Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 63 - 1980 Corvette
"Hanging In There"
Chevrolet could have left the Corvette's styling alone for 1980. But the soft-nose look was seven years old and needed a make-over. Sales success of the previous year simply caught everyone by surprise 1980 was the beginning of incremental changes to come.
The 1980 C3 Corvette was a mixed bag of good and bad. The new hood and front and rear bumper covers not only created a new look, but also reduced drag coefficient from .503 for the '79 car to .443 for the '80 model. Engineers also put the '80 Corvette on a diet, taking 160 pounds out of the car by using thinner hood and door parts, as well as an aluminum differential, crossmembers, and various attaching parts. The diet was part of Chevrolet's effort to meet new, tougher CAFE standards.
What was not reduced was the price. GM's marketing people knew that Corvette buyers were more interested in comfort and luxury than performance, so previous "optional" items, such as power windows, air conditioning, and tilt-telescope steering, were now standard. The base price was $14,345 by the end of the model year.
Other tweaks included an 85-mph speedometer, a relocated power lock button, and a new storage compartment. The only "performance" option was the $55 gymkhana suspension that was ordered on only 9,907 '80 Corvettes.
Engine options were a odd mix. California buyers could only order the 180hp LG4. This was a "passenger car" engine that used stainless steel headers and a computer module to control timing and carburetor settings. The LG4 was
only available with the automatic transmission with the new lock-up torque converter. The good news was that the L82 power rating was now 230 hp, the best since 1974.
Many wondered where the Corvette was going. Rumors were circulating about a "new" Corvette, but that wasn't anything new. However, work on the C4 was underway.
Sales for the 1980 were down to 40,614, from 53,807 in '79, but prices were up enough to make General Motors very happy. A loaded '80 Corvette could cost over $17,000! An L82, four-speed model could do 0-60 in 7.1 seconds and the quarter-mile in 16 seconds. Not great, but still hanging in there. - K. Scott Teeters