Corvette C3 Special Editions

Over the years, Chevrolet has produced several special versions of the Corvette, and three different versions were produced during the C3 generation. In 1978, when the Corvette celebrated its 25th birthday, the Pace Car Replica and Silver Anniversary Edition were available. In the last year of the C3 generation, in 1982, a version called the Corvette Collector Edition was introduced.

1978 Limited Edition Pace Car Replica

Chevrolet negotiated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to have the Corvette as the pace car for 1978 Indy 500, resulting in a lot of publicity for the car.

It was originally planned to produce 300 of these replicas, but Chevrolet later decided to supply each dealer with one as a promotion, so the final production number was 6,502.

Pace Car Replica
General Motors commercial.

Pace Car Replica's option package RPO Z78 included several features such as two-tone silver and black paint with a red stripe between them, and the car came with 15 separate decals, but the large "Official Pace Car" decal or the door was installed by a dealer if wanted by the buyer.

The new front and rear spoilers are also clearly visible, both were made of flexible molded polyurethane and gave the car a stylish and more aggressive look. General Motors claimed drag was reduced by 15 percent and fuel economy improved by a one-half mile per gallon.

Pace Car Replicas introduced new seats that were designed for the following year's Corvettes and were standard on all 1979 cars. The silver interior with gray carpet was a unique color that was only available on the Pace Car Replica.

The Pace Car Replica had a standard 350 cu in L48 engine (185 hp) and an optional 350 cu in L82 engine (220 hp) was available. Transmission options were also the same as other 1978 Corvettes, either a three-speed automatic or a four-speed manual.

It also came with several accessories that were optional on other 1978 Corvettes, such as glass roof panels, aluminum wheels, sports mirrors, etc.

Pace Car Replicas were given a special serial number, so the eighth digit of the VIN is a 9 instead of 4 in regular production, which helps to determine if the car is genuine or possibly a replica clone. The Corvette C3 decoder recognizes and reports whether the requested VIN number is a Pace Car Replica.

Pace Car Replica VIN
Corvette C3 VIN Decoder page

The original car that actually drove in the Indy 500 had the serial number 400000 with an S replacing the H in the seventh digit, indicating that it was a prototype.

The value of the Corvette Pace Car Replica is slightly higher than the regular versions, you can compare these with Hagerty's tool.

1978 Silver Anniversary Edition

To celebrate the Corvette's 25th anniversary, in addition to the Pace Car Replica, a Silver Anniversary Edition was available, which was so popular that a third of all 1978s sold were Silver Anniversary Editions.

Silver anniversary Edition
General Motors commercial.

The Silver Anniversary was not a "true" special edition, more of a paint option, and the option package RPO BZ2 was more modest than the contents of the Pace Car Replica. It featured a two-tone silver paint finish with pinstripes, the same theme as the Pace Car Replica, but painted in two different shades of silver.

The 25th-anniversary paint option required aluminum wheels and dual sports mirrors, otherwise it was like a regular 1978 Corvette.

1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition

People were waiting for an all-new Corvette for 1983, so Chevrolet predicted that 1982 sales would be rather poor. That's why Chevrolet made the Corvette Collector Edition to celebrate the last year of the C3 generation and to increase sales.

The Collectors edition was the first Corvette to cost more than $20,000, but despite that, 6,759 were sold (production was not limited).

The Collector Edition included special silver/beige color paint with pinstripes, special cloisonné badges on the front, sides and rear, and wheels similar to the popular 1967 alloy wheels.

Collector Edition
General Motors commercial.

The package also included a matching silver/beige metallic interior with full-leather seats and door trim and bronze T-tops.

A new feature was also a functional rear glass hatch that gives access to the rear storage space.

The Collectors Edition had the same engine and transmission as the other 1982 Corvettes. Fuel injection (Cross-Fire Injection) with a 350 cu in 200 hp engine was introduced in the C3 Corvettes. A new four-speed automatic transmission (TH700R4) was used and a manual transmission was not available.

A genuine Collector Edition can be identified by the VIN code, it differs from normal production, as Chevrolet also did with the Pace Car Replica. The Collector Edition's sixth and seventh digits are 07, while other 1982 Corvettes are 87. The Corvette C3 decoder will recognize and tell you if the VIN is a Collectors Edition Corvette.

Collector Edition VIN
Corvette C3 VIN Decoder page

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