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L-82 History

In 1967 Chevrolet introduced the all new sporty Camaro model and RPO (regular production option) Z/28. The Z/28's of 1967-1969 used the hellacious 290 horsepower 302 small-block hybrid, created exclusively for the original Trans-Am Camaro in 1967 by stuffing a 283 crankshaft into a 327 block. It was this engine that laid the groundwork for the LT-1. Chevy small-block parts mixed and matched so easily, applying the Z/28 touch to the 350 V-8 was as easy as turning a wrench.

After serving two years beneath Camaro hoods, the 350 small-block finally replaced the reliable 327 V-8 as the Corvette's standard power source in 1969, and RPO LT-1 was listed as an option that year. Chevrolet had to cancel the option until 1970 due to a parts shortage. In 1970 The LT-1 debuted as the Corvette's high performance small-block with 370 horsepower. In 1971 the LT-1 had 330 horsepower and in 1972, it's last year of production, the LT-1 was rated at 255 net horsepower.

By the early 70’s high performance began slipping. The LT-1 died after 72, the last big-block options were banished after 1974, and the convertible departed after 1975, a victim of falling demand. In 1973 the L-82 RPO was introduced as one of three engines that year, becoming the “high performance” small-block for the Corvette through 1980. It sort of replaced the LT-1 option that was last used in 1972. That doesn't mean that the L-82 was anything close to the LT-1; it just provided the owner with something besides the rather anemic L-48 base engine.

What is an L-82?
The L-82 made it's debut in 1973 as the throttled down smog successor to the original LT-1. With a 9.0:1 compression ratio, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, and hydraulic lifters, it was rated at 250 net horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 285 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The L-82 has large port cylinder heads, pushrod guideplates, a long duration camshaft, a forged-steel crankshaft, moly rings, finned aluminum valve covers, a high capacity starter and a four-bolt block. 

Horsepower ratings varied from year to year as Chevrolet attempted to meet changing emissions and fuel economy requirements. L-82 horsepower ratings ranged from a high of 250 in 19'73-19'74 to a low of 205 in 19'75. In 1980, it's last year of production, the L-82 was rated at 230 horsepower.

Year         Horsepower         Quantity
1973         250         5,710
1974         250         6,690
1975         205         2,372
1976         210         5,720
1977         210         6,148
1978         220         12,739
1979         225         14,516
1980         230         5,069

Source: The Corvette Black Book
by Mike Antonick
Published by Michael Bruce Associates, Inc.