Illustrated Corvette Series looks back at the Last of the C3 Corvettes
For the last three months I’ve been having fun with my VETTE Magazine monthly column, “The Illustrated Corvette Series” looking back at what I believe are the “best” of every generation Corvette. So far, we have looked at the ‘62 Fuelie Corvettes and the ‘67 427/435 L89 Big-Block. This month we’re looking at the last of the C3 Corvettes, the ‘82 Collector Edition Hatchback. While it wasn’t the stump-puller from the late ‘60s and early ‘70, the ‘82 Collector Edition was a very sweet machine. So, let’s get straight to it! – Scott
The ‘70s had been a challenging and strange time for America’s sports car. Performance had been on a decline since ‘70 but because of little to-no-competition, Corvettes sold like hot cakes, hitting an all-time high of 53,807 units in ‘79. Between increasing federal demands for emissions and safety improvements, there was little time for performance. In fact, what should have been a performance improvement through the use of lighter materials – aluminum differential, tube headers, etc – was offset by reduced horsepower due to more stringent emissions controls.
When Dave McLellan inherited the Corvette from Zora Arkus-Duntov in ‘75, it was not a pretty picture. Poor quality was rooted in the seriously outdated 1920s St. Louis plant. Rumors of a new assembly plant began in ‘73. Another challenge was the Corvette’s very old chassis and drivetrain. Designed in ‘61, most components were not shared with any other GM car. John DeLorean tried to address this issue with his plan to build Corvettes on the Camaro/Firebird chassis pan. While this might have made GM’s bean counters happy, it would have been a bad move. McLellan was charged with the responsibility of tighter government controls, keeping the Corvette fresh, improving existing hardware, transitioning the car’s assembly plant, and designing and implementing the new C4. A real peach of a job, right? Continue reading “1982 Collector Edition Corvette – The Polished Shark”