The story of the 1982 Corvette

Since 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette has been an American sports car, a car that has stood the test of time and represents the culture of the year it was produced. From the European lines and curves of the C1 to the rumble of the C2 and C3 muscle cars, and who could forget the wedge shape of the C4, which rivaled the best that Italy had to offer at the time in the 1980s, the Corvette truly was a year after year glimpse into in American culture.

This success of course did not come without its share of growing pains, with many Corvette models living past their prime before their generation was finally discontinued, and with a new battle with fuel economy, safety, and emissions requirements in the 1980s, the 1983 Model Year. being the only year without a Corvette.

While these minor setbacks in Corvette history often go unnoticed due to their consistent success to this day as innovators in the auto industry, there have been a number of glitches over the years that have captured public attention as a significant low point in Corvette history, and one of the biggest lowlights so far. was the 1982 Corvette, a car that was the perfect representative for shaky performance during the malaise era.

This is the story of the 1982 Chevrolet Corvette, one of the slowest Corvettes ever built.

Related: These Are The Best Muscle Cars Of The Malaise Era

Malaise Corvette

The era of malaise lasted from 1973 at the start of the 1973 oil crisis, to approximately 1984 with the advent of computer-controlled emission systems and widespread fuel injection systems that made cars more powerful and fuel efficient. During this time in history, cars became larger and heavier to keep up with new government safety requirements, and in response, larger fuel-efficient engines were developed to run these large vehicles.


To compensate for rising fuel prices, the Corvette team, unfortunately, compromised heavily on power to bring a car into a world that still feels like a Corvette on the inside and still offers a Corvette-like driving experience, but still emits emissions. requirements and cheap enough for fuel.

Related: Here’s Why A Malaise Car Will Never Be Worth Anything

Crossfire Injection System

For the 1982 model year, a new Crossfire Injection system was applied to the Corvette. While the rest of the engine remains relatively untethered from the typical 350 V8 that’s been put into Corvettes over the years, this injection system is a step up from the traditional carburetor system.


The Crossfire Injection System consists of two throttle bodies placed at the top of the engine that feed separate cylinder rails; the left throttle body refuels the right cylinder, the right throttle body refuels the left cylinder. This crossover’s fueling system led to the “Crossfire” name, and it proved to be a solid introduction into modern fuel injection for the Corvette, even though it wasn’t the first fuel-injected Corvette.

While this injection system proved to be economical, it was cumbersome for many technicians to service, and while some enthusiasts dug into the Crossfire to fine-tune their car’s performance, it proved to be a car wreck for people not trained to handle the system. .


Related: Check Out This Fully Recovered Period – A True Fuel-Injected 1959 Chevrolet Corvette

Transmissions That Force You to Save

The 1982 Corvette is also a unique car in that it is the only Corvette in history to be offered only with an automatic transmission. While an auto-only Corvette is expected today, it was odd for the 1980s, and many fans were disappointed that it didn’t have a stick-shift Vette.

The transmission is a 700-R4 four-speed transmission, which keeps the first and second gears down to keep acceleration fast enough but offers a fourth gear that reduces highway RPM by 30%, letting the Corvette suck on the gas at high speeds.


This transmission was attached to the Corvette C4 automatic, and over time it proved successful in many GM vehicles including the Monte Carlo.

Related: Here’s How Much A 1983 Chevy Monte Carlo SS Cost Today

Dated Design

The 1982 Corvette was the last of the C3, or 3rd generation, of the Corvette. This generation lasted from 1968 to 1982, and after years of production, bodies began to look old-fashioned in the early 80s, a decade defined by the wedge-shaped Ferrari and Lamborghini.

For 1982, the Corvette retained a design that began in the ’60s, and apart from a few facelifts around the car, it’s mostly the same car as the 1968 Vette.

Most notably, the biggest design difference shown on the 1982 Corvette was the Collector’s Edition 1982, which offered a unique hatchback in which the entire rear windshield opened to make the trunk easier to load into the rear of the car. This hatchback design will follow the fourth generation Corvette as a big selling point for the car’s practicality.

Related: Coolest 80s Car Design Features We Still Miss

An Era’s Malaise Performance That’s Hard to Ignore

With all the shortcomings of the 1982 Corvette in terms of a complicated new throttle body injection system, forced automatic transmission, and design from the mid-60s, performance was the biggest sin for this early 80s Vette.

The 350 ci V8 produces a low 200 HP and only about 285 ft/lbs of torque, and without a performance manual transmission, most of this available power is wasted. The 1982 Corvette hit a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds, and while it was an achievement to hit sub-8 seconds during the malaise era, it’s just as ridiculous today as it was shortly after the malaise era ended.

In comparison, the late 1990s Chevy Cavalier could hit 0-60 in about 8 seconds, the 1997 Dodge Neon could hit 60 MPH in about 8 seconds, as did the 2008 Dodge Caravan SXT minivan.

The 1982 Corvette is still considered a sports car, and it’s hard to ignore today’s low-performance, especially when it’s as fast as a ’90s economy car or minivan from 2008.


Without the 1982 Corvette and all the difficulties associated with the early ’80s, our mid-automatic C8 supercar wouldn’t be on the roads today. So next time you see an early ’80s Corvette, give them an appreciation, they were an important part of Corvette history. Even if they are a very slow part of Corvette history.

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