18 January 2013

Pricey Vintage Corvettes Bask in the 60th Anniversary Glow at the Arizona Classic Car Auctions

The 60th anniversary of the Corvette kicked off in the best possible way with the introduction of an all-new seventh generation version of the iconic American sports car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last Monday. And Corvettes seem to be on every collector’s mind at the classic car auctions taking place this weekend in Scottsdale, Ariz., with some of the best and most expensive examples of classic Corvettes on the planet being offered for sale. Here are four of our favorites:

Hagerty’s 1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe pop up video.

  1. 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 race car (Barrett-Jackson) —This is one very special Corvette. L88 was the option number for a high-performance engine meant for racing. It was a tremendously expensive option (almost $1,000 at a time when a Corvette cost around $5,000) and wasn't meant for ordinary civilians. Serious racers who were in the know ordered it (in very small numbers) to have the most competitive Corvette possible. This one is billed by Barrett-Jackson as the most victorious Corvette racer ever. Among the highlights: a class win at the 24 Hours of Daytona and several Sports Car Club of America championships. It’s expected to bring well in excess of $1 million.

  2. 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 roadster (Gooding & Company) —As mentioned above, the notorious L88 engine option wasn’t meant for ordinary Corvette drivers. With aluminum cylinder heads, big valves and a huge carburetor, it put out in the range of 560 horsepower. To discourage non-racers from ordering, GM underrated that number in the option list to “only” 430 horsepower – five less than the regular street big-block 427 – and didn’t offer the car with normal options like a heater or radio. A few non-racing buyers saw through it all and ordered the L88 in order to have a true weapons-grade stop-light drag racer. This particular car never raced (at least on a track), and it’s a very rare convertible model. It could bring up to $750,000.
  3. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 coupe (Gooding & Company) —If you didn’t have the money for the L88 engine and you wanted the most powerful Corvette meant for ordinary street duty, this is what you ordered – the big-block 427 cubic-inch engine with 435 horsepower.  Some Corvette fans will argue that the smaller-engine cars are nicer to drive and handle better. Big block owners call that sour grapes. This beautiful silver Sting Ray is expected to bring up to $150,000, or the equivalent of two brand new 2014 Corvettes.

  4. 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 coupe (RM Auctions) —The 60th anniversary has brought the rare L88s out of the woodwork. This is another car without a race history, but a rather bizarre street history – it was originally purchased by a father for his son’s college graduation. Amazingly, in spite of being essentially a race car and the property of a very young driver, no serious harm ever came it, and it still has its original numbers matching engine, something the Corvette collectors demand. A bit less desirable than the convertible L88, this one is expected to break a half million dollars.

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