Now that Zappia's got his '80 looking and running its best, what's it like to drive? "It's a very fun car to drive," he says. "When I leave it in Drive and nail it, when I hit Second gear it goes sideways a little bit."
Zappia is one of the ROSCOs (Royal Order of Smithtown Corvette Owners), who get together once a week, and who were featured in an NBC News story about the Corvette's 50th Anniversary back in 2003.
Nineteen eighty saw 40,614 Corvettes roll out of St. Louis Assembly, a drop from the record 53,807 built the year before. Likely the second "oil shock" of the '70s in the summer of 1979, which sent pump prices over a dollar a gallon for the first time, scared off many would-be Vette buyers then.
Even so, with the big production numbers of the third-generation Corvette-with 10 years of its 15-year production run seeing more than 30,000 built-there are plenty out there for building your way, or showing and cruising if it already is. What's Zappia's advice if you're looking for one? "You've got to look out for rust," he says. "You've got to have a good frame. People think that because it's a fiberglass-bodied car, that it doesn't rust, but it does underneath the body." He adds, "With the C3, you either love it or you hate it, because of its 'Coke-bottle' shape. I think they look neat. It's a very affordable car to get into, but it depends on what you want [to do with it]. I wanted horsepower, and that's why I put that in."
A new, elongated crossed-flags...
A new, elongated crossed-flags design debuted in 1980.
All '80 Vettes received 85-mph...
All '80 Vettes received 85-mph speedos, completing a phase-in process that began the previous model year.
A pair of Al Knoch repro seat...
A pair of Al Knoch repro seat covers complete the gorgeous Oyster-leather interior.
|Spec Sheet: 1980 Coupe
||GM Performance Parts ZZ4 iron; align-honed, decked, bored 0.030-in, and plate honed
||GMPP ZZ4 aluminum, ported/polished with three-angle valve job
||GMPP LT4 "Hot" (0.525/0.525-in lift, 218/228-deg duration, 110-deg LSA)
||Crane "Gold" aluminum roller, 1.6:1 ratio (intake/exhaust)
||Eagle Sir Steel steel
||Edelbrock Performer RPM cast aluminum
||Holley 770-cfm four-barrel
||MSD high-energy electronic and 8.0mm wires
||Hooker 1 5/8-in headers (Jet-Hot coated); aluminized 2 1/2-in exhaust pipes, "X" crossover, and DynoMax mufflers
||Modified GM Turbo-350; built by Centereach Transmission, Centereach, NY
||Stock 11 3/4-in steel, 2,110-rpm stall speed
||Restored stock steel
||Restored stock with RPO FE7 Gymkhana Suspension package
||Restored stock with aluminum housing, Positraction, and 3.08 gears
||Restored stock discs (front/rear)
||Stock RPO N90 aluminum, 15x8 (front/rear)
||Goodyear Eagle ST radial-ply, 255/60R15 (front/rear)