Less Is More: 1979 Chevrolet Corvette C3 L82 4-Speed – Sold!

Apr 2020 | Classifinds, Sports Car Saturday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

By 1979, most C3 Corvettes were heavily-optioned Grand Tourers compensating for the decreased performance.  Consequently, it’s rare to find an example where the original owner ordered their car with just the right combination of options to maximize performance while minimizing weight.  This red-over-oyster L82, four-speed, AC-delete example listed on Craigslist in Syracuse, New York is a prime example of how less can be more.  Reviewing the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has his C3 priced $1,900 less than the current #3 “Good” estimate of $13,700.  Hagerty Insurance provides a nice overview of the 1979 Corvette:

Chevrolet Corvette production rose again in 1979 to 53,807 coupes despite rising fuel prices. The price of the base L48 model also rose again to $10,220 with a wide-ratio M20 4-speed or a 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission. Base horsepower increased slightly to 195 bhp from the 350 cubic-inch Chevy small-block V-8 engine, but 14,516 buyers spent another $565 for the 225 bhp L82 motor. A better muffler increased horsepower due to freer flow.

The high-back seat from the 1978 Pace Car model became standard equipment and the seats were lightened due to due to plastic frames. Inertia locking kept the backs upright in sudden deceleration, while the seats could slide forward an extra inch. The front and rear spoilers from the 1978 Pace Cars also became standard fitment, decreasing drag by about by about 15 percent, good for half a mile a gallon.

1979 Corvette buyers could still get the close-ratio M21 4-speed gearbox but only 4,062 people did, even though it was a no-cost option. Only 12,321 paid $49 for the FE7 Gymkhana suspension, 6,853 paid $265 for front and rear spoilers, 2,164 picked the $33 heavy-duty shock absorbers and 425 bought the optional higher or lower rear axle ratio for $19.

Meanwhile, the luxury features abounded. 47,136 buyers paid $635 for air-conditioning, 47,463 bought tilt-telescopic steering column for $190, 48,211 fell for the style of the $45 sport mirrors, 41,530 paid $94 for the ZX2 convenience group of interior lights, floor mats, and warning buzzers, and 41,587 shelled out $102 for a rear-window defogger. A further 21,435 bought the AM-FM 8-track stereo for $228 and 35,730 insisted on the $52 power antenna. 34,445 buyers added cruise control.

Among the 10 colors, Black bounced back to the top with 10,465 takers. Classic White followed (8,629) Silver (7,331), Corvette Red (6,707), and Corvette Dark Blue (5,670). Further down the rankings were Corvette Dark Brown (4,053), Corvette Light Blue (3,203) Corvette Light Beige, Corvette Dark Green (2,426), and Corvette Yellow (2,357).

Some cars were unlucky enough to get the 85 mph speedometers designed for the 1980 models, while mirror-tint roof panels developed for the 1978 Pace Car were unexpectedly popular and 14,480 buyers spent an extra $365 to get them.”

Equipped with the optional L82 V8, the rare no-extra-charge M21 four-speed manual, and the positraction 3.70 rear end, this car checks all of the right performance options. That powertrain combined with the several hundred pounds saved by not ordering air conditioning or power windows likely makes this Corvette a bit of a sleeper.  With nice documentation, low original miles, and a very motivated seller, this is likely a very nice C3 you shouldn’t let getaway. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Was $14,700 …7 months ago.. reduced …$2,900 .. moving can not take with me. 79 corvette L/82 ,4 speed, ps. tilt, red W/oyster interior
( rare ) no A/C, no power windows and no power locks. check the numbers, 6,671 out of 53,807 with no a/c
and only 14,516 L/82. and only 4,062 4speeds out of a production of 53,807. the vette is 40yrs old,in great shape
interior ex. org. mileage 31,832 have docs.to prove. everything works. even the clock.
even has the org. spare w/ lock. has org.working alarm system, new L/82 mufflers, new water pump, new clutch,
new holley 600 w/ elec.choke bought 5/31/19.. lights pop right up, tires like new. tight t-tops,
the motor is matching numbers , paint on the car 1-10 is a 5 .. the car is clean no issues. And a blast to drive! also new battery, belts, air cleaner,filter plugs ect. the rear diff. is org.code OJ posi,3.70.1 Price just reduced to $11,800 moving to NV, so must sell,.
best offer w/cash in hand, will not answer any text messages call 315-eight-eight-2-850seven between 11am-9pm if i miss your call, please left a message i will call you back asap thank you

Do you have a C3 Corvette story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Analog Man

    There’s something appealing about these cars, and this one in particular. Maybe it’s the glass fastback, which I always thought was prettier than the earlier (but ‘purer’ and better performing) C3’s. With the hard to find and much more desirable 4 speed manual and low miles (if it’s real), this car looks like it would be a lot of fun for not much money. It’s a shame the coronavirus is between me and Syracuse…


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