427 Tri-Power/4-Speed: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Sometimes I look at the C3 Corvette and wonder whether classing it as a sports car is doing the car justice. That is especially true with this 1969 Convertible. Its engine bay houses a big-block V8, giving the driver enormous power under their right foot. That makes me wonder; Is it a sports car or a muscle car? While you ponder that, you will find it listed here on eBay in Orlando, Florida. Bidding has rocketed to $45,100 but is yet to meet the reserve.

It is said that any car is only original once, which is the case with this Corvette. The seller is the car’s second owner and says it has never undergone any repair or restoration work. Chevrolet applied the LeMans Blue paint, which presents well for its age. There are a few chips, imperfections, and some webbing. However, the seller elected to retain ‘Vette’s survivor status by leaving well enough alone. The car spent most of its life in California, making its rust-free status no surprise. The White soft-top looks good for a survivor-grade classic, while the factory hardtop wears Black vinyl offering a striking contrast. The chrome is very presentable for its age, the glass is flawless, and the Rally wheels wear their correct caps and trim rings.

When a buyer walked into a Chevrolet dealership in 1969, they could order their new car equipped with the entry-level ZQ3 version of the 350ci small-block that produced 300hp. That was usually enough for most buyers, but some wanted more. The original owner of this classic craved much, much more, so they spent the additional $326.55 for the L68 version of Chevrolet’s legendary 427ci V8. That engine brought a Tri-Power setup to the table, delivering 400hp. They backed the big-block with a four-speed manual transmission that sent the power to a 3.55 Posi rear end. Making light work of driving duties is the inclusion of power steering. The journey down the ¼ mile would be a distant memory in 13.7 seconds, while the Convertible could potentially nudge 150mph. The seller states the car is numbers-matching, and its two owners have done their utmost to protect its originality. Everyday consumable items like spark plugs have been replaced, as have the middle carburetor and fuel tank. They have retained the original parts to include in the sale. The seller employed a professional to rebuild the motor, and they hold progress photos and receipts documenting the process. If the buyer wants more paperwork, the seller includes the original Tank Sticker, Window Sticker, Dealer Order Sheet, and the Owner Protection Plan. The ‘Vette runs and drives exceptionally well, with the seller including this YouTube video to support the claim. We hear that magnificent engine running, and it sounds incredible.

If you think the Corvette’s Blue vinyl interior presents well, it is for a good reason. While the seat upholstery and carpet are original, the door trims and dashboard are new. With an eye to authenticity, the removed components are included in this sale. There’s not much of which to be critical, and everything looks excellent for a survivor. There are no aftermarket additions, with the factory AM/FM radio intact and functioning perfectly.

There’s no disputing the fact that this 1969 Corvette Convertible will have power to burn, and its drivetrain combination should offer a rewarding driving experience. It will be interesting to gauge reader feedback on whether it could be rightfully classed as a muscle or sports car. The jury is out for me, and I would accept either viewpoint. So, with its overall condition and specifications, someone could become the next owner of one of the most iconic and identifiable American classics of all time. Are you tempted to be that person?


  1. Bud Lee

    I’ve always believed a sports car is a balance of power and handling and muscle car is best in a straight line . This probably handles better than your average muscle car and is also faster . So yeah , I have no idea . Maybe it’s a super car of sorts.

    Like 8
  2. RandyS

    Brute. No PB or AC. At least PS for the 600# BB.

    Like 2
    • Steve

      Most convertibles of the era did not have AC. My 69 Delta 88 convey didn’t and neither did my 74 Corvette convert.

      Like 1
      • Pete O'Con

        A lot of muscle cars buyers didn’t want it back then for financial and reduction in performance. But people often base it for a purchase these days. The Corvette must have became the exception because it was the most artistic design ever, and the future for collecting cars was big. But from what I’ve read into the late 70’s the Corvette took a dramatic downturn in engineering and performance.

  3. Frank Sumatra

    It is known as “America’s True Sports Car”. End of discussion.

    Like 9
  4. Jeff

    With a 350 it’s a sports car. With the 427 it’s a muscle car. Loves straight lines but not so good with all that weight in the turns.

    Like 3
  5. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Probably because I’m getting older (lol) but the c3’s are beginning to grow on me. Especially the chrome bumper shark gill vent ones…and if you’re going to go for one, this one looks perfect with that big growly tripower brute, 4 gears to row through and a roof that comes off to let out the heat coming through the firewall.

    LeMans Blue is a great finishing touch too

    Like 9
  6. Armstrongpsyd Armstrongpsyd Member

    Adam, I really enjoy your write ups. I can now recognize your writing before checking the byline. That’s a great question, and in spite of Frank’s astute and definitive conclusion, I look further to the back and forth I enjoy so much on BF. My two cents: The most elegant muscle car of all time. But I’m an old guy who questions if a sports car can have PS.

    Like 4
    • Frank Sumatra

      @Armstrongpsydc- Guilty as charged of being astute and definitive, but I did not coin that phrase. Not by a country mile, and I quote-

      Corvette: America’s Only True Sports Car – Amazon.com

      The Corvette, America’s sports car,

      GM has considered killing off what has come to be known as “America’s sports car” at various points in the Corvette’s history.

  7. John Oliveri

    If I had the extra money, I’d really look as this car, the only thing, without A/C it’s gonna be unbearable to drive, and I would want power brakes, and windows, then it would be the perfect car, I’d pass on the tri power for A/C

    Like 1
  8. Carbob Member

    Sports car AND muscle car with the 427 and four speed. Love the C3. I had a 350/4 speed coupe for ten years. At six feet I couldn’t really set straight with the T tops in place. No A/C, power anything. A hoot to drive on the open road. Stop and Go in the summer not so much. Heat coming through the firewall was quite noticeable. Sure wish I had it back though. Beautiful car GLWTS.

    Like 3
  9. george mattar

    You older guys are getting soft. Yes, driving these things without power steering is a bear in today’s stupid traffic, but once of the road, you get more feel of what a real car is supposed to be. I have a 73 coupe without power brakes, but it has power steering. I am 66 years young. Power brakes do not stop a car any faster, just make it easier with less pressure on the pedal. I live in the Pocono Mountains, home of wild running animals. I just stomp on the brake pedal and the car stops. Yes, C3s make a ton of heat coming into the interior, but I still enjoy my car with the t tops out. If you want to drive a boring, useless SUV, then go for it. Not me.

  10. oldschool

    2 doors + 2 seats = sports car, 2 doors + 4 seats = muscle car

  11. JCH841

    I have to be careful and look away. I got my license in 1969 and just turned 69. Two out three numbers lining up (well I was born in 1953, same as the Corvette nameplate, but the $45K+ isn’t there.

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