work rather than farm it out to professionals. Otherwise this thing is a loser ‘cuz there are lots of better C3s out there. The only positive I see for this car is that it’s California car, the plates would’ve been issued sometime in the 1980s, and that Santa Maria is a dry, somewhat inland region on the southern end of the Central Coast so there shouldn’t be a lot of structural rust issues

      Like 1
  2. Steve R

    It’s too much money for a 1980, 305 powered Corvette that needs interior work, need new tires and major service to the brakes, cooling and engine just to get it drivable. There is no mention if the cars registration has been brought up to date or if a non-op is on file with the state. If neither has been done that will involve significant cost and hassle to a potential buyer before it can be driven. Then there is the claim it was owned by the sellers grandmother, that is a common lie. I follow several flippers on eBay, every car they sell has been family owned since new, grandma is particularly useful for this scam, since nobody ever questions that claim. It’s an easy way to fool buyers into paying extra.

    As always, the cars condition is all that should matter, other than the story the seller spins, this should be a $3,500 car.

    Steve R

    Like 12
  3. Ikeyheyman

    The ask is high but at the right price this could be a good driver for somebody. C’mon seller, at the least, make the effort to push it out and wash it.

    Like 5
  4. Bakyrdhero

    My neighbor has this cars twin. Same year and same Cherry interior. It might be too much red for some people, but’s it’s truly stunning in person and shined up.

    Like 1
  5. Camaro Joe

    Steve’s correct to be careful of this one. The passenger’s seat looks worse than a lot of 100,000 mile cars. I replaced the dome light timer in my cousin’s “known from original owner, two owner,” 44,000 mile 82 Corvette today with the same interior and this one looks like junk compared to his. His was garaged in PA in bad weather, but California sun doesn’t cause a hole in the seat clear to the foam. Either Grandma beat it or it has a lot more than 32K miles on it.

    Like 2
    • gbvette62

      I have to agree. I’m guessing that mileage is probably more a little more than the claimed 34,000. I have an 81 I bought new, that has 44K on it, and other than a little wear on the driver’s seat side bolster, my interior looks nearly showroom new.

      Looking at the overspray on the b-pillar weatherstrip in one picture, and the fact that the nose and gas door emblems are gone, I’m sure the car’s had at least one repaint.

      The 1980 California only 305 was the absolute low point in Corvette performance, and though relatively rare, this is one of those situations where rare, does not equate with desirable.

      Like 2
    • Andy

      I zoomed in on the pic with the steering wheel, and can get a vague look at the gas and brake pedals. That gas pedal, upper right corner, appears to be worn to the metal. My money is on the odometer having already made one trip around…

      Caveat emptor on this one…

      Like 4
  6. rod444

    The good part is the ’80 305 was utterly gutless and there would be no guilt in yanking and selling it to pay for a couple of coffee breaks.

    Now you’ve got room for a 350 ZZ4 or the ubiquitous ‘LS swap’ to give it some zip when you punch the skinny pedal.

    7800 seems a tad high for a 305 Vette but I bet there would be takers at 6000 if the shine is holding up under all that dust.

    Like 1
  7. JimmyJ

    Is it just me or is the rear emblem crooked?

  8. Bakyrdhero

    I thought it looked crooked also Jimmy..

  9. brianashe

    Overpriced. You can get a running 1980 in comparable shape for about this price. Sitting 20 years, this will need a lot of things. And as much as I love Corvettes, there’s not a strong need to keep this CA-only 305 in original condition.

  10. Steven Wilson

    I am truly a fan of the Corvette, but when someone claims granny drove it, why in the heck would she need a volvo? No offense to Volvo people out there. There are to many signs of too much wear. I have a 55 merc with 59680 miles and my interior a little faded but it’s still in great shape. People should post what’s true, this would make our car hobby just that a hobby, $7800.00 that’s close to what it cost new, ok 15,000 new but you understand. Other example are going for $3500.00 upwards. Just saying.

  11. Ike Onick

    Red on red on red on red (two for the bumpers) are an abomination.

  12. Bob McK Member

    Know how much I dislike the 80 Vette? A friend of mine offered me one for free. I turned it down. I love almost every year, but the 80 is a dog.

    • Terry R Melvin

      You think that’s a dog? Try the Cross-Fire ’84.

      Like 1
  13. Steve

    The dust on the car throws me off. Other than the lawn chairs nothing Else is dusty. Even the floor is somewhat clean. But maybe it’s just me. I agree with the others. The vette has been well used ,

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