4 Original Miles! 1978 Corvette Silver Anniversary

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While we have covered a fair number of low mileage Corvettes over the years, this 1978 Silver Anniversary edition here on eBay is tough to beat. With only 4.1 original miles, it’s a new car. Quite literally, it went from the showroom to the first owner’s garage and – literally! – did not move again until just recently. It was never dealer prepped, and the engine was fogged before settling down for a multi-decade nap. Bidding is fast and furious, currently over $85,000 with more than eight days left on the auction. This untouched Vette is located in Georgia, and thanks goes to Drew V for alerting us to the sale!

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The first and longtime owner was a well-known figure in the Corvette world. NCRS member and Bloomington Certification Board judge W. Paul Adams of Florence, Alabama clearly had quite a collection stored behind his house, which also included a treasure trove of NOS Pantera parts. After years of selling Mustang and Corvette parts after hours and working directly for Ford during the day, I think it’s safe to assume Paul might have amassed some desirable cars and parts.  The seller purchased five vehicles from the collection but left this one behind; a few months later, he returned to buy this last remaining piece, which seems quite unrepeatable.

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The odometer doesn’t lie, in this case. Plus, this incredible story is further backed up by the original protective coverings still draped through the interior and on the steering wheel. The glove box revealed additional treasures in the form of unused hub caps and the original horn button. Storage bags for the T-top roof are still safely stowed away and the red carpeted floormats were new in the bag and stored in the rear compartment. The interior is hard to miss, primarily because it hasn’t undergone the trademark fading almost every vehicle of this vintage has endured. Even more impressive are the factory crayon marks still visible on the body, pointing out delivery damage and miscellaneous manufacturer notes.

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While these Corvettes were not necessarily coveted for their performance credentials, they were still decent performers for the era. This Silver Anniversary car was also optioned with A/C, an AM/FM factory CB radio, rear defogger, heavy-duty battery and the Gymkhana suspension. So, not only do you get what is likely the lowest-mileage L82-powered car in existence, but also a host of desirable factory features. Why Mr. Adams chose to never drive this Corvette is unknown, but he did create a fascinating legacy and has likely raised the eyebrows of Corvette collectors everywhere with his impressive self-restraint. Where do you think the bidding will end up?

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Comments

  1. Jim

    I just looked it up on ebay. With 7 days still left and bids have already exceeded $104,000. I’m sure we’ve all seen Corvettes fetch incredible prices, this one will probably be no exception. I intend to keep my eye on it. Just wush I could afford to enter the bidding war.

  2. Glen

    I can’t believe how many low mile cars show up on this website. A person with money could build an impressive collection of unique vehicles. So, after saying that, I think this car is going to sell for a lot more than it’s worth. just say’n

  3. p

    Crazy

  4. Mike

    I find any 38 year old car with only 4 miles on it amazing and this car is a museum piece but I’ve never understood the fascination with these 78’s or why so many people bought them just to immediately have them stored without ever driving them. I know this was the “redesign” and the 25th anniversary but I don’t understand
    why this year gets so much attention over say a ’77 or ’79 by comparison. Granted the mileage is what’s selling this car. As of right now bidding is at 104K! It’s still cool but if we even compare it to other Vett’s we’re talking brand new Z06 territory now. Not to mention you could get a much more desirable C1, C2 or early C3 for that or much less money. To each his own I guess.

  5. Roselandpete

    At these prices, this car will probably never be driven.

  6. Dolphin Member

    Somebody paying big money for something because they collect that kind of thing makes no sense to most other people. I can’t see paying $100K+ for a ’78 Corvette even if it only has 4 miles showing. Drive it much and the collector value starts to disappear. I’d much rather have a C1 or C2 for the same money, or a few hundred other cars I could name.

    I think you have to call it a passion, because this car hasn’t actually been a very good investment even though it will sell for over $100K. Somebody else could have made more money by putting the same money into a car that has appreciated more since 1978, like certain exotic or very rare cars that are now million+$ cars, or even putting the money into the right stocks.

    But the fact is the seller resisted to temptation to drive the car, and the price that people are willing to pay for it did go up, so he will make a pretty good payday. I hope he’s happy. I’ve never made that much money owning a car, so he’s ahead of me and I’m guessing most other people too.

  7. Doug

    I know of one of these here in Orlando FL with mileage under 10. Has all the plastic wrapping in the interior etc.

    • Chris

      10?

      That’s high mileage.

      Like 1
  8. Tirefriar

    Forget about it. This car will never see gas running through its bladder. My experience with low mileage vehicles is limited to a 2002 sport bike which had 10(!) miles on it when I bought it in 2013. I took a lap around the block to make sure the digital odometer was working and after putting 1.5 miles on it I parked it in my garage realizing that this is not a 10 mile bike anymore and that every subsequent click on the odo will only bring on depreciation, fast. In very short time I got tired of looking at it and sold it. I don’t know what happened to it but I made myself a promise to never buy another vehicle like that. These cars and bikes belong in a collection, either public or private. That being the case I really don’t care what this Vette sells for. Whatever it will be it won’t be indicative of the true market value of the soft bumper versions of the C3 Vettes.

    • Barry T

      Cars like motorcycles are meant to be used. I will never understand the logic in buying something and only using it as a display.

      Like 1
      • Mr. TKD

        Amen.

    • Rando

      I had a dealer friend in the 90s that had a 65 impala SS Convertible. He was very good about letting me drive things. I/we knew I couldn’t afford it but it had like 31K miles on it or something like that. He filled out the dealer test drive paper and turned me loose in it for a day. Said drive it all I want – I couldn’t HURT the miles on it. That was cool. He’s a car guy – the miles were great for the car and it was still driveable – long before this current craze of low mileage. I got toy cars I can’t drive – so if I ever get another project car, it WILL BE A DRIVER.

  9. Vegas Vic

    Slow car
    Cool body
    Decent brakes, handling
    But over a 100k? GO! Buy a new 911
    And have FUN
    A 1978 corvette, even with 4.1 miles is not collectible nor unique

  10. Vegas Vic

    Nice color .,,,

  11. Coventry Cat

    I’d be far more interested in a 1930’s whatever with 4 miles than the 70’s and 80’s junk I grew up with. I hope I don’t start to see low mileage 90’s Toyota Camry “special editions” with gold badging showing up here, either.

  12. Mr. TKD

    I’d rather take that kind of $ and build the Corvette I wanted so I could DRIVE it. If I want a display model, I’ll buy a Revell.

  13. mike

    $105,387.00 with 6 day left

  14. Vegas vic

    WOW!
    Stunning
    New M3, new Jaguar, close to a Ferrai for that price
    105k for 200 tired ponies, rattling body, OLD radio

  15. Vegas vic

    And no room for golf clubs

  16. Juan A Valdez

    I bought a 2001 Corvette because I always wanted one. Just wanted to say they are worth their weight in gold. Nothing beats high performance. Good luck to everyone.

    • Chuck

      I bought a ’79 new. It too, was a L82 and had every available option for that year. Worst car I ever owned. Swore I’d never buy another domestic. (It wasn’t the first troublesome domestic car I’d had.) After 26 years, I relented and bought an American SUV but not a GM product. They’re still on my “never again” list.

  17. Roy

    I know where a 78 Indy pace car is .thats brand new !!!!!,in the showroom of a chevy dealer.. in Tennessee.

    • Rando

      One of the Chrysler dealers around here is supposed to have a few (4?) wing cars in storage that wouldn’t sell back in the day. And a friend is supposed to have a first year Viper stored at his parents’ house which he will neither confirm or deny. He is a former BMW collector, so it possible. He has a driver Viper – tires are usually low or flat – in his garage. And an 850i with four flats. ANd so on…

  18. Charles

    Incredible! Why someone buys a car and let’s it set is beyond me. Can’t understand that thinking. If whoever buys this Corvette wants to drive it, the reconditioning process will be extensive; replace fluids, hoses, belts, tires, gaskets, etc……

  19. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    With so many Pace car Corvettes out there, how come this one is drawing the money?

    Is it the 4 miles or lack of Pace car graphics?

  20. Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive Cason Member

    78 Vettes are the most over-collected cars because collecting was in its infancy and Chevy popped out this special edition alongside the same-year Pace Car. I’ve joked before that used 78 Vettes are more rare than low- or no-mileage ones.

    All that being said, it’s nice to see the values finally climbing. These were terrible investments up until a few years ago, with plenty of owners upside down and no-mile cars not worth much more than 20K (consider how much inflation we’ve had since 1978!).

    As to the car itself, anyone saying it’s slow has never driven one. The torque is impressive. So, go buy one with miles and enjoy! This one, sadly, will never be driven, considering the price is already 10x that of a used one.

    • Ross W. Lovell

      . Greetings All,

      Oddimotive Cason, agree with everything you said, with the exception, you knew it had to be coming, the slow part.

      Lots of quicker cars, fast happens over time, in this case eventually.

      This year is still a sub-200 HP car, 185HP I believe and it’s a pretty heavy vehicle as GM hadn’t gone into their weight reduction program as the chassis had a redesign coming up.

      • Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive Cason Member

        Point taken – it was likely the fastest production domestic in 1978, but those are big qualifiers! Actually, this and a Lil Red Express would make for an interesting drag race…

        HP on this L-82 was 225, but it was down a bit on torque vs the base engine. Too bad about the slushbox, too.

  21. George

    The patina and the general condition as observed through the photos make this car appear more like it had 70K. I remember when people were buying these up and storing them in hopes of making a huge profit. As I recall that bubble burst fairly quickly and a person could pick one up at a fairly reasonable price. Problem was that no one wanted them. The people who purchased them were soon seeking a divorce. And as usually happens in a divorce, the financial loss to the groom was healthy. The Anniversary Edition is a rather bland looking car at release, and did not improve with age. I guess a commemorative for a Silver Anniversary would have to be silver, and that is unfortunate because the color really detracts from its looks. The way the car looks in the photos I think it’s worth in the mid-teens. But what do I know? Just what I like and although I will probably be burned at the stake for blasphemy, the are tons of others who share my opinion. I am a compassionate sort and I already feel sorrow for the buyer. I worry that he will loose serious money. But if he is one of those mega-rich who have ruined the market for the average Joe, the he looses the better. I suppose every one has heard of the 1936 (sic) travel bus bringing 4.1 million at Barrett/Jackson. The guy was hoping to get $800,000. but would be satisfied with 6ooK. Then to get close to 7x’s that amount–amazing and somewhat disgusting.

    • Chip Lamb

      This one is genuine @ 4.1 miles. See the date coded parts, tires et.c. farther down.

      Cheers
      Chip
      (seller)

  22. Michael D

    My opinion, for what it’s worth…..total junk. I had friends in 1978 who owned dealerships and I bought two Pace cars, and one black L48 (which was all that was allowed in Maryland. By the time I took delivery of the Pace cars, the frenzy had died down, but I made a few bucks on them. The regular L48 I drove for a year. I drove it very little because it was always in the shop. It was honestly (I’ve owned over 300 collector cars) the worst car ever. And sorry Oddimotive Cason, if you think a 350 that was smogged down to about 178 hp was a rocket, then you haven’t driven any fast cars. I still think they (1978’s) will remain the most uncollectible Vettes ever. The car will need a lot of work to get it going again. The next buyer’s great great grandson might get the guy’s money back. Bad purchase……

  23. Poppy

    You guys noticing all the bid retractions? High bid is now just over $100K down from $105K+. Is something fishy going on or is there legitimate reasons for so many retractions?

    • Roselandpete

      I didn’t know you could retract a bid.

      • Chip Lamb

        One can retract bids and I as seller can bring out the Ban Hammer and get rid of the rest of the trash. If I told you what was going on, you’d laugh harder than hopefully the chuckle you are having now.

        eBay s***s. But they own the segment and we have to use it or spend more to make less.

        Cheers
        Chip
        (seller)

    • Chip Lamb

      Legit. See my explanations at the bottom of the listing. We’re now on solid ground @ just over $90k. All other bidders were playing, not bidding. I have no time for them. Nexxxt!
      Cheers
      Chip (seller)

  24. John

    I’ve seen a lot of cars that left me dumbfounded about how they could have never been driven. But of those cars, the late 70’s Corvette is perhaps the easiest to understand. This car is of value because it represents an era when perhaps the Corvette’s very existence was at risk. It was the lowest point in the Amerrica autobile’s history. The car will be never be valuable because of the feelings of its drivers. It drove much like a truck. But it will always be valuable because it represents a few corporation’s employees undying determination that the Corvette should not die. Those same people have brought us a C7 and hopefully a mid-engined C8 (I’ve been waiting for a mid-engined Corvette since the late 60s). I wish I were in the earnings level to. Bd on this car. I’d love it.

  25. BillB

    The owner died before having enjoyed the car or the cash from the sale, which will apparently go to his brother that he hasn’t spoken to for some time. Life is too short not to enjoy these things.

    • Chip Lamb

      No, it will go to us, we bought the car. Car dealers need to buy cars in order to sell them! Cheers, Chip

      Like 1
  26. Marc Lawrence

    I suppose if i had a lot of money – I would get it! Buy a car drive it – The collectible part of the industry irritates the crap out of me.

  27. Brian

    Down to $90,301 now, also wonder about all the cancelled bids.

  28. Chip Lamb

    Hey Brian, don’t wonder about them as they were all kids, out of work pawnbrokers, postal workers and even one NYPD officer. Their identity and qualification to bid could not be verified and/or they were out and out liars and were removed, blocked and reported to eBay. I’ve been a busy bee. The present high bidder along with underbidders are solid and I’m feeling much better.

    Read what I added down at the bottom of the listing yesterday and today.

    Cheers
    Chip
    (seller)

  29. william dillon

    Never seen so many cancelled and retracted bids……..

    Bid retraction and cancellation history

    Bidder Action Date of Bid and Retraction
    Member Id: l***o( 367Feedback score is 100 to 499) Cancelled: US $96,000.00
    Bid: May-20-16 21:55:04 PDT
    Cancelled: May-23-16 09:55:11 PDT
    Member Id: n***n( 153Feedback score is 100 to 499) Cancelled: US $100,200.00
    Bid: May-21-16 11:58:11 PDT
    Cancelled: May-23-16 09:16:23 PDT
    Member Id: m***a( 40Feedback score is 10 to 49) Cancelled: US $95,000.00
    Bid: May-20-16 19:55:30 PDT
    Cancelled: May-23-16 10:15:12 PDT
    Member Id: e***t( 95Feedback score is 50 to 99) Cancelled: US $104,287.00
    Bid: May-21-16 17:44:32 PDT
    Cancelled: May-22-16 14:41:42 PDT
    Member Id: t***t( 239Feedback score is 100 to 499) Retracted: US $91,000.00
    Bid: May-20-16 10:47:48 PDT
    Retracted: May-20-16 10:49:36 PDT
    Member Id: l***f( 2301Feedback score is 1000 to 4,999) Retracted: US $103,987.00
    Bid: May-21-16 10:52:54 PDT
    Retracted: May-23-16 09:33:42 PDT
    Member Id: 0***2( 115Feedback score is 100 to 499) Cancelled: US $90,289.00
    Bid: May-20-16 17:04:51 PDT
    Cancelled: May-23-16 09:34:12 PDT
    Member Id: 3***a( 24Feedback score is 10 to 49) Cancelled: US $94,000.00
    Bid: May-20-16 18:57:34 PDT
    Cancelled: May-23-16 09:34:23 PDT
    Member Id: l***n( 2 ) Retracted: US $24,990.00
    Bid: May-20-16 07:40:54 PDT
    Retracted: May-20-16 07:48:20 PDT
    Member Id: j***k( 713Feedback score is 500 to 999) Cancelled: US $105,287.00
    Bid: May-21-16 19:42:17 PDT
    Cancelled: May-22-16 15:26:47 PDT
    Member Id: j***3( 7 ) Cancelled: US $110,000.00
    Bid: May-21-16 12:39:42 PDT
    Cancelled: May-22-16 15:26:27

    • Chip Lamb

      That’s right. I got rid of people who were not qualified, would not reply, whose contact information was bogus, were just bidding for “fun” – et.c. The huge press this car received put it squarely in the crosshairs of people who had no business bidding on this auction. Please read my comments towards the end of the listing.

      Like 1
  30. M B

    Here’s a probably reason the car was not driven . . .

    When word of the Silver Anniversary Corvette spread through the Corvette “world”, anybody who had a good friend at a Chevy dealer activated that contact to see if they’d already ordered their allocated number of these cars. It was LIMITED allocation. So IF your dealership connection would sell it at window sticker, you got a good deal! The fact this is an L82 car with the optional suspension package is probably what’s driving the price. Probably a good number of L82s, but not with the optional suspension package.

    So, the Silver Anniv cars were highly sought after . . . UNTIL word of the Indy Pace Car coming later in the 1978 model year. People who had worked to get a Silver Anniv car were then trying to unload it to get a Pace Car. Suddenly, the Silver Anniv cars were “dead meat” on the market, being eclipsed by the Pace Car. The Pace Car had some interior trim items which were regular production on the 1979 model year cars. So, many Silver Anniversary cars were either put up or driven like a regular Chevrolet.

    The OTHER thing is that the factory acrylic lacquer paint was NOT the best it could be, with many being warranty repainted or retouched. This is ANOTHER reason this car can be so valuable, in addition to its “as built” (in totality!) condition.

    The ONLY place this car can be placed and not compromise its value is in a museum venue. The rubber in the fuel system will not work with modern gasolines. There is probably surface rust on the cylinder walls, too, and possibly in the oil galleys of the block and heads. In other words, it would take a great amount of work to reliably put it back on the street. A great deal of finesse would be needed to do that work and keep it as original as possible, but it CAN be done. And, of course, the tires would have to be replaced. Not sure if the OEM Goodyears are in repro yet.

    Neat car. A great piece of Corvette history. For the “right” buyer.

  31. Alf

    I never liked when they added that goofy looking plastic back end on those vettes.to me the straight back end looked way better

  32. dj

    I’ve known this car all of it’s life. Paul was a good friend of mine. He bought this car, along with other Corvettes, and stored them in a climate controlled garage. He thought one day that they would be worth a lot. This car was never on the road once he bought it. It was hauled on a flat bed to his house from the dealership. Just to give you an idea of his cars, he had the #6 1965 GT350 Mustang.
    I had one of the 972 Silver Anniversary cars with the heavy duty cooling package, suspension package and the trailer towing package.

  33. Chip Lamb

    Thank you, DJ. Last year, we bought a ’66 GT350 that he had bought in 1974 as well as his entire Pantera collection and his ex boss’ brass hat 78 Lincoln Diamond Jubilee with 9k. The latter car had been purchased for his wife who left him soon afterwards, so it’s not surprising that he put it on ice as well. I’d have liked to see the early #6 GT350 but it was long gone by the time I came on the scene.

  34. Jason

    I knew this gentleman and spent every Friday afternoon at Paul’s house to help him with the projects around the garage that he could no longer physically do, but still had the knowledge.
    Just to shed some light as to why it only has 4 miles and why he didn’t drive it. Paul had many, many cars including Shelbys, low, low mile Corvettes and three Panteras. He had several cars that he drove, including a 78 Anniversary Corvette (Not the one here, but another one)
    I had been at his house when people either called or flew into town to offer him money for some of the cars he had. He would decline every-single-time. I asked him “Why?” his response was, “Then all I would have is more money, this way, I have something rare.)
    The only car I knew him to sell (in the twenty years I knew him) before his death was a 66 ‘big tank’ Corvette whom he sold to the cousin of a prominent race car driver. That was a pleasure to witness. This individual was very humble and appreciated Paul and his time and his preservation of the car. I have attached a pic of the car above that you won’t see anywhere else because I took it. – You will recognize the wall, picture on the wall and hub caps in the picture as is sleeps silently among some of the other rare vehicles Paul had.
    Paul died much too early – He was a plethora of automotive knowledge and a gentleman.
    P.S. To the current owner of this vehicle there are two chips on the front driver side fender. If you would like to know how they got there, email me. Its a great story.

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