A Tale of Two '82s

Also from Issue 74

  • 2009 ZR1
  • 1998 Coupe
  • 1990 Convertible
  • Buyer's Guide: C4
  • 1963 Coupe
  • 1954 Test Mule
  • Tech: Run-flat tires
  • Racing: Jan Magnussen
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Gino Burelli bought the car in 2002 and proceeded to run it up the National Corvette Restorers Society flagpole, winning nearly every award those doyens of Corvette originality have to offer. Most impressively, it passed the NCRS’s rigorous Performance Verification test, which means it ran exactly like an ’82 Corvette should run—something that can be difficult to achieve with a car that has seen so little use.

Picca doesn’t have the time or money to keep the red ’82 on the national NCRS event circuit, but he does enter it in local cars shows, transporting it on a trailer if much distance is involved. After all, the car is still rolling on its original Goodyear Eagle GTs—sized P255/60R15, these were a pricey $542 option—though Picca says the tires have no dry rot or any other obvious signs of age.

Despite the fact his two ’82s are accumulating very little mileage, Picca is a stickler about their maintenance. He has their vital fluids changed on a yearly basis, and has an experienced Corvette mechanic inspect them regularly. Trickle chargers keep their batteries charged and fuel additives keep the gasoline in their tanks stabilized.

As would be expected, he has accumulated very few repair bills. Fortunately, the gremlins that sometimes haunt Cross-Fire Injection have never visited the 200-horsepower V8s in these two Corvettes. “I’ve been lucky,” says Picca. He did, however, need to have the brake calipers on the white car repaired after having problems with them sticking. That car’s original tires had already been replaced (with Eagle GT+4s) when Picca bought it, and have a lot of life left in them.

We wondered why Picca didn’t target a Collector Edition Hatchback, as it is generally seen as the most desirable ’82 Corvette. “I don’t like its appearance,” he says. Picca has no problem with the hatchback design, which greatly improves access to the rear storage area; it is the model’s color scheme that he doesn’t appreciate. He describes its unique Silver-Beige exterior and interior colors as looking “dated,” and also isn’t fond of the decal package.

To Picca, an ’82 Corvette simply looks best in red. Apparently, Chevrolet felt the same way back in the day. It put a red example on the cover of its ’82 Corvette sales brochure. That cover car, according to Corvette expert Mike Vietro, may actually be Picca’s. There’s no way to be certain, but even the possibility adds a certain luster to the car’s already well-burnished image. Obviously, Picca wasted no time in tracking down a copy of that ’82 brochure. He keeps it together with all the other documents that came with the cars, including that signed Penthouse.

In case you’re wondering, Picca says there will be no other ’82s in his future. Part of it comes down to space: His four-car garage is already full, with a ’96 Grand Sport coupe and an ’03 Anniversary convertible parked next to the C3s. The rest comes down to desire: “Right now, I’m pretty satisfied with what I have,” says Picca.