1980 Corvette

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1980 Corvette
Corvette's crossed-flags emblem was again redrawn as a small but effective 1980 cosmetic change, and it was carried over for '81. See more classic car pictures.

Weighty gas guzzlers were a dying breed, being victims of the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. This meant the 1980 Corvette would have to be put on a diet in order to survive.

First-stage measures made for 1980 slimmed the car by some 250 pounds. The differential housing and front-frame crossmember were switched from steel to aluminum, and greater use was made of plastics throughout the car. The aluminum intake manifold previously used on the L82 engine was extended to the base L48, which lost five bhp to emissions tuning -- back to 190 bhp at 4,400 rpm and 280 lbs/ft torque at 2,400 rpm. However, the L82 actually gained another five horses -- up to 230 in all.

California's increasingly stringent emissions standards forced buyers there to settle for a detoxed 180-bhp 305 small-block, which was available only with the automatic transmission.

Also in the interest of better mileage, the previously optional front and rear spoilers were slightly reshaped and made integral with the bodywork, and the grille was raked back slightly. As a result, the coefficient of drag (Cd) fell from 0.503 to a more respectable 0.443 -- still not great but an improvement none the less. Exterior chrome was now kept to a minimum, which meant removing the crossed-flags emblems from the front fenders.

Other changed to the 1980 Corvette included newly standardized air conditioning and tilt/telescope steering wheel, relocated power door lock buttons, and a speedometer calibrated to only 85 mph -- yet another government mandate. Finally, the two behind-the-seats storage compartments were combined, though the battery remained in its separate cubbyhole directly aft of the driver.

1980 Corvette
Door lock buttons were moved in the 1980 Corvette, and the speedometer was now calibrated to only 85 mph due to government regulations.

The weight-saving measures came none too soon, for early 1979 had brought another fuel crisis down upon America. This time, OPEC had less to do with the energy crisis than the overthrow of the Shah of Iran. But its effects on Americans were much the same: increasingly tight supplies of ever-more expensive fuel that sent the car market and the national economy as a whole into a tailspin.

Once again the Corvette's future looked dubious, yet it continued to ride high. Although model-year volume was down some 20 percent from 1979, the 1980 tally of 40,614 units was still quite respectable for a heavy, thirsty, specialty car that had become almost too expensive -- now at a generous $13,140.24, sans options -- for its target buyers.

As had been true since the very beginning of the Shark generation, press opinion of the 1980 Corvette was mixed. However, 0-60 mph times continued to be a highlight, clocked at between 7.1 and 7.7 seconds for the L82. Some scribes took exception to Chevy's slenderizing measures -- especially the "lighter-duty" rear axle -- and the greater overall emphasis on fuel efficiency. Fit and finish problems were still noted, however.

Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

1978 Corvette
1979 Corvette 1980 Corvette
1981 Corvette 1982 Corvette ­

Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See:

  • Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.


1980 Corvette Specifications

The 1980 Corvette shed 150 pounds while gaining standard spoilers fully integrated with a reshaped nose and tail. The cockpit and emblems were updated, too. Here are the specifications for the 1980 Corvette:


1980 Corvette
California buyers of the 1980 Corvette had to take a 305 V-8, though with the same 180 bhp as this year's base "federal" 350. The L82 option gained another five bhp.


Vehicle Specifications
Wheelbase, inches
Length, inches
Width, inches
Track, inches
front: 58.7 rear: 59.4
Height, inches
Curb weight, pounds

Mechanical Specifications (2-door coupe)

front: Independent; upper and lower A-arms, coil springs, tubular hydraulic shock absorbers, antiroll bar
rear: Independent, lateral leaf springs, struts, U-joint halfshafts, trailing arms, tubular hydraulic shock absorbers


front: 11.75-inch disc
rear: 11.75-inch disc

3-speed Hydra-Matic
4-speed manual

Standard axle ratio
3.55:1 (auto) 3.07:1 (manual)

Engine Specifications

Type ohv V-8
ohv V-8
ohv V-8
Displacement, liters/cubic inch
5.0/350 5.7/350 5.7/350
Bore X stroke, inches3.74 X 3.48 4.00 X 3.48 4.00 X 3.48
Fuel management
1 X 4-bbl. 1 X 4-bbl. 1 X 4-bbl.
Horsepower @ rpm
180 @ 4,200
185 @ 4,000
220 @ 5,200
Torque @ rpm, pound-foot
255 @ 2,000
270 @ 2,400
260 @ 3,600

Vehicle Production and Base Prices

Car Type
Production Price
2-door coupe
40,614 $13,140.24

Options and Production

Option Production Price
Power Door Locks
Removable Glass Roof Panels
Rear Window Defogger
Gymkhana Suspension
Heavy Duty Shock Absorbers1,695
Cruise Control30,821
180 hp Engine (required in California)
230 hp Engine 5,069
4-Speed Manual Transmission 5,726
Automatic Transmission 34,838
Aluminum Wheels34,128
White Letter SBR Tires, P255/60R15
26,208 $62.00
White Letter SBR Tires, P255/70R1513,140 $426.16
Heavy Duty Battery1,337
AM/FM Radio, stereo w/8-track tape
AM/FM Radio, stereo w/CB
2,434 $391.00
AM/FM Radio, stereo w/cassette
AM/FM Radio, stereo6,138
Power Antenna
Radio Delete
Dual Rear Speakers
Roof Panel Carrier
California Emission Certification
Trailer Package

Color Choices and Production

Color Choice
Dark Brown2,300
Dark Green844
Dark Claret
Dark Blue4,135
Frost Beige

Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

1978 Corvette
1979 Corvette 1980 Corvette
1981 Corvette 1982 Corvette ­

Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See:

  • Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.