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1981 Corvette: In Plane Sight


While some Corvette owners may think their cars can outrun a plane, this is a case of both the plane and car being in equally sad states. Sent in by Barn Finds reader Mike F., this 1981 Corvette here on craigslist shares space in an airplane hangar with a project-grade plane in the background. Can anyone identify it? 


The seller of this Corvette claims it has received lots of attention over the years, ranging from a rebuilt engine and transmission to an interior that is 75% done. Despite the headlight actuators being replaced, it appears the Corvette is still winking at us. The body has been sanded down and there are cracks in both fenders, but the car has never been wrecked. There’s a lot of work to do and we have no pictures of the interior to determine just how close it is to being finished, so the $3,000 asking price seems high to me. If you’ve got a BMW or Audi to trade, he might be interested in swapping projects.

Image courtesy of CorvetteForum.com

Really, what I think is happening here is that the seller was part of GM’s marketing department in the 1980s. In this period advertisement, you can just make out the highlighted quote’s reference to how the Corvette was produced with the same goals as a fighter jet: what is the mission? How will the Corvette execute that mission? So, replace “military aircraft” with “old Cessna” and a brand-new Corvette with this dilapidated project, and it’s practically the same thing. Right?


  1. Avatar photo jim s

    two planes in background, the grey one might be a taildragger and the other one is a piper cherokee.

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    • Avatar photo gorzor

      Not a Cherokee. That is a Comanche. Not a 400, too short a nose.

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  2. Avatar photo Steve

    Here’s a Taylorcraft L-2….notice the low turtledeck on the rear fuselage….like the ad.

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  3. Avatar photo Steve

    Looks like my first post didn’t go thru….The plane in the background is not a Cherokee, though it is painted like one. It’s a Mooney, most likely an M-20. Notice the rear window and the distinctive tail under the blue tarp….

    Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Steve

    Well, after looking at the pic, I was wrong and Jim was more right than I was by far. It looks to be a Comanche…..notice the flat roof and the more square window in door.
    Moderator, please delete the Mooney post!!!!!

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  5. Avatar photo Al

    Looks like retractable nose gear probably Piper Comanche.

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  6. Avatar photo 365Lusso

    I was thinking Comanche too. The Corvette of its time, especially the Comanche 400. Always wanted one of those hotrods.

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  7. Avatar photo Chad O.

    I don’t get the negative connotation of just about every car highlighted on Barn Finds. There’s usually one, maybe two, positive comments to go with the 10 negatives.

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    • Avatar photo Mike L

      You are correct Chad, though I find that some of the negative comments are spot on and can be very educational! I usually skip over the derogatory ones, as in life you have to take the good with the bad! Great site, I usually learn something new from these posts!

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  8. Avatar photo Mike O'Handley


    Not a Commanche. It’s a Mooney 20C – Around 1963-64. Tricycle landing gear.

    See the tail in primer at the right side of the Vette? Notice the forward slope on the back of the vertical stabilizer – the forward slope of the back edge of both stabilizers – the vertical front edge of the v.s.’? Those are Mooneys, and the one in the background might be a parts plane for the one with the freshly primed tail just out of frame on the right with just the bottom back corner of the tail showing; or they might be Mooney specialists who restore Mooneys exclusively.

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  9. Avatar photo Milt

    The plane in the background with the “inverted” rudder is a Mooney Mark 21. This aircraft is still hand-made in Kerrville, Texas and pilots regard it as the Ferrari of single engine aircraft.

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    • Avatar photo cyclemikey

      The last place I’d want to be is several thousand feet in the air in a machine with the reliability of a Ferrari. Just sayin….

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  10. Avatar photo Duncan

    In the foreground is a Hirth powered ultralight called a “Speed Hornet” (pretty scary)!
    The other appears to be a Piper PA-24 Comanche. Cowling and A pillar is clearly Piper.
    Mooney is now owned by Chinese and are being built in China, although last report had 55 people still working in the Kerrville TX plant. China has snapped up several General Aviation manufacturers.

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo rancho bella

    Chad O.

    Dec 25, 2015 at 11:21am

    I don’t get the negative connotation of just about every car highlighted on Barn Finds. There’s usually one, maybe two, positive comments to go with the 10 negatives.

    Chad, if someone gets into some of these cars it is nothing but fools notion of something that doesn’t exist……..greatness. A waste of money, tiny percentage of a buying public. It’s all about demographics.

    The major percentage of interest is in very few marques. Take this pile of a Detroit nightmare. Even if perfect these Corvettes are toads. Don’t get me wrong……if someone likes mustaches, white shoes, wide ties and bad music……..this Corvette is for them. Big, heavy, slow and ill handling……….and that is when they were new.

    90 percent of these finds are nothing more than money and time out the window.

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  12. Avatar photo Gnrdude

    Awesome this is My Dream Barn Find., Junk the Original LOW Compression 350, Go with a ZZ-350 Junk the Emissions Equipment, Go with a Laminated Coated Exhaust system like Sonny Crockett’s Daytona Spider Witch was a Customized C-3 Vette. Them Probably replace the Dash with either 140MPH Speedo Or A Dakota Digital Dash. Ohh and Not To mention Re-finish in a Nice Forest Green That’s Often Confused for BLACK.

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  13. Avatar photo Tundra/BMW Guy

    Chad O, there is definitely one responder that negatively comments on about 99% of everything. (even negative comments on the comments!) a lot of what others are doing seems to me to be bringing up the downsides AND upsides to the finds!!! Yes, sometimes it feels like the downsides win over the upsides, but I will say, I almost never leave this site without having learned something new!! You know what they say, “Gotta take the good with bad” and “People call ’em like they see them”! Stick with it if you like to learn, if you don’t, then you probably could be underwhelmed.
    All of the above is definitely definitely definitely IMHO and my 1/2¢ worth.

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Peter murray

    I’ve tried twice to contact seller with no luck just wondering if anybody has tried with better luck than myself, thanks

    Like 0

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