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."

Spec Sheet: 1980 Coupe
Owner: Tony Zappia
Block: GM Performance Parts ZZ4 iron; align-honed, decked, bored 0.030-in, and plate honed
Displacement: 383 ci
Compression Ratio: 10.25:1
Heads: GMPP ZZ4 aluminum, ported/polished with three-angle valve job
Valves: GMPP 1.94/1.50
Camshaft: GMPP LT4 "Hot" (0.525/0.525-in lift, 218/228-deg duration, 110-deg LSA)
Rocker Arms: Crane "Gold" aluminum roller, 1.6:1 ratio (intake/exhaust)
Pistons: SRP aluminum
Crankshaft: Eagle steel
Rods: Eagle Sir Steel steel
Intake Manifold: Edelbrock Performer RPM cast aluminum
Carburetor: Holley 770-cfm four-barrel
Ignition: MSD high-energy electronic and 8.0mm wires
Exhaust System: Hooker 1 5/8-in headers (Jet-Hot coated); aluminized 2 1/2-in exhaust pipes, "X" crossover, and DynoMax mufflers
Transmission: Modified GM Turbo-350; built by Centereach Transmission, Centereach, NY
Torque Converter: Stock 11 3/4-in steel, 2,110-rpm stall speed
Driveshaft: Restored stock steel
Suspension: Restored stock with RPO FE7 Gymkhana Suspension package
Rearend: Restored stock with aluminum housing, Positraction, and 3.08 gears
Brakes: Restored stock discs (front/rear)
Wheels: Stock RPO N90 aluminum, 15x8 (front/rear)
Tires: Goodyear Eagle ST radial-ply, 255/60R15 (front/rear)
Weight: 3,336 lbs.