Last Year L-82: 1980 Chevrolet Corvette

Although buyers continued to receive a 350ci V8 under the hood of their new Corvette for the remaining years of C3 production, 1980 marked the last where they could select the optional L82 version. Our feature car is one of those vehicles, and it is a tidy survivor with no apparent needs. Some recent work ensures it is in excellent mechanical health, and the seller includes some desirable original documentation. The Corvette is listed here on Craigslist in Lombard, Illinois. You could drive it home by handing the seller $21,500, although the seller may entertain partial or full trades. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L. for spotting this tidy survivor.

When this Corvette rolled off the line, Chevrolet was well down the road developing the new C4 variant. Therefore, the company avoided spending significant sums on cosmetic updates. It chose evolutionary changes, the most obvious being new bumper covers with integrated spoilers. They limited further changes to finer details like badges, although the new bumpers proved sufficient to separate the 1980 model from its predecessors. The original owner ordered this classic in Code 19 Black, which was one of the most popular shades for 1980. It accounted for 7,250 cars, with only Code 10 White proving more popular at 7,780. The seller doesn’t mention prior restoration work, suggesting the paint is original. If that’s accurate, its condition is impressive and would seem to support its low mileage claim. The paint looks deep enough to walk into, with the gleaming alloy wheels and badges providing a striking contrast. The desirability stakes of this classic have lifted a notch or two courtesy of the original owner’s decision to spend an additional $391 on the glass roof panel option. The desirability of this option is reflected by the take-up rate of 48.5% in 1980. The tinted glass is excellent, and there’s no doubt this car would attract attention wherever it goes.

Chevrolet undertook a weight-loss program with the Corvette, and it bore fruit for buyers. The 1980 ‘Vette shed an impressive 250lbs compared to the previous year, which didn’t harm its performance potential. This car’s original owner ordered their new toy with the range-topping L82 version of the 350ci V8. That small-block delivers 230hp, which feeds to the rear wheels via a three-speed Hydramatic transmission. It provides a ¼-mile ET of 15.5 seconds, representing a ½-second improvement over the 1979 model. The seller indicates this ‘Vette has a genuine 52,000 miles on its odometer, and with the included documentation, they may hold verifying evidence. The buyer receives the original Owner’s Manual, Window Sticker, the Buyer’s Order, and a workshop manual. They say the car runs and drives well, making it a turnkey proposition that needs nothing.

If buyers ordered their 1980 Corvette cloaked in Black, they could select from Black, Oyster, Red, or Doeskin interior trim. This car features the last color in leather, and its condition is as impressive as the rest of the vehicle. The interior shots are limited, but there is no appreciable wear on the upholstered surfaces. The dash is spotless, the carpet is excellent, and there are no signs of crumbling plastic or aftermarket additions. Previously optional features like the tilt/telescopic wheel, power windows, and air conditioning were standard appointments in 1980. The only optional extra the original owner selected was the AM/FM radio/cassette player, adding $163 to the purchase price.

As the C3 Corvette reached the end of its production cycle, sales figures began to taper. From a peak of 53,807 cars in 1979, the total fell dramatically to 40,614 in 1980. Of those, only 5,069 buyers splashed the additional $595 above the sticker price for the L82 option. With values climbing consistently, tidy examples command good prices in the current market. The odometer reading means this ‘Vette is a long way from being worn out, and recent sales results indicate the seller’s price is competitive. It could look more tempting if potential buyers have a trade the seller finds too attractive to resist. It is a thought worth pondering.


  1. Rw

    Nice tires.

    Like 3
    • cushman

      Nah. They’ve got writing all over them.

      Like 4
      • Rw


        Like 1
      • Bob Thompson

        If I was going to put cheap white letter tires on a Corvette, I would turn the white letters to the inside.

        Like 3
  2. Frank Sumatra

    The headline should read “Last L-82” as the 350 CI engine was available for many years beyond 1980.

    Like 16
    • Stan

      Yes that didn’t sound right. If only this was a 4spd. 🏁🙌
      Beautiful car.

      Like 15
      • drew

        Unfortunately you couldn’t order a factory 4 speed with the L-82 due to emissions.

        Like 7
      • Frank Sumatra

        Never let the facts stand in the way of a good headline!

    • PaulG

      But it’s Tidy…

      Like 4
  3. George Mattar

    No 4 speed available with L82 in 1980. Useless GM refused to certify it for emissions BS. This is a beauty except for those cheap tires. Why spend $100,000 on a butt ugly 2023 Corvette with numerous problems when you can have this?

    Like 1
  4. Mike ad

    Could not get a 4 speed with the L-82 in 1980.

  5. Cooter Cooter

    I always loved these, so much that I restored a 79 to my liking. Stripped 4 coats of paint, added ZZ4 crate engine, all new interior, glass…etc. I will never get what I have in it but who cares, I built it the way I wanted to. Also left it front and rear spoiler delete. I always thought those took character away from them. With the aero back window it gives more the appearance of the C2’s.

    Like 1
  6. Frank Sumatra

    That is a handsome unit. I have given up on trying to make sense of Corvette pricing. $ 21K will get you a very nice 330 HP (350 cubic inch!) , 6-speed, 1996.

    Like 7
  7. Gary W

    You could get a 1980 L82 with a 4 speed I had one I bought in California brand new from a California dealer

    • Greg

      CA was only 305 with auto transmission in 1980.

    • RL

      No 1980 L82 could be ordered with a 4-speed. You could only buy a 1980 Corvette with a 305 auto in California. You could buy a 350 4-speed 190hp version in 49 states but again not in California. I own a 1980 L82 dark green doeskin leather interior.

  8. Tim Member

    Drew, I have a 1979 L 82 with a factory 4 speed. Maybe they changed the emissions in 1980. The 4 speed does make it fun to drive. Only mine is
    Deep Forest Green. All matching. Have a great day.

    Like 4
  9. Vette 4 life

    Yes, you could order an 80 L-82 with a 4 speed

    • RL

      No you couldn’t

  10. Frank Sumatra

    Somebody at BFshould shell out for a copy of the Corvette Black Book. Allow me to quote from Page 64 of the 1953-2018 edition- “The RPO MM4 4-speed manual transmission was not available with the optional L-82 engine with the possible exception of a few early production builds”

    Like 2
  11. Frank Sumatra

    And for those keeping score at home, the Black Beauty was # 18,865 out of the 40,614 built. Probably not an “early” production build.

    Like 1
  12. Ed Jennings

    Being a vintage Corvette guy, my internet in C3’s pretty much stops at 1975. Why then, you might ask. Because that was last year of convertible. But the 75 convertible was a pig, you yell. Along with all the other plastic bumper sharks. Depending on where you live, not necessarily so. A few years back, I had a 62 fuelie, and a 67 air conditioned coupe. Both very nice cars. Stuff happened and needed to sell. Replaced them with a 75 convertible, L-82 , both tops, air, power steering, windows, and brakes. 350/ 4 speed. No pollution controls to be found. No AIR, no cats, no low compression and sorry cam. Just by seat of the pants, it would have easily run with my 67 327/350. Not an L 88, but no slouch either. This can happen to any of the later sharks, if you live in the right place. Where is the right place, you ask? I live in Alabama. Almost anywhere in the SE US will qualify, and many other areas SS well I suspect.

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