24k Original Miles: 1977 Chevrolet Corvette

If I was going to devise a list of words that would best describe the appearance of this 1977 Corvette, then the word “subtle” probably wouldn’t find its way onto it. After all, Corvette Orange is not a color that is designed to blend into the background. It is a color that shouts at the world…very loudly. If you would like to find yourself behind the wheel of such a car, then you will find the Corvette located in Traverse City, Michigan, and listed for sale here on Facebook. The owner is asking $17,500 for this motoring extrovert.

Corvette Orange was probably one of the brightest shades offered in the Corvette range in 1977, and it was also one of the more popular as well. In total, 4,588 buyers decided to park a Corvette Orange, er…Corvette, in their driveway that year. This one presents quite nicely, which is no surprise given the fact that the owner does claim that the car has traveled a genuine 24,500 miles since new. He doesn’t indicate whether he holds any evidence to verify that reading, but he does go on to claim that the paint is original. It presents very nicely, with the only notable flaw being an obvious color difference between the urethane bumpers and the paint on the rest of the body. However, this is not only common, but many Corvettes came from the factory like that. Modern color-matching techniques mean that it is possible to address this, but doing so would compromise the vehicle’s originality. I’d be inclined to leave it untouched myself. Beyond that, there isn’t a lot to be critical of, with no significant chips or marks, wheels that appear to be free from damage or oxidization, and glass that would seem to be flawless.

As the 1970s progressed, it seemed that the interior trim and plastic of the Corvette became ever more prone to damage and deterioration. For potential buyers of cars like this one, that can actually be good news, because it does mean that careless ownership or abuse can be abundantly clear. What we see inside this Corvette is an interior that presents very nicely. The carpet has some faded patches and the cloth on the driver’s seat is wrinkled in a few spots, but otherwise, it looks pretty decent. There are no obvious rips, tears, cracks, or splits to be seen anywhere, and the plastic trim on the console is a standout, as this is one of the most damage-prone parts of the interior. I tend to think that the original owner may have wanted to “buy into” the Corvette lifestyle on a budget because there is no air conditioning or power windows, but it looks like there is the original AM/FM radio, along with cruise, and a tilt/telescopic wheel.

Powering the Corvette is the L48 version of the 350ci V8, producing 180hp. Also included is a 4-speed manual transmission, along with the obligatory power steering and power brakes. By this point in time, the Corvette was no longer the hairy-chested beast that it had been only a few years earlier. In fact, in this guise, the Corvette really struggled to break into the 16-second bracket for the ¼ mile. The owner does make the low mileage claim that I mentioned earlier but doesn’t indicate whether he has evidence to support the claim. What he does say is that the tires, belts, and the battery have been replaced, while the brakes have also come in for some attention. The result is a Corvette that is not only fully roadworthy but is said to drive like a new car.

In a few short years, a variety of circumstances contrived to transform the Corvette from a fire-breathing monster into something that was significantly more sedate. However, they can still be quite enjoyable to drive, especially if you can find one equipped with a manual transmission. Good, low-mileage examples today aren’t commanding mega-bucks, but they can still break the $20,000 barrier with relative ease. The owner is asking $17,500 for this one, and if a personal inspection reveals it to be as good as the listing suggests, then it could represent a fairly respectable buy.

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Comments

  1. David Geisinger

    I know the owner of this car and he is meticulous about his vehicles not to mention a great guy. If you are interested in a beautiful, honest Corvette this is your car.

    Like 2
  2. Pookie Jamie

    Didn’t know that you can have cruise control on a late /70s car with a 4speed… nice car and Orange is very sexy on this shark. Good luck to the new owner

    Like 5
    • ruxvette

      1977 was the first year of “Speed Control” in the Corvette and on automatic cars only. I think the writer saw writing on the stalk and assumed cruise. It is actually some wording for the wipers.

  3. Steve

    This is my car. It was a really pleasant surprise to see my listing picked up here.

    To clarify, the car doesn’t have cruise control, I didn’t mention it in the posting so not sure where that came from.

    Otherwise it is all original and the low miles are verified by receipts I got from the original owner when I bought it and the condition supports it. The bumper mismatch was common due to the early paint technology combined with the urethane bumpers. To me, the color is very close in person and the slight difference only reinforces the originality of the car. Many of these have been repainted and/or had the bumpers replaced with fiberglass, but not on this car.

    Like 3
    • Pookie Jamie

      The question is, did y’all give barnfinds permission to post this???? You said you were surprised…. just sayin and just wondering

      • Steve

        Nobody contacted me about posting the car here, I had just posted it publicly on Facebook.

        Like 2
    • Jake2670

      Hey Steve, nice car. A buddy of mine has a 77 also that I’m helping him sell. It also has the cloth seats. Leather was std n 77 , so this was ordered. You have any info on this, how many made? Yours is 1st 77 I’ve seen with cloth.

      Thanks n Best of Luck with ur sale

      Jake

      • Steve

        I don’t have an exact number but cloth was very rare, perhaps a few hundred cars. How many haven’t been reupholstered with leather over the years, too?

        As you mentioned, leather was standard. The cloth (with leather around the sides, believe it or not) was a no-cost option.

        This car is an odd duck. The original owner’s widow told me that her husband didn’t want A/C for some reason, but thought the leather would feel clammy on warm days so he got the cloth. Frankly, the original leather in these wasn’t particularly high-quality and I think the cloth is nicer. Brown velour is just so period-correct, too.

        The other odd thing about this is that no A/C was also very rare. 1977 saw the newly redesigned center console which removed the cable actuated Astro Cent, well, vents. If you didn’t know, earlier Corvettes had opening flaps on the sides of the foot wells and vacuum operated vents in the rear deck behind the window for flow-through ventilation. The rear vents were eliminated after (I think) 1974 but the foot well vents remained. 1977 cars with Air didn’t have vents any more but the small handful of no-air cars did. Since the center console cables were eliminated, this small number of cars got hand operated levers on the kick panels near your feet. With these open and the windows cracked, it actually works to suck a good volume of outside air through the interior.

        Like 1
      • Jake2670

        Thanks Steve, yeah I like em kick panel vents, I have a 73 K5 with em. his car has AC, Pwr just the cloth seats ( I might have done the same thing ), sweet car.

  4. 370zpp

    Makes me almost miss my own long gone 77. But then mine wasn’t as nice as this one. If it checks out, seems like the money is right. And just begging for a serious engine upgrade.

    Like 3
  5. Bob Mck Member

    This is one beautiful Corvette and it has a 4 speed transmission. It would look so sexy parked next to my 66 red Stingray convertible. I want it!

    Like 4
  6. victor Sanchez

    I had a red 77 with the L-48 not very fast but comfortable , my car did come with cruise control PS, PB and A/C no 4speed but we liked it . We traded our 77 and a 72 LT-1 for a new 85 , I guess we should have kept the oldies, we now have a 2014 pace car the new Corvettes are a completely different type of animal

    Like 2
  7. JoeNYWF64

    I guess dual racing mirrors were optional on vettes by ’77? If not, very odd that Camaro offered them in ’70 1/2. & even Vega, i think earlier!
    Any other years orange was offered in Vettes? Looks like Pontiac’s Carousel “red” on late 60’s gto’s.
    Still has the older dash, but a smaller/thicker(stock?) steering wheel.
    Is the chrome ignition shield really still necessary with HEI?
    Looks like Chevy didn’t install hidden windshield antennas on 70’s vettes either, unlike camaros.

  8. JudoJohn

    I love the color! Looks like a nice car.

    • Pookie Jamie

      Ontario orange? Love the color.

      • Steve

        Ontario orange was a beautiful color on earlier C3’s. That was a Metallic paint and a bit darker than this. This was called “Corvette Orange” in the catalog and was non-metallic. I don’t know which other years it was available. I have an original showroom brochure for the ‘77. The main images are of an orange car and there is a photo of the optional cloth seats.

  9. Frank Sumatra

    Very nice car. But in my opinion the low mileage does not justify the price. At the price stated one would expect L-82, air-conditioning, and optional suspension. The asking price is also well into 1995/96 C4 territory which will provide 300-340 HP, loads of torque and a much more refined vehicle. Not trying to be a BF “Richard” just stating facts as I see them.

    Like 1
    • Steve

      I also wasn’t sure what to price this for. Hagerty’s price guide says $24k for a number 1 condition L48 manual… I didn’t go that high. There are certainly many cheap C3s out there but this one really is spectacular.

      I used to have a ‘94 LT1 C4 manual. No doubt it’s faster but in some ways the C3 just pushes more buttons for me. The styling is outright crazy, it’s actually easier to get in and out of than a C4, and the ride is much more comfortable. Speed doesn’t matter to me as much as the experience of driving this car, but I also agree that C4’s are tremendous performance values.

      Like 1
      • ruxvette

        I’m no expert but but my personal opinion is it is priced right…with a couple bucks for dickering.

        Like 1
      • Pookie Jamie

        @steve. Download corvette dna on your smartphone and put in the specs for your car. It’s a free app from your App Store. And it will help you as well if you want to buy another

        Like 1
      • Frank Sumatra

        Hi Steve- As stated I was not taking any pot shots and you certainly didn’t take my comments that way. Thank you. My 1995 is my 4th Corvette over the past 35 years. Two C3s and two C4s. Price guides are interesting. I always wished I could have gotten what the price guides said the three I sold were worth. I sold two during the time of the major downsizings at Kodak, Xerox and Bausch and Lomb here in Rochester NY. Also cars here are driven six months a year at best so it is sometimes hard to justify a big spend.Best of luck to you on your sale. It is a great looking car.

        Like 1
  10. John Oliveri

    No A/C in 1977? That’s weird cause there was no real power, and no power windows, ow you have a slow no option Vette, from 75 to the mid 80s Vettes were slow, but nicely appointed, I can see a 69 427 Vette w no air, but a 77, how could I enjoy going to a Disco w no A/C

    • Steve

      The car isn’t exactly slow. The Corvette was still faster than almost anything else
      one could get in the late 70’s. Including a non-turbo Porsche.

      Yes, HP was down thanks to emissions regulations and technology that had yet to caught up. But don’t forget that HP ratings had also changed. The 180 hp in this car was about equivalent to about 230 in a chrome bumper Vette rated with gross HP from the factory.so while output took a hit, the drop wasn’t as drastic as it sounds. This car still has almost 300 lb-ft of torque.

      It was odd that the original owner ordered this without AC but he obviously didn’t intend this to be a daily commuter car. He only put about 23k miles on it in 40 years. He also lived in Michigan, not Florida or Arizona.

      Now, as a 43 year old classic not having air and power windows reduces problem areas and makes it easier to repair.

      Like 2
      • Frank Sumatra

        Steve- My 1979 L-82, 4-speed was a no Air, crank window car with the FE-7 suspension . Somehow all of the air pollution equipment found its way into a cardboard box that came with the car. That car ran pretty good for the time is was built. I was attracted to it for the very reason it was set up for performance, not cruising to the nightclubs.

        Like 1
  11. John Oliveri

    Tell your date back then to get all dressed up, and put her in a 4 speed Vette w no a/c, good car for hanging out, but like I said earlier it was no rocket, so why sacrifice niceties when it wasn’t fast to begin with, today a 4 cylinder Camry will smoke you in that thing, and him and his wife ain’t breaking a sweat, cars from that period were not to be taken seriously as a performance car, like my 73 455 Pontiac, it’s a slug, next to a 69 428 Grand Prix, I love my car cause it’s got everything in it including a sunroof, but I don’t take it seriously as a performer, it’s not

    • JoeNYWF64

      You obviously have the pontiac ’73 455 that was also avail in grandpa’s ’73 station wagon. Is your car loaded with options? Is it an f-body or something else that would be heavier?
      The “other” 455 avail in ’73-4 t/a will smoke the heavier ’69 & the camry. & shorter 235-60-15 tires, an opened up shaker or hood scoops, full time vacuum advance, disconnected egr, & no heavy a/c compressor(that could cool a house) or p/w or radio will only make matters worse for the other cars.
      Better yet, a ’73 formula with the “other” 455 that 1 could get also w/o heavy p/s & w/o power brakes.
      The ’73 454 vette espec with no heavy a/c or p/w is no slouch either.
      I remember my friend’s 428 gp inthe 80s pinging on the “premium” gas avail back in the ’80 – had to retrad the timing.

      • John Oliveri

        It’s the factory 455 that came in the car, it’s only rated at 250 hp, it’s fast, but like I said, it’s no 428, motors got screwed after 71, my point is nothing including my car is gonna be called performance or fast built after 1972, fast was a 428 w 370 hp, a 454 with 390 hp, my 2018 E43 AMG will blow my Grand Prix away, it’s a 6 Cylinder, but it’s bi turbo, 396 hp, that’s pretty nice, 250 hp pushing a Vette, eh

  12. JoeNYWF64

    I disagree with you regarding 1 motor in the 70’s – made after ’72 – the “other 455” i was referring to above was the ’73-4 SD-455 avail in the formula & t/a in VERY limited #s. Have you driven one in a stripped bird? My friend’s one don’t even have a heavy(back then)factory radio, much less a/c. lol
    & now Year One has a 400 hp 400 ft lb small block 350 for $3200 that i’m sure will wind up in a lot of old chevys & maybe some pontiacs with worn out motors.

    • John Oliveri

      I wish I had a super duty, 455 from 73 74, also wish I had a 428 from 69, Pontiac mans wish list

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