Last of the "Big 'Vette" series, the 1982 Corvette lineup included a built-to-order-only Collector Edition model. Distinguished by more than just special paintwork, though of course it had that too, the Collector Edition featured an opening hatchback rear window in place of the previous fixed backlight. As well as a unique silver-beige metallic, "fading shadow" paint scheme, the Collector Edition's other distinguishing features included matching interior with leather upholstery and door trim, "Corvette Collector Edition" crossed-flag emblems, solar screened roof panels and special spoked alloy wheels. Two just-introduced technical innovations enjoyed by all Corvettes were a new four-speed automatic transmission and Cross-Fire electronic fuel injection. Power steering, power brakes and tinted glass were among the host of standard features.

Supplied new in the US, this two-owner example was acquired by the vendor in 1991 and is presented in totally original, as-new condition, having covered just 680 miles from new. Cruise control, power driver's seat, power door locks, electric sport mirrors, roof panel carrier and AM/FM/cassette/CB are the fitted options.

Rated as in "excellent" condition when assessed by an independent Corvette authority in October 2002, the car is offered with full documentation, owner's handbook, tool kit and roadworthiness certificate.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition
Years Produced:1982
Number Produced:6,759
Original List Price:$22,537.59
SCM Valuation:$13,925-$22,000
Tune Up Cost:$445
Distributor Caps:$24.75
Engine Number Location:On pad just in front ofpassenger-side engine head
Club Info:National Corvette Owners Association, 900 South Washington Street, Falls Church VA 22046; National Corvette Restorers Society, 6291 Day Road, Cincinnati, OH 45252
Alternatives:1978 Chevrolet CorvetteSilver Anniversary, 1978 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car, Iso Grifo
Investment Grade:C

This car sold for $21,460, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Geneva auction March 10, 2003.

Some well-known limited editions celebrate racing heritage, such as the Indy pace car replicas. Others were sometimes created by marketing departments as a way to increase sales by tapping into that oh-so-human desire to have something just a little different from our neighbors. Sometimes, as with the Alfa Romeo GTV-6 Balocco, putting a stripe kit on the car and screwing a “Limited Edition” plaque to the dash was a last-ditch attempt to do something, anything, to help clear the docks of a model that simply wasn’t selling.

Perhaps the most famous example of a limited edition from the 1950s was the Dodge La Femme, a full-sized pink car, outfitted with lipstick containers, perfume bottles, a matching umbrella and other “necessities” for the stylish woman of the era.

The 1960s saw limited editions that included the Mustang California Special and the High Country Special, distinguished from their more common brethren only by superficial elements. The California Special, for example, had a Shelby-style rear spoiler and taillights, as well as non-functional side scoops with GT/CS graphics, extra badging and stripes. The grille was blacked out and fog lights were installed.

In the 1970s the concept of the limited edition really took hold. Lincoln had its designer and collector editions, including the Cartier, while Cadillac topped everyone with the 1976 Eldorado convertible “Bicentennial Edition.” The 1976 Eldorado was touted as the last full-size American convertible; the Bicentennial was to be its ultimate incarnation. Two or three times a year at auction, you will find a low-miles 1976 Bicentennial convertible that was put away by an “investor.” As you might have guessed, the Bicentennial Edition cars now bring just a slight premium over the regular ’76 Eldo convertibles.

The 1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition follows in these none-too-humble footsteps: it is a car that celebrated little more than special trim, fadeaway-style paint, graphics and a rear window that finally opened hatch-style. For me, getting excited about the 1982 Collector Edition is like celebrating a business trip to Cleveland.

The Collector Edition 1982 Corvette was, is and remains as important as you feel it is. No technological breakthroughs different from other 1982 Corvettes can be found under the hood. It won’t go any faster, nor will it stop any quicker, than any other 1982 Corvette.

1982 Collector Edition Corvettes tend to range in price from under $10,000 for worn-out examples to over twice that for low-mileage, well-cared-for cars. At $21,460 in Switzerland, this car represents a small bargain, assuming European taxes were paid. Similar cars for similar money can still be found on our side of the pond.

Now over 20 years old, this particular Corvette has traveled just a few dozen miles per year. Although Corvettes tend to be a hearty breed, any car left sitting and unused is sure to exhibit a few problems. From the inexpensive belt and hose replacement to the more expensive flat spots on tires, even the lucky wind up paying a few thousand dollars during the first few thousand miles of use as they bring a stored car back to life.

A less fortunate new owner might have to spend several thousand for replacement of dried-out seals, or perhaps might be facing radiator or internal coolant-related problems. Also, will the new owner want to drive his Corvette, realizing that each new mile subtracts substantially from the value of his recent purchase?

An interesting aside to this predicament is that for a total of less than $25,000, someone now owns a “new” Corvette for approximately half the price of a 2003 model. He got no warranty, and the new-car smell has undoubtedly faded away, but a 680-mile Corvette for the price of a loaded Toyota has its own special appeal.-Dave Kinney

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