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      Car History: Car History Year 1982
    Posted on Monday, September 27 @ 13:24:01 UTC by Cars
      Cars The recession was finally beginning to bottom out, but there were stil! some hard times ahead before any noticeable improvements in prosperity would be apparent. !n February, President Ronald Reagan announced that the deficit in the forthcoming fiscal year would amount to a staggering $91.5 billion and proposed a program of increased taxation and severe reductions in federal spending. By the end of the year the deficit had risen to over $110 billion, the unemployment rate was 10.8, industry was working at two-thirds of full capacity, and the number of people classified as being below the poverty line had risen to the highest level since 1967. Interest rates still remained high, yet housing construction and car sales began to show signs of a slight recovery.

    One auto company to disappear was De Lorean. Set up in Northern Ireland with substantial UK government grants by the former General Motors executive John De Lorean, the company built a futuristic gull-wing sports car. However, the DeLorean's design, produced in (theoretical) collaboration with Colin Chapman, of world champion race car constructors Lotus, had catastrophic flaws: the front end was so light that the hood had to be weighted with lead and it was discovered that paint would not adhere to the stainless-steel panel work. On top of that, the rear-mounted Volvo power plant was incapable of delivering the level of performance that the car's appearance implied. Despite further massive injections of British tax-payers' cash, courtesy of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, annual production and sales of the model never came close to the 20,000 units forecast. After De Lorean went out of business, many questions were raised about mismanagement of the business, but most remain unanswered. The car was immortalized as Michael J. Fox's time machine in the movie Back to the Future. The economic recession was being felt around the world and set against this somber background, the arrival of the third-generation Chevrolet Camaro was hardly likely to raise much attention outside the automotive press, but the new model did create a few headlines. Selected as Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year, the Camaro enjoyed a great first year, selling a very impressive 189,747 units despite only being introduced in February '82. And, for the third time, the Camaro was chosen as the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car, with 6,360 replicas of the Z28 sold to the public. With an increasing trend towards the use of front-wheel-drive on new models in the '80s it might seem peculiar that the Camaro remained with the traditional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration. A change to front-wheel-drive was considered, but the engineers decided that if the V8 engine was to be retained (and there were plenty of good reasons for keeping the V8) then the only sensible solution was to keep things as they were. That didn't mean that there weren't many changes made to the third-generation. Far from it. The '82 Camaro was almost ten inches shorter than the '81, had a seven-inch shorter wheelbase and was 2.8 inches narrower. A 500 pound weight reduction and fuel economy stipulations saw a four-cylinder engine offered in the Camaro for the first time - the 155 cu.in. Iron Duke from Pontiac. Other engines available were a 173 cu.in. V6 of 102 horsepower, and a couple of 305 cu.in. (5.0-liter) V8s. The standard Z28 V8 engine came with a single four-barrel carburetor and put out 145 horses, while the optional fuel injected version was rated at 165hp. The Camaro was offered in three basic models: the economy Sport Coupe, the luxurious Berlinetta and the high performance Z28. Each was trimmed differently, the Z28 being easily identifiable by having no grille openings above the bumper line and extra air dams on the front and sides. The third-generation Camaro proved to be so successful initially that it stayed pretty much unchanged (apart from juggling with option lists and minor alterations to model specifications) through to 1992. But it was the years to 1987 that were most successful, with 1.1 million Camaros sold in total. Thereafter, only 412,000 were purchased in the final five years. These later years saw the Camaro produced solely at the Van Nuys, California assembly plant following the closure of the Norwood, Ohio factory in '87. In *92 the Van Nuys facility closed and Camaro production transferred to Canada. Specification CHEVROLET CAMARO Z28 Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 305 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.74 x 3.48 ins. Horsepower 145 Body styles 4 No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 2.870 Ibs Price $9,700 Produced 63,500     Specification CHRYSLER LEBARON Engine Cast iron - 4 Cylinders in line Displacement 135 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.44 x 3.62 ins. Horsepower 84 Body styles Coupe; 4 door sedan; Convertible coupe; Medallion sedan/coupe/convertible No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 2,470 Ibs-2,660 Ibs Price $8,143-$13,998 Produced 92,000     Specification CHEVROLET CORVETTE COLLECTORS' EDITION Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 350 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.00x3.48 ins. Horsepower 200 Body styles Coupe No. of seats 2 Weight (lbs) 3,233 Ibs Price $22,537 Produced 6,759  
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