New bumper caps for both ends were featured in 1980, and they included integral spoilers. They
were similar to the 1979 and (pace car replica) 1978 spoilers but without the seam they offered a neater appearance. Radiator
airflow was improved with the new design.
Corvettes, which had been slowly gaining weight, went on a diet for 1980. Lightened roof panels,
an aluminum differential housing and cross member along with a thinner hood, windshield, frame and door panels all contributed
to the cause. Federal government regulations entered a new era of absurdity with the requirement of a speedometer limited
to 85 mph. There was no limitation to the top speed of the Corvette.
A roof panel carrier became a popular option (RPO V54; $125.00) in 1980. It cleared up a lot of
storage space for owners that liked traveling topless.
1980 was not a good year for Corvette buyers living
in California. They were restricted to one engine choice, a 305 cu in. motor that was common to the other Chevrolet models
that year. There was also only one available transmission - an automatic - no four speeds allowed. This was the result of
the state's tougher emissions regulations. Automatic transmission equipped cars are easier to pass emissions certification
since pushing in the clutch on a manual transmission causes a blip in the pollution output. This is not a problem with smooth
shifting automatic transmissions which are equipped with torque convertors instead of clutches.
The 305 cu. in. motor that California buyers were stuck
with was rated at 180 hp, 10 hp less than the 350 cu. in. motor available in the other 49 states. A $50.00 credit was some
consolation, but Corvettes sold to California residents came with the California emissions certification option; RPO YF5 for
Improved seats, first available on the 1978 pace car replicas and standard on 1979 'vettes were
available in cloth for the first time. Buyers could choose either cloth or leather with no price difference. For most people,
leather may have looked better and was easier to clean while the easy breathing cloth was more comfortable on hot days.