Even though the 1982 Corvette was Refined the Last C3 Ended with a Fizzle
The 1982 Corvette would mark the end of the longest running generation of the Corvette in the C3. The C3 generation had stood the test of time and the Shark was always well accepted until the bitter end. Though the newest C4 generation would not officially come out until 1984, the 1982 Corvette was to be the last hurrah for the C3.
Though the 1982 Corvette took a number of styling ideas from different years of past Vettes and was perhaps the best Shark ever produced the numbers at the end of the year showed that the enthusiasts were beginning to grow tired of the Shark and were ready for something new.
Some of the changes most worthy of mention for the 1982 Corvette included:
- Gearbox: For the first time since 1955 the Corvette did not come with an available manual gearbox. The 1982 Corvette only came with a four speed automatic transmission that was an adaptation of the 1981’s three speed Turbo-Hydra-Matic. The two transmissions were basically the same except the four speeds had a fourth gear overdrive added.
- Wheels: the 1982 Corvette sported finned turbine looking wheels that were first seen on the 1963 Corvette.
- Special Paint: There was also optional two-toned silver over deep burgundy paint which was separated by a red pinstripe that paid homage to the 1978 Silver Anniversary Corvette.
- Engine: Using ‘Cross-fire’ fuel injection the new L83 V-8 delivered a strong 200-bph and became the first ‘fuelie’ for the Corvette line since 1965.
What’s more, because this was to be the last of the Sharks, Chevy decided to come out with a Collector’s Edition model. But Chevy would take lessons from the past and learning form the mistakes that allowed so many to put out fake replicas of the limited edition 1978 Pace Car Replica, Chevy limited production of these special cars to an on demand basis. The Collector’s Editions were only built when ordered by customers from the dealership and also came fitted with unique VIN plates which were installed to make it harder for people to try to make a regular Vette into a Collector’s Edition.
The Collector’s Edition featured special interior design, bronze tinted t-top glass, special paint, special emblems, and much more. The 1982 Corvette Collector’s Edition also had the unwelcomed distinction of becoming the first Vette in history to carry a price tag of $20,000 or more.
Still when all the dust settled, the 1982 Corvette proved to be a major disappointment as far as sales were concerned and despite selling 6,759 Collector’s editions, the overall unit movement for the last year of the C3 generation was a scant 25,407. This was the lowest total since 1967, which oddly enough was the last year of the C2 generation.
What the 1982 Corvette did prove though is that the Shark series, which ran since 1968, spanned three different generations to remain an iconic symbol of the sports car. No other generation, past and present, of Corvette has lasted as long as the C3 and it is quite likely that no generation of Corvette ever will again.