AJ's Car of the Day '81 Chevrolet C3 Corvette

Car: Chevrolet C3 Corvette

Year: 1981

What makes it special: Chevrolet's C3 Corvette was produced for the 1968 through 1982 model years. Engines and chassis components were mostly carried over from the previous generation, but the body and interior were new. The C3 is the third generation of the Chevrolet Corvette.

What made it famous: Both front and rear bumper covers were restyled with brand new integrated aerodynamic spoilers that resulted in a significant reduction in drag and increased radiator air flow. The hood was also restyled as well. The crossed-flag emblems disappeared from the front fenders and were revised to a more elongated style on the nose and fuel door. Air conditioning became standard, as did the tilt-telescopic steering column, power windows, exterior sport mirrors, and the convenience group. Many weight-saving components were introduced including thinner body panels and an aluminum Dana 44 Independent Rear Suspension differential and cross-member. In 1981, there was only one powerplant available, a 350 cu in engine that produced the 190 hp, but was now designated the L81. Chrome air cleaner lids and cast magnesium valve covers dressed up all engines. The stainless steel exhaust manifolds and computer control system introduced on the 305 cu in was now standard, as was an auxiliary electric engine cooling fan. This model year was the first corvette to use a fiberglass rear leaf spring, now a Corvette trademark. The spring saved thirty-six pounds, but was limited to base suspensions with automatic transmission.

Why I would want one: It's a Corvette. No matter what year, everyone wants a Corvette.

Fun fact: As the last C3 available with a manual transmission, it had a published 0-60 mph time of 8.1 seconds.