1976 Corvette 4-Speed Survivor At No Reserve!


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We’re on a hot streak for survivor cars at the moment–I like it! This survivor 1976 C3 Chevrolet Corvette is wearing it’s original paint that looks pretty good, and it’s only covered 30,748 miles so far–I’d love to be the next driver! It’s located in Marshall, Illinois and is up for auction at no reserve here on eBay.


I happen to like the later 70’s bumpers like this over the chrome bumpers and “Kamm” tail of the earlier C3 cars. I’m split on the large glass fastback of the very last C3’s or the upright rear window and “flying buttresses” of this car, but I do like this one. I’m also a big fan of the rally wheels with the super deep stainless steel trim rings. Trivia: the only two cars that I’m aware of that originally came with 15″ trim rings this deep are Corvettes and Triumph TR6’s.


The sleekness of the C3 “coke bottle” shape is really evident in this shot. Yes, a lot of folks say bad things about the C3, but look, you can be only the third owner of this one, it’s very original and even has a four-speed manual transmission!


That’s original leather seats and a four speed, what look like perfect door panels and dash. The owner states that they planned to keep this car forever, but as you might expect, situations change and it has to be sold.


As you can see, the car also comes with a terrific set of documentation as shown. I like that even the little key fob is period and Corvette!


Admittedly, the 180 horsepower, 350 cubic inch V8 isn’t the most desirable engine in the world, but it is original to the car. Apart from the previous owner painting some items under the hood, the appearance is very original under here as well. The one main thing missing as far as I’m concerned is air conditioning, although the seller does say the clock and emergency brake don’t work. I’m guessing those are both fixable by a home enthusiast; I wish I could be that person!

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    I would seriously advise anyone interested in a Corvette of this vintage to get to know one first. BEFORE ever considering one. They are a very acquired taste. Not so much when you are in your 20’s. When you are older those creature comforts like ride quality room etc. make a big difference.

    The non working A/C is a major problem here. Even IF it had factory air it does little to help. The heat from the engine will cook you from the bottom if your feet all the way up. Removing the tops on a sunny day only make it worse. It is an L48 and means low power 350. The manual trans although would seem like a plus to many. I have found that the clutch is too stiff and the Saginaw is clunky. Backing out or parking at a stop even with power steering is a chore. I would rather have an auto. Cant beat the GM Turbo.

    Rear spring has the normal sag. It is heavy. An upgrade to your butt (and I mean yours) every dead bump will jar and go right through you. Plan to swap it with a composite or an original one. Check the rear diff cover for stress when you are there. Also to service rear bearings and do it right must be removed.

    Tires are the 1980’s vintage Eagle ST’s. Plan on new tires. Amazing 15″ tires are the most expensive. It is cheaper to get 17″-18″ tires now.

    The colors used to have an affect on price. Not sure about now. I have been out of the Corvette wave at the other Corvette driver as you pass crowd for years. Brown with Tan not the most popular. A travel car that can only handle an overnight bag behind the seats. If traveling without tops = no overnight bag.

    Really the only plus is that it does handle pretty well as compared to anything else from the 1970’s. The Quadrajet gives you that performance sound when you hammer it while barely changing speed lol! The engine and trans are the only inexpensive things on these.

    For my money the price it would take to own this I would buy a higher mileage 1990’s Corvette for less if I were to ever jump back on that train. Don’t see that happening.

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    • Rob

      You really don’t like C3’s do you. You really ripped this one apart.

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    I should clarify. I am not a Corvette hater. I had one when I was in my 20’s. The only time to own one in my opinion. When you are young to enjoy it. My friends had Vettes too. We would line them up on the street and hang out. To pick up the hot girls it was what you drove. The Corvette did not discriminate. It attracted the best. Couldn’t do that in a Gremlin unless it was a hot girl with three kids!

    Back then there were even a few night clubs in the bigger city that had Corvette only parking right next to the entry door. We tried it out one weekend five of us in single file. We were the kings!

    At the time it was a fun car to have and really like no other. I am far from being in my 20’s now and the emphasis on them now is no where what it once was. Times change.If they are your cup of tea then enjoy.

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    • ToniM

      I am a 45 year old woman and I have a 1999 C5 that I bought last year. I adore mine. I have an absolute blast with it. Took it up on the Blue Ridge Parkway a couple of weeks ago, dropped the top, and had a wonderful drive.

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  3. dj

    I would like to add my 2 cents. I’ve owned several including 3 C3’s. Remember that those before 78 are hot as crap. The A/C will blow cold and you’ll still burn up in it. I had a 77 and I wore shorts and flip flops all the time in it because of the heat. I moved up to the 78 Silver Anny with the different floor pan. I was like from daylight to dark in difference. Also remember that a non tilt steering wheel is a pain in the but to get in if you’re full figured now. I’m not a hater as well. I’m doing an 82 Corvette now.

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  4. Blueprint

    I like Corvettes, but up here they are female repellents. In Quebec, a Jetta is your best bet 😉

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    • DENIS

      If you gotta drive a JETTA-sounds like a good reason to re-locate…baaahaaaa

      Like 1
  5. Carl

    That was a pretty hateful rant. I have a 76 4 speed that I restored pretty much from the ground up. My ac wasn’t working when I got the car and ended up taking it all out. Worth the windows down its not bad. One recommendation is to spray under the carpet with bedliner and spray the floor pans under the car as well. It blocks out a lot of heat and I don’t have any issues.
    While the clutch is stiff the only problem I had was a sore leg sitting in traffic. Never had any issues backing into spots or anything. I just swapped out the clutch and a new one is the world of difference I thought something was wrong.
    As far as storage I was able to fit a set of golf clubs back there and have no problem with 2 gym size duffle bags for a trip. The t tops do take up room but it’s not fun driving on the highway with them off anyways.
    Things are expensive just bc it says corvette. The ride can be fixed with new shocks and simple to do. I’m sure parts were different back in the day. There are a lot of modifications that can be done and are available. It’s a great car to learn on. Fun to drive if you pull the emission restrictions off. I drove a auto and almost fell asleep. Hands down a 4 speed is a lot more fun to bang through the gears. Also another plus is a big block will swap right in with minimal issues or mods. Its the same car as the chrome bumper ones without the big price tag. Or maybe I just got lucky and got a good car.

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  6. Paul R

    “Fall in and crawl out” Not the best car for us older guys.
    No A/C is a deal killer also. I owned a 74 and a 78 and like the body style, but you can buy a nice LT-1 powered 94 to 96 C4 for less than 10K and get a much better ride.

    Like 1
  7. DrinkinGasoline

    Vette’s are like sitting down on a 2×4 piece of lumber with metal roller skate wheels attached to the bottom, surrounded by the same flimsyglass material used in an amusement park ride….
    Think “Soap Box Derby Car”.
    IMHO, the last decent Vette was ’62, and even those rode terrible. (Yeah, I know, sacrifice comfort for speed)…..not Me.
    To this day, the Corvette is not a comfortable vehicle, but remains as a “Mid-Life Strife”.

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    Carl, No intent on being hateful. I didn’t restore mine I bought it at Corvette dealer when it was less then 5 years old traded in by a woman with under 40,000 miles. I was 23 and had a very good paying job. My insurance agent who was a friend of the family (now retired) still talks about how he had to work around every loophole to get me coverage. Believe me I spent many hours in it for almost five years. I traded it in with 110,000 on a new Mustang GT (another story) so to say I knew it well I did. I simply relayed what I knew. Friendly advice for someone wanting one because it looks cool.

    As far as a manual before I bought mine I drove my friends car. He had the four speed. Yeah it was fun for about 30 min. but turned into work quickly. In a Chevelle or Camaro you sit higher and reach over the shifter. You simply have room to move around. In a Corvette you set down and back in it. Seats only have limited travel and are just high enough to that the bottom doesn’t drag across the floor. The position of the shifter isn’t designed to hang over it. Maybe it is me. I have long arms and wasn’t a pleasure driving which I outlined above. Indecently both being stock say what you want but my buddy couldn’t out shift the GM turbo trans. Believe me we drove them like they were stolen.

    I have to disagree with new shocks help the ride. My car was nearly new and always rode bad. It wasn’t until about 80,000 miles the rear of the car was lower then the front. The same sag the car above has. My rear diff cover broke after going over a bridge transition in the road one night. The rear spring fell onto the pavement and the whole rear fell and rode on the ground. I ordered a new composite rear spring and HD cover from Ecklers. I believe the cover was heavier then the spring when the mail man brought them. Ride was night and day afterward. If you ever get a chance I urge you to compare your 76 to a stock 1978. You will see what I mean. Good luck.

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  9. RollerD

    The color will hold this one down but I like it. Would buy it if I had the room.

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  10. YellowjaxMember

    Hot inside? Try an early AH 3000. Had to drive that one naked.

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  11. Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

    Sorry, folks…as someone who has spent a lot of enjoyable time in early Spridgets, a C3 is positively luxurious and a breeze to get in and out of in comparison! But each to his or her own :-)

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  12. Black Cat

    Hell, I’m not even remotely a “Corvette guy”, but I like this car for everything it is and everything it isn’t. It’s unassuming and unmolested, yet has that classic shape that was over the top in its day. It may be no powerhouse, but it has enough for its limited chassis prowess, and it’s a manual gearbox car. Root beer brown was quite popular in the ’70’s. If I had a spot in the stable for another car, one that would just feel good to look at and take for a stroll, much like taking one’s lab for a walk, this could be it. As it is, the stable is full of European horses, so there’s no room at the inn.

    Like 1
  13. Canso Mike

    You have to be an old man to afford it and a young man to get in and out of it.

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  14. Mike

    I bought a Brown 75 in 1988, I did not like the color but sure did like the price. I paid $5500.00 for it and it only had 45,000 miles on it. The story that the guy I bought it from was that his brother bought the car while in the Army, so when he was over seas the Vette set in his Mom and Dad’s garage. Well after he decided to marry a girl from Germany and she did not want to leave to come back to the US with him, he stayed in Germany. It was going to cost a fortune to ship the Vette over seas, so he sold it to his brother (the guy I bought it from), who put most of the miles on it. Well after some years of not driving it, he put it up for sell and asked My Dad clean it up and repair the chips and such in the paint. After that he ask if Dad would park it outside of his shop with a for sale sign in it. Well it set there for about 6 months and nobody would give him what he was asking, so I offered him $5500.00 for it and I bought it.
    I drove it some and after a year or so, I was offered what I paid for it plus a little and it went down the road. The Guy I sold it to belongs to the same Vette club so when we do Vette shows or Poker runs I still see the old thing, and yes it is still Ugly Brown. But he loves the car, so to each is his own!!!

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  15. PRA4SNW

    It’s simple, you’re either a Corvette person or you’re not. Then, you’re either a C1, 2, 3, 4, etc person or not.

    I had a C3 from my 20’s into my 50’s and sold it. Now I’m thinking of getting back in. Sure, an LT1 C4 is the best choice for the $$, but I’m a C3 guy. And even into my mid-50’s, getting in and out of it, having a sore left leg if running in traffic, feeling the heat, etc. is all part of the experience. Buy a later model car if you want creature comforts.

    Like 1

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