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Part of the Crowd: 1981 Chevrolet Corvette


I’ll admit that with enough space and money, there is no shortage to the types of cars I would drag home. So many heaps would become potential projects, from ratty Porsche 928s to derelict Supras and fox body Mustangs on the verge of falling to pieces after years of clutch dumps. Fortunately for my abutters and my wife, I have very little real estate to work with – not that’s it’s stopping me as I find my daily driver parked on the street while the new project resides in the garage spot. For the seller of this 66k mile 1981 Chevy Corvette, space is not a problem, as it’s just one of 50 cars he’s unloading here on eBay in the coming weeks.


My whole point in bringing up the types of cars that would find a home on Jeff’s imaginary ranch of misfit motors is that when you have room, you might lose some element of discretion. When space is at a premium, you want to be sure the juice is worth the squeeze. But with a manufactured building capable of holding 50 vehicles on your property, who cares? You won’t be running out of room any time soon! Maybe that’s why this 1981 Corvette found a home there, seeing as it’s not a tremendously valuable car and it’s not particularly fast, especially when saddled with an automatic transmission.


Despite not being sought after by collectors, it’s really not a bad looking car. It’s affordable to own, and I’m assuming parts are still plentiful and cheap. So for a reasonable entry into classic ownership, you could do worse. Just don’t expect to be the only guy at the cruise-in or entry into the local parade with an early ‘80s Vette. But my feeling is the upside to a mass production hobby car is that you won’t feel bad about modifying it to make it your own. The later C4s look fantastic with some wider wheels and a lowered stance – keep it clean and it becomes a looker.


So, back to the seller: right now, he doesn’t have much of interest listed on eBay aside from this car and a 50’s Cadillac. But it will be interesting to see what he rolls out of that massive building in the weeks ahead. Perhaps he is saving the best for last – or just saving it for himself! So, am I alone in my appreciation for the malaise-era Corvette, or would some of you consider the C3 a contender for the right price? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. MH

    There great cars. And you can be in the corvette club for cheap.

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  2. rancho bella

    I’ve always been reminded that if you can’t say something nice then……….bla bla bla

    Well, in this instance I remain mum……………and yes, my mumness mums from experience,
    far to much experience.

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  3. Jay

    My family has a ’78 25th anniversary edition. Silver, with the same interior as above. It looks great, but it’s only moderately quick. It also has deadly handling. The tail will whip out violently with almost no notice. Worst brakes of any car I’ve ever driven.

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  4. John A

    How old is this Jeff? I’m guessing 19 maybe 21?

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    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Not that it’s relevant, but I am well into my 30s.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Yep, we all wish we were still 21! Sounds like a compliment to me Jeff.

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  5. leiniedude Leiniedude Member

    c 4 ?

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Honest mistake, all fixed. Thanks for catching that!

      Like 0
  6. SoCal Car Guy

    Hey Jeff,
    That’s a C3. In Corvette-speak that’s Corvette, first generation, etc.1953 through 1962 are C1s (also known as Solid Axles); 1963-1967 are C2s (also called mid-years because at one point decades ago they were the middle generation); 1968-1982 are C3s (AKA Sharks); 1984-1996 are C4s (there were no 1983 Corvettes sold, one exists on permanent display at the national Corvette Museum); 1997-2004 are C5s; 2005-2013 are C6s; and 2014 to whatever are C7s

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks for the explanation SoCal! Sometimes we are in such a hurry to get the good finds out to you guys that we miss the obvious. Sometimes that’s a good thing too though because after we get caught, we usually also learn something.

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  7. Alan (Michigan)

    I kind of like the Toronado that the guy has listed. This certainly is an eclectic “Collection”….
    Kit cars with a decidedly “Between wars” flavor, great big Detroit iron, imports…..

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  8. The Chucker

    80’s Beige. Worst Corvette color…ever.

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  9. Jon(Maine)

    This is not really a barn find or a collection. It appears to be a dealer selling out his stock in Lakeland, Florida. These cars are for sale in multiple sites.

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  10. Horse Radish


    ….and reading between the lines of ALL CAPITOL LETTERS….

    there is something about that very habit, which, I think, transmits some not so nice character traits.
    So I ma skipping over this , regardless of the car.

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    • Peter

      Horse Radish,

      I absolutely agree with you! (I almost wrote “absolutely” in ALL CAPS! LOL But that would not have been the same thing, anyway, as it would have only been one word).

      But again, I totally agree. ALL CAPS are much harder to read, so it’s inconsiderate at best and, yes, although I’m not a psychologist, I definitely feel all sorts of negative connotations from someone writing in all caps. The list of potential negatives that are not associated with this practice is shorter than those that are, IMNSHO.

      The practice definitely does not induce a feeling of trust, at least in this reader. Thanks again.

      And yes, to “The Chucker”:
      ’80’s beige has got to be one of the worst Corvette colors.

      Before I became somewhat educated about Corvettes’ many problems (cabin heat/noise, RUST in the “bird cage,” and other areas, brake rotors that aren’t removed under most circumstances, etc…), I wanted a “flat window” C-3. I think the flat rear windows went away in 1978. And I got quite conversant with the values of these cars.

      Even with functioning A/C, I’m surprised this C-3 is at $9K. There are a lot of these out there…often for less money.

      Not for me.

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  11. GlenK

    I grew up with the C3 range and these were the low point in Corvette performance. Quality was also a little lacking in these as well. Comfortable cars and I still like the looks but not worth more than $10,000 to me anyway in good condition.

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  12. Barzini

    Seeing collectors like Ron Platte unload their large collections makes me wonder why if they anticipate a big drop in the classic car market.

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  13. Gene

    Is that a GTX sittin in front of it ????? I WANT,I WANT !!!!!! :-)

    Like 0

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