Just Needs Brakes: 1981 Corvette

It looks like this Corvette has received some custom touches, but it looks to mostly be cosmetic. The seller doesn’t offer much information, but claims it has been parked for the past 17 years. It’s going to need brake work and a transmission pan gasket, but apparently runs great. The bright red interior looks to be in nice shape and overall, the body doesn’t look too bad. With a good cleaning, a tune up and some new brake components, this could actually be a decent driver! You can find this Corvette here on eBay in Rochester, New York with a BIN of $5,999 and the option to make an offer.

This wasn’t the best year for the Corvette, the 350 V8 was rated at just 190 horsepower. With some bolt on upgrades though, you can squeeze a bit more power out of it. If everything is in good shape mechanically, you could install a new intake manifold and carburetor and have a fun driver. The bright red paint and interior is a bit over the top, but it’s definitely eye catching!

Fast Finds


  1. Bill

    The hood isn’t original and the air dam kit would have to go. Paint looks chalky in spots. Unfortunately, getting it back to factory would cost far more than it would ever be worth.

    • Mike H. Mike H

      Isn’t that the interesting bit about the C3’s? If somebody wants one that is just like brand-new they are out there, available, and “reasonably” priced. But, something like this car? I doubt that anyone – likely even most purists – would buy this car in an attempt to bring it back to bone stock. Someone would have to really like the mods on there already, or have the Mark Hamill-ish desire to build something even crazier out of it.

      • AMXSTEVE

        now that’s cool

      • Mike H. Mike H

        AMXSTEVE – Have you never seen the movie? It’s truly awful, but wonderful to watch in its late 1970’s beauty. Starring Mark Hamill of “Star Wars” fame, and Annie Potts who went on to star on “Designing Women” a decade later.

        The car is a travesty, but the RHD was a novelty. It looked pretty awful from the rear especially . .

  2. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Not a bad project if you could get the guy to back off on his price a little bit.


    Way high but if any car were worthy of an LS1 swap it’s this one.

  4. Rabbit

    Actually, for the 45 minute drive, it might be worth a look. If nothing else it could be a decent driver.

  5. Greg NJ2SC

    Ad says contact Hugh, title pic shows name as christopher.

  6. erikj

    I just talked to him. Sounds like a honest dude. He will send pics. of the frame (rust look out-new York). We will see what the final price ends at. I hope not to high-got shipping to deal with.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Good luck!

      Keep us posted.

      This last models of C3 have really grown on me as an inexpensive fun car with lots of potential.

    • Pa Tina

      I’m in Rochester. Where are you located?

  7. Dubois

    Hello ,a little question :
    The speedometer ends at 80 miles/hour,this car doesn’t go faster ?

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      This was a federal mandate back then, along with highlighting the federal speed limit of 55. My 81 Camaro had the same thing, but the needle kept moving if you went faster than that.

  8. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    All Corvettes are red, best of luck erikj.

  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Here’s a really nice ’80 L82 that I saw at a recent Corvette show.

    • Pa Tina

      The one in the ad might also be an L82. Was this one 4-speed?

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        No, it was an automatic.
        There were no manual L82s made in 1980, although there is a rumor that there were some made very early in production.

        When I met this owner, he had no idea what L82 meant. I gave him a great C3 education.

  10. Pa Tina

    “Watch out for the NY rust”. Does anyone realize these cars are parked a minimum of six months a year?

  11. Pa Tina

    Check the VIN and valve covers. If this is an L-82 as it appears, you got yourself a 230 HP engine. Not too shabby for 1981.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      There was no L82 option in 1981.

  12. Rabbit


    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      erikj, did you buy it?

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