Courtesy of Mecum Auctions
  • One of 6,759 produced
  • 14,515 miles believed to be original
  • Bloomington Gold Certified in 2005
  • Original window sticker
  • Matching-numbers 350-ci, 200-hp engine
  • Automatic transmission
  • Factory air conditioning
  • Tilt/telescopic steering column
  • Power steering
  • Power brakes
  • Power seat
  • Power dock locks
  • Power outside mirrors and antenna
  • Cruise control
  • Bronze-tinted glass T-tops
  • Bose radio
  • Aluminum wheels
  • BF Goodrich raised white-letter tires

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition
Years Produced:1982
Number Produced:6,759
Original List Price:$22,537.59
SCM Valuation:$18,000–$32,000
Tune Up Cost:$500 (with NOS parts)
Distributor Caps:$35
Chassis Number Location:Plate on lower left windshield pillar
Engine Number Location:On block in front of right cylinder head
Club Info:National Corvette Restorers Society
Alternatives:1978 Corvette Pace Car, 1978 Corvette Silver Anniversary, 1981–83 DeLorean DMC-12
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot K52, sold for $23,760, including buyer’s premium, at Mecum’s auction in Kissimmee, FL, on January 17, 2015.

Among new 2015 Chevrolet models, $23,760 and change will get you into a base Malibu or Camaro. Pouring in a few shekels gets you into a Silverado, and adding a few thou can bounce you right up to a Spark EV. Deal or no deal?

Well, new cars have their place for fuss-free transportation. And yet, wouldn’t you really rather squire into work on a sparkling Monday morning, or the bank parking lot on a warm Friday payday, in this? For the $23k that this C3 time capsule sold for at Mecum Kissimmee, as Keith Urban sang, “Baby, I’m in.”

Big style for rental-car money

In the latest world order of quarter-million-dollar ’63 Z06s and $150k midyear resto-mods, getting any presentable Corvette for a rental-car price seems like a righteous proposition. Especially when the car in question is presented as a 14,515 original-miles piece that isn’t just eligible for, but has already achieved, Bloomington Gold certification. Has the asteroid Ceres reflashed the Corvette gravitational field? Let’s find out.

The first step is to explain that the Collector Edition was not an option, but a specific model that included numerous features that were unavailable separately. Most obvious were unique Silver Beige paint (which ironically outnumbered the next most popular color, white, by more than two-to-one), graduated decals on the hood and body sides, special emblems and pinstripes, unique aluminum wheels, a frameless glass hatchback and a power antenna. Inside, the Collector Edition added a Silver Beige leather interior, a leather-covered steering wheel, special emblems, and upscale carpeting.

The Collector Edition also included standalone production options including CC1 removable glass roof panels (normally $443), QXH low-profile white-letter 255/60R15 tires (normally a heavy $542.52), and a C49 rear window defroster (normally $129). This particular car was also equipped with popular DG7 power mirrors ($125), the AG9 power driver’s seat ($197) and K35 cruise control ($165).

The good

Every third-generation Collector Edition has several positives going for it. First, the model represents the swan song of the longest-running Corvette generation, whose roots stretch back all the way to the chassis of the 1963 Sting Ray. In engineering terms, it began when John Glenn went into orbit and ended during the space shuttle program — an enormously long run for any kind of tech.

Second, the Collector Edition clearly has GM designer Bill Mitchell’s influence all over it, and is the last Corvette to ever wear the great GM design lord’s signature elements of an ultra-long nose and shark-like body.

Third, the ’82 Collector Edition was a one-year-only phenomenon, and only the third such special-edition ’Vette model ever offered (after 1978’s twin Pace Car and Silver Anniversary models).

Fourth, it was a well-equipped car that included as standard equipment most of the good stuff for the year — although the FE7 gymkhana suspension (a deal at $61) and the UN5 CB-equipped AM/FM radio ($695) would be worthy adds.

And finally, particular to this car, the 14,515 miles showing (and believed accurate) mean there’s many years of life left, and so putting on a few thousand more miles won’t hurt a thing. With a comprehensive servicing and inspection, this shark could be perfectly fit for duty.

The bad

Like every great stage character since Roman times, the ’82 Collector Edition also embodies certain tormented elements simply because it is a Corvette of its time. Perhaps the greatest failure is that no special engine accompanied the special model — its 350-ci iron V8 hoofed out the same 200 hp as any other Corvette that year. Worse, there was no manual transmission available, making the ’82 model the first Corvette since 1954 to not offer a proper gearbox.

Adding further insult is the federally mandated 85-mph speedometer, a somber reminder of the dark days of the 55-mph national speed limit. And lastly, Chevrolet dealers ordered and sold the heck out of this model — one in every four 1982 Corvettes is actually a Collector Edition.

The reality

Thirty-three years down the road, there are good lessons here. The main one is to be warier than a prairie dog in a shooting range when a major corporation brands a mainstream product with the word “Collector.”

Showing just how far wrong you can go with a Corvette investment in this case, the base price of the 1982 Collector Edition model was $22,537.59. Which means this car, a little-used driver with Bloomington Gold Certification in hand, sold at Mecum for just $1,223 more than its original base MSRP. And that does not take into account the erosion in the value of the dollar in those 33 years — a hit of Richter-scale proportions.

Do you believe in karma? Whoever bought this “collectible” in 1982 clearly lost the game on all accounts. But with a sale price here at the lower end of ACC’s $18,000–$32,000 range, whoever snatched it up in Kissimmee won. I just really wish it had been me.

(Introductory description courtesy of Mecum Auctions.

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