Aside from the relatively low mileage and the crispness and solidity of its ride, the easy life this Corvette has led is indicated by how original it remains over 20 years after it was built. The red leather interior is completely original and looks as good as it did the day it was first installed. This is really quite remarkable when you consider that Corvette interiors of that era are not exactly renowned for their durability.
As with the inside, the exterior of the '79 is factory original. Its code 13 Silver lacquer paint still shines and remains unblemished despite the passage of two decades since it was applied, which is remarkable since GM's lacquers, particularly dark colors and heavy metallics like silver, did not hold up for long if exposed to the elements. The paint on Waluk's '79 is intact and very presentable because the car has been garaged its entire life, thus protecting it from environmental hazards.
The underhood and mechanical components on the '79 are, like the interior and exterior, remarkably original. The only items in the engine bay that have been changed are normal maintenance items like the battery, belts and hoses, and spark plugs. The engine is the one and only optional powerplant offered in 1979, the 350ci, 225hp L82. The L82 developed peak horsepower at 5,200 rpm and utilized four-bolt-main bearing caps plus a forged crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons. A new, larger diameter exhaust system was fitted in 1979, raising the rated horsepower by five over the previous L82.
In addition to the L82 engine, John's Shark was ordered with numerous other desirable options. Aluminum wheels and air conditioning, features that buyers would expect to be standard equipment today (especially on a high-end car like a Corvette), were extra cost options in 1979, as were power windows, a tilt/telescoping steering column, the aforementioned leather seat trim, and glass removable roof panels (in lieu of solid, body-colored T-roofs), and all are found on this car. A wide-ratio four-speed manual transmission was standard equipment in '79, with a close-ratio four-speed or the three-speed automatic listed as no extra charge options. John's '79 is one of the 41,454 '79 Corvettes fitted with the automatic.
That is one of the factors that attracted John to it. "I drive the car strictly for pleasure, and I find it much more relaxing with an automatic, especially if I get caught in a bit of traffic."
If you're contemplating the purchase of a Corvette from the '68-82 period, and want to maximize the fun factor, give some thought to a '79. It may not have the collectability of an early big-block, an LT-1, a '75 convertible, a '78 Pace Car, or an '82 Collector Edition, but neither does it have the substantially higher price tag. A '79 is the sort of Corvette you can drive anywhere, and leave parked anywhere, without excessive worry or cares. It's the kind of vintage Corvette that can still be used exactly the way they were intended to be used in the first place-as a driver.