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Old 06-08-2011, 12:22 AM   #1
bhk2
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Default 1980 Speedometer 85 or 140mph?

I remember driving my dad's 80 with a speedometer that went to 140, but most cars that I am reviewing on line show the the meter going to 85 mph.

Is there a reason for the two different speedometers?

thanks.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:53 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhk2 View Post
I remember driving my dad's 80 with a speedometer that went to 140, but most cars that I am reviewing on line show the the meter going to 85 mph.

Is there a reason for the two different speedometers?

thanks.
I think it was in 1973 that the national speed limit was set to 55 mph. Later on in the 70's, Joan Claybrook of the NHTSA enacted a mandate requiring all vehicles to have speedometers that only read up to 85 mph... Claybrook thought that people wouldn't speed if their speedometer didnt have big numbers on it.

The 85mph speedos started in late '79 through the remainder of the C3 run.

The digital dash in the new '84 Corvette had a speed meter that maxed out at 85, but the digital speed readout would go ahead and register higner than 85.

In your dad's '80, one of two things could've happened. Either the factory found a 140 mph unit laying around and installed it, or it isn't the car's original speedometer.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhk2 View Post
I remember driving my dad's 80 with a speedometer that went to 140, but most cars that I am reviewing on line show the the meter going to 85 mph.

Is there a reason for the two different speedometers?

thanks.
85 was required by law in 1980. Aftermarket speedometers that go higher are available.
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:12 AM   #4
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Chevrolet had planned to introduce the 85 mph speedometer on the 1980 model. Demand for 79 Corvettes was greater than expected and production was extended. Some time in July 1979, Chevrolet used up their supply of 140 mph speedo's and started using the 1980 85 mph speedometers, in 79 Corvettes. All 1980 and later Corvettes used the 85 mph speedometer.

I would guess that someone switched the 85 speedo in your father's 80, for an earlier 145 unit. This was a very common swap. People started replacing the 85 mph units, almost from the very first day that Chevrolet started installing them!
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:21 AM   #5
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I had to replace the speedo in my 82 and opted for the 140 mph one. You can get a 160 mph one as well. They refaced mine and it still has the look of the 82 stocker, but reads 140. I like it
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:47 AM   #6
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On my '81 I have a 160mph speedometere.The P.O switched it.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhk2 View Post
I remember driving my dad's 80 with a speedometer that went to 140, but most cars that I am reviewing on line show the the meter going to 85 mph.

Is there a reason for the two different speedometers?

thanks.
Could have been he had a Canadian Car that read 140 Km/h from factory.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:50 PM   #8
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I personally like the 85 speedo in my '82. It's a great conversation topic at car shows especially with the younger folks.

I had a young Cop ask me once if 85MPH was as fast as it would go. My answer was, "I wouldn't know" and left it at that.
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:58 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for the historical perspective and knowledge of the work around-very helpful.
B
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gbvette62 View Post
Chevrolet had planned to introduce the 85 mph speedometer on the 1980 model. Demand for 79 Corvettes was greater than expected and production was extended. Some time in July 1979, Chevrolet used up their supply of 140 mph speedo's and started using the 1980 85 mph speedometers, in 79 Corvettes. All 1980 and later Corvettes used the 85 mph speedometer.

I would guess that someone switched the 85 speedo in your father's 80, for an earlier 145 unit. This was a very common swap. People started replacing the 85 mph units, almost from the very first day that Chevrolet started installing them!
Never heard that story on the 79's.....

Glad mine has to 140.
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Old 07-14-2013, 09:38 PM   #11
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80 81 use 85to mph speedo
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:57 PM   #12
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My understanding is that 79's have the 140mph, and 1980-82 have the 85mph. I have heard of some late 79's that have 85mph, but I have not seen any. I have also heard of some late 79's with the 2 door back trays instead of the 3 door.

My 79 has the 140mph, and has 3 doors.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:57 PM
 
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