41K Mile 1975 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Two things can be said about a 1975 Chevrolet Corvette, it was the last year for a C3 convertible and it represents a nadir in horsepower. That said, here’s a really sharp looking example, located in Miami, Florida and for sale here on eBay for a current bid of $8,968 (24 bids so far).

Convertibles were going away in the mid-seventies, whether it was a change in consumer tastes or concerns about Government-mandated rollover standards they were falling out of favor and more manufacturers were dropping them from their line-ups. What seems counter-intuitive is the fact that a ’75 Corvette convertible listed new for about $250 less than the corresponding coupe. Quite a difference from today’s significant price premiums paid just to enjoy a little wind in your hair.

With the ’75 Corvette, however, the elephant in the room was the engine’s output or lack of it. The standard 350 CI V8 engine eked out 165 net HP while the optional, same sized L82 version, was good for 205 net HP. How low is this? Well, it’s the second-lowest on Corvette record, only transcended by the ’53 & ’54 Corvette’s 150 gross HP, developed by the then-standard “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine. It probably about lines up with the power of the 1955’s 265 CI V8 which was good for 195 gross HP in what was the Corvette’s inaugural V8 year. But by ’75, Corvette was about the driving experience and not the horsepower race of prior years. Fortunately, this ‘Vette has a four-speed manual transmission which will make top-down motoring more engaging. So, how’s it run? The seller claims, “runs and drives great, mechanically strong motor and transmission.”

This ‘Vette presents well and the saddle tan interior is a major part of the presentation, it appears to be in really sound condition. The seller allows little more than, “nice interior” but he does state that all of the gauges, including the clock, work. There are no signs of excessive wear, rips, fading or just general mung present anywhere.

Where the interior really works best is with the orange exterior finish. I know orange isn’t everyone’s first choice in color but I like it, especially on a Corvette of any generation. I have a good friend and car whisperer who has a 2008 Z06 in orange and it makes for a spectacular presentation. Same thing here. Well, maybe not spectacular, but I think it really boosts the attractiveness of the otherwise mundane ’75 outward design. The seller tells us that the paint is nice and shiny and the tan convertible top is nice too. There is no mention if this convertible has the optional removable hardtop so I’ll assume it doesn’t but that makes for a nice addition and a smart-looking body line when installed. One can be acquired from different sources if the new owner has a desire for it.

Comparatively speaking, ’75 Corvettes don’t get a lot of respect primarily for their “low-go” notoriety. If you are a first time Corvette acquirer however, this vintage can be an easy entry point to Corvette ownership due to their moderate value. And, ’75 or not, this ‘Vette has the preferred four-speed manual transmission and of course, the open-air feature. But wait, there’s more! This very clean example has only had 41,700 miles roll under it. While I have driven many C3 Corvettes, I have never owned one but I never rule out the possibility either. I am thinking this would be a good way to dip a toe and see how it goes. So, what do you think, yes, good entry point to Corvette world or hold out for a more desirable version?


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  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    The color to me makes this rubber bumper car shine. Looks good. Ragtop and 4 gear is sweet. Build motor to your own needs. Surprised the smog pump is still around. A/C would be nice though. No need for the hardtop, it would just be in your way in the garage. Your friends Z06 Atomic orange is a one year only color if I remember right. Polish the wheels on this and change the floormats and you will have a fun cruiser.

    Like 4
  2. Mike D

    Nice car. Funny that whoever ordered it went for the deluxe interior and power windows, but no a/c.

    Like 1
  3. art

    Love it and the color…always been my favorite Corvette series, rubber bumpers and all. Wish it had A/C as it gets over 105 in the summer where I live. I wouldn’t want this car sitting in a garage in the summer because of the heat.
    This is a beauty.

    Like 1
  4. whmracer99

    Had one of these briefly and had a 68 ‘vette convertible 327/4 speed at the same time. Just no comparison as the 68 was quicker and much more fun to drive than the 75. This should be a nice cruiser but if you want something to make your pulse quicken or generate more “smiles per mile” than look somewhere else or plan for a complete engine upgrade. Currently at $12k.

    Like 1
  5. JoeNYWF64

    I believe the air pump is free wheeling – dont see any tubes going to the manifolds. If the converter is off & it has true duals, add at least 20 maybe 30 hp. I see some hoses disconnected.
    The electric fans here also free up some hp.
    EZ to tune up now.

  6. Stevieg Member

    Neat little ‘vette. I like the color combo, although I think I would prefer a black top. 4 speed “row your own” transmission makes it more interesting. Currently at $12,700. Very fair deal, I feel. I normally am not a fan of Corvettes lol.

  7. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Sold for a very well bought $12,700.

    Many people seem to forget that A/C was an expensive option back then and most did not opt for it. Now that it is standard equipment, most people can’t live without it. I was happy to not have it in my ’70 convertible, the top was always down.

    Like 1
  8. LarryR Member

    I don’t believe that the 205 net hp of this lines up very well with the 195 gross hp of the 1955 265. The essentially identical L82 engine in the ’74 Corvette was rated at 250 net hp, and the only change from that car to the one here that would significantly affect power was the change from a true dual exhaust to a y-pipe system to incorporate the catalytic converter. As JoeNYWF64 mentioned, a change to a true dual system will recover quite a bit of power (easy to do since the crossmembers maintain the pass-throughs for the pipes). Even a change form the original converter to a more modern free-flowing converter will wake up the ’75 L82 quite a bit.

  9. LarryR Member

    Correction to my post above: This Corvette is an L48 – not an L82. However, I suspect that the L48 would also benefit from the replacement of the original catalytic converter with a more modern, freer-flowing one, or the installation of a dual exhaust.

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