By the year 1980 rolled around, GM was already well into development for the next-generation Corvette (though it would not debut until 1984). With gas prices still high, and performance engines languishing under harsh emissions standards, GM was looking to put the “sport” back in its sports car. All options were on the table, including even a turbocharged engine.
As well all know, GM never built a turbocharged Corvette… but they did supposedly test one. Over on the Hemmings Classified pages, a seller claims he has one of these test cars, though it has not been certified. But it certainly looks like it could be legit to our untrained eyes.
The Corvette is a 1979 C3 model, and it packs a L-82-T engine, which is a Chevy 350 with a turbocharger. This setup was being used to meet government emissions standards while adding horsepower. It’s no big secret that cars from this era were lacking in oomph, so GM thought perhaps turbochargers were the way to go. In the end though, they settled on computer-controlled fuel injection to bump up the power.
That leaves this orphaned C3 as possibly the only example of GM’s turbo Corvette concept. The car, which has no official documentation, looks just as we imagine a turbo C3 Corvette should look. Everything seems period correct, and this car was even in the May 1980 issue of Road & Track magazine according to the seller. And we got to admit, that functional turbo hood looks pretty damn sweet.
But without GM documentation, is it worth shelling out $65,000 for what may just be a clean clone car?