The Surviving Macho 1979 DKM Corvette L-82S!

What a seriously cool piece of history! You’ve probably seen some of the “Macho” Trans Ams we’ve featured here on Barn Finds, but did you know the same folks who built those Trans Ams also modified two Corvettes! Reader Richard F. is the proud owner of this Macho L-82S, which may just be the only one left! He thought everyone might enjoy seeing this rare and cool piece of automotive history.

From Richard – This is 1 of only 2 documented 1979 L-82S Corvettes built by DKM, makers of the famed “Macho Trans Am” Arizona dealer tuned cars. Both L-82S cars were used in several magazines as promotional vehicles and this car (DKM #2) was the actual car used in the marketing brochure. It is also the only known 5-speed (Doug Nash) equipped car to exist. Its whereabouts were largely unknown for the past 35 years until this past fall. It is the only L-82S Corvette known to exist to date.

Completely original paint and spoilers with all DKM lettering and some traces of the original pin-striping. Does not appear to have ever been hit or damaged and repaired. Original glass T-tops as well. Interior is original with the exception of the new carpet. Console plaque is still in place along with the Fosgate stereo amplifier.

Mechanically sound with a newer ZZ4 crate engine installed several years ago (thank heavens). Original Doug Nash 5 speed and Hayes Scattershield. Original 15×9 American Specialty wheels. New brakes all the way around and new Magnaflow exhaust.

By 1979 the Corvette was down to just two engine options, the L-48 and the L-82. The higher spec L-82 350 was rated at 225 horsepower, but a few bolt-on upgrades and some tuning can bring power up closer to 300. And that’s exactly what DKM did to the few L-82S that they built, but just how much power they squeezed out of them is a bit of a mystery. The ZZ4 crate engine that is now in this car is rated at 335 horsepower, so it likely was a decent upgrade.

We want to thank Richard for sharing his amazing car with us! It is one heck of a machine and has to be a great conversation piece. So, would you enjoy doing burnouts in this Macho Vette?

And if you would like to see your rare classic car on Barn Finds, be sure to send your photos and story to us at!

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  1. OhU8one2

    I was in high school in Phoenix, and a few blocks from my school sat a white Macho Z Camaro. Those cars built by DKM were all the rage. And to top it off the daughter to Mr. Fosgate used to hook up me and my friends with amps. I would give anything for the black and blue 78 Macho they built. It was 1 of 1.

    • Cattoo

      Fosgate bought Audionics of Oregon, the small amplifier company my dad worked for; that was located in Wilsonville Oregon. The Fosgate company wanted the amplifier technology Audionics had and in fact were sometime down the line bought out by a company named Rockford. Rockford-Fosgate are or were rather well known for their automotive amplifier and speaker products.

  2. Retired Stig

    Having lost it’s original motor only to be replaced with a (yawn) crate motor is a good thing?
    I’m confused. Isn’t the point of having an obscure car like this originality?

    • Ralph

      Exactly, especially with the snarky “thank god” comment thrown in, so you’re telling me you have a “super rare one of one car” that’s rare because of the special mods that were done to the original engine, but then you’re going to boast that that engine is gone?

      • grant

        And to top it off, how does the spec of the current motor reflect at all on what was done to the long-gone original?


      My 1979 L-82 is worth more, all original except for buying new factory
      interior. Did not change one thing. Going to cam and etc the original engine. It is also Black with very wide original Crager spokes on it.Spokes will be powder coated Black and have Gold Crager spinners, looks mean. My last car to do this. My age is up there.

  3. RoughDiamond Member

    I’m guessing and at least hoping they just pulled the original engine and have it stored somewhere. One aspect of originality that is altered in doing so is the miles on the “original” engine and body will never match. This happened a lot back in the day with blown engines replaced under warranty. Even happened with our ’05 Honda Accord we purchased new and at 88K miles discovered a cracked cylinder wall that the tech and Service Manager said was most likely there when the block was cast just got worse over time. Honda refused to do anything so replaced engine with LKQ ’03 Accord engine with 30K miles.

  4. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    Like the colour combo.

    • CanuckCarGuy

      I cant stop looking at that red interior…it’s gorgeous despite its age.

  5. Todd Zuercher

    Looks like it’s still located in Phoenix, too.

  6. Doug B

    Here’s an interesting back story. Evan Mecham owned the Pontiac dealership in Glendale AZ (suburb of Phoenix). His 2 sons got the idea to do the Macho thing. Shortly after introduction of the car, Evan ran for Governor and, beyond most people’s belief, won. One of his many disgusting traits was his blatant racism. It was not uncommon for him to make the nightly network news. The move he was most known for was rescinding the MLK holiday in Arizona. Talk about embarrassing. As a native of Phoenix, this type of publicity still continues to this day, much to most Arizonans’ chagrin. Bottom line, after 18 months in office he was impeached! There was dancing in the streets.

    • Todd Zuercher

      Mecham’s election as governor (’86) came numerous years after the introduction of the Macho cars (in the case of this car – 7). However, much of the rest is as you describe. I grew up in Prescott and was a senior in high school when he was elected. Amazingly, in conservative Prescott, I got extra credit in my high school civics class for putting up ‘Mecham for Governor’ posters around town. My teacher was a conservative Mormon – imagine that happening today! Ev came and addressed our high school at some point during that year – probably in early ’87 after he took office.

      Much of the news in my freshman year of college was consumed with his stupid antics in office and over Spring Break I listened to his impeachment hearings on the radio while I worked. I was pleased when he was removed from office.

      In the 90s we used to see him at the state fair in a small booth in one of the buildings, hawking his books. A sad decline for a former governor and successful dealership owner.

  7. Coventrycat

    A car like that lets the whole world know your shifter is too short.

  8. Tooyoung4heyday Member

    Would like to know where the original modified engine is and why a ZZ4 took its place? As stated previous, the premise of this cars uniqueness is having all the oddball parts. Anyone know what the S was for? This is the first that I’ve heard of these, was only aware of the T/A’s.

  9. JC

    Meh, its nothing without its original motor… just another black and red Vette with some stickers.

  10. Steve S

    I would rather have the tri powered 427 with 435 horsepower with the 4 speed manual transmission and side pipes instead of that trashy worthless 350 crate engine and 5 speed manual transmission

    • Rick Rothermel

      The Doug Nash 5-speed was part of the Mecham package… probably the BEST part.

  11. DKM-106 Member

    Hey there OhU8one2, I used to own the Macho Z and Bruise, the black and blue 78. Here is a link to the website where you can see more info on the cars. In regards to the L82-s. It’s a cool car and I am glad it was found. These cars have never really taken off like I thought they would but are a cool piece of car history from the 70’s when the stock cars were lacking horsepower and styling…..

    • Ron

      After some searching about the 5 speed trans $$$$$$$$$$, the old T-10 4 will stay in it. Might be one of the reasons the Macho Z did not take off. Thanks for the info, sorry that the Vette is no longer a car for guys with a few extra $$$$.

    • Macho Z

      I own Macho Z #6 and have had it for 16 yrs. I also owned Macho TA #106 “The Bruise” for a short time. I’ve actually owned several Mecham cars over the last 20+ years and they’re great collector cars.
      Dennis and Kyle were innovative enough to improve these cars where the factory fell short, not many dealers where even trying back then because of strict emissions laws.
      The Mecham’s were and still are the only private non Factory backed team to ever win a Trans Am SCCA championship in 1982 with a little known driver at the time (Steve Saleen). If you follow the timeline after Saleen left Mecham he copied every single thing they were doing and applied it to a Mustang. He was just better at marketing and Ford was happy to get onboard with it. The Mecham’s had no help from GM and were actually frowned upon by executives because they didn’t like that a small dealer in Glendale, Arizona thought they could build something better than their engineers.
      I believe these cars have never taken off because to this day I still have to educate people on what a “Macho” is. Most have never even seen one.
      -As for everyone bagging on this Vette- I don’t think Richard is bragging about his Corvette, he probably just wants everyone to know it still exists, the ad doesn’t say “for sale” or “bid here”. And who gives a crap if the stock wheezer engine is gone, I don’t think it would be too hard to find one if all you can handle is 225 hp!
      Also, the Mecham dealership engine swapped probably 15% of the cars they built with Traco and other engine suppliers.
      Personally I wouldn’t own a Sportscar that a Honda Civic could outrun.

      Still it’s pretty fun to read the ignorant replies from keyboard collectors-

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