Black Plate Survivor: 1968 Chevrolet Corvette

There has long been debate as to whether a car can constitute a work of art. If any vehicle can be a contender, then the 1968 C3 Corvette Convertible has to go close. These are a car that presents beautifully from any angle, with styling that is both aggressive, but with lines that are almost voluptuous. It is no wonder that the 1968 Corvette Convertible has become such a coveted classic. This particular vehicle is a beautiful example and is a low-mileage survivor. It is now looking for a new home, so it represents the opportunity for someone to own an undisputed American icon. It is located in Pleasanton, California, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $25,000, but I’m not surprised that the reserve hasn’t been met at that price.

The seller sends a few mixed messages in his listing, but these have been relatively easy to sort out. He initially refers to the Rally Red paint as being original, but then says that the tag shows the original color as being Polar White. I’ve taken a look at the tag, and it confirms the color as Rally Red. He then states that the car has received some minor touch-up work, which could well be correct. It does present well, with no signs of any significant flaws with the panels. There is some chafing of the paint on the rear section where the convertible top has been rubbing. This might be able to be polished out, but I suspect that this section might require a repaint. Speaking of the convertible top, it does have a couple of minor tears, and a meticulous owner might consider replacing it to maintain a high level of presentation. Unfortunately, the original hardtop and wheels were stolen in 2016. The wheels have been replaced, but there is no hardtop with the vehicle. The side exhaust as fitted to the car is from a 1969 model and was installed by the original owner. The windshield has been replaced at some point, but the remaining Soft Ray glass is original. Beyond those couple of items, the car remains as it left the factory.

The Corvette rolled off the production line featuring a red vinyl interior. While the majority of this trim remains intact, the seats have been treated to new covers in leather. Once again, this is an area of the car that presents very well. There is some minor fading and staining on the carpet, and some wear below the driver’s feet. The remaining interior trim appears to be extremely impressive. The interior hasn’t been cut to fit any aftermarket additions, with the factory AM/FM radio remaining intact. The owner claims that everything inside the Corvette functions as it should, including the fiber optics and the clock.

When the original owner ordered this classic, he wanted a vehicle that provided some impressive but affordable levels of performance. With that in mind, he chose to hand over $105.35 to have the car equipped with the L79 version of the 327ci V8. This pumps out 350hp, which finds its way to the Posi rear end via a close-ratio M21 4-speed transmission. The car is said to be a numbers-matching classic, and it appears that one of the few non-original components is the chrome valve covers. This mechanical configuration allowed the Corvette to remain a very balanced car, but one that was still capable of romping through the ¼ mile in 14.3 seconds. For someone who is seeking a C3 Corvette that is ready to go, this is one that has plenty to offer. The seller states that the engine starts easily and that it idles nicely. The vehicle runs and drives well, with the clutch and transmission operating smoothly. The steering is said to be light, while the 4-wheel disc brakes feel strong and sure. He also states that the vehicle has a genuine 52,664 miles showing on its odometer. He has a full history of the car, so it should be possible to confirm this claim.

This 1968 Corvette Convertible isn’t perfect, but for any enthusiast searching for a driver that is in better than average condition, it would have to be a strong contender. When you consider the entire lifespan of the Corvette, it is incredible to think how close the badge came to disappearing during its early and troubled production years. I am sure that back in those dark days of the 1950s, GM would never have believed that they would be capable of selling more than 28,000 Corvettes in any one model year. That is what they managed to do in 1968, and of that total, 18,630 were Convertibles. The L79 engine was a popular choice because it offered impressive straight-line performance at an affordable price. This is undoubtedly an attractive car, and it has the performance credentials to match its looks. That has to make it a winner as a desirable classic.

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  1. RayT Member

    One little correction here Adam: unless the seller has a set of REAL California “black plates” from 1968 stashed away, the plate the “Vette currently wears is irrelevant.

    To the best of my recollection (and I owned several cars from the “black plate” era — California did not offer “vanity” plates at the time, which this one is. I believe the state now makes the old-school plates available, at extra cost, to collectors and enthusiasts.

    So the plate(s) add nothing to the value of the car. Which, from the photos and description, doesn’t need them to make it desirable anyway. Nice driver, but no “survivor,” as if that matters….

    Like 6
    • Dougie Member

      Sorry Adam. You commonly use the term “Black Plate”. Unfortunately, as Ray states, that term is obsolete, and utterly meaningless.

      Like 3
    • Donald Kress

      100% correct. Personalized plates were not available until the mid-70s. That was only a blue plate, there are no original black personalized plates.

  2. Weasel

    Very nice driver.

    Ahh the memories of installing those lift up springs under the door handles to “fix” the droop. This guy over fixed them.

    Those black plates are indeed available now but I thought they are flat, not embossed. These look like they’re indeed embossed. Maybe a Californian could chime in and set the record straight.

    Like 3
  3. Dan B.

    I agree. This is a sweet driver.

    I live in California and have a set of the recently released black plates on my ’64 Willys Wagon. They are embossed like the originals from the 60s, but the black paint is shiny to meet current reflection requirements. They aren’t perfect, but a great low cost add IMO.

    Good luck to the seller.

    Like 6
  4. Pat

    “….including the fiber optics….”? Can someone please explain this statement?

    • jokacz

      Fiber optic lamp monitors on console. 60’s gimmick, visible only in the dark of night about 6 inches from your face.

      Like 3
    • Weasel

      It monitors the tail light bulbs with fiber optic cables running from the tail light housing up to the center console by the shifter. The term “fiber optic” used to be high tech and cool MANY years ago.

      Like 4
    • 19sixty5 Member

      Fiber optics were also used in my 69 Firebird for ash tray illumination. The light source was a slightly modified 194 dash lamp housing that held one end of the “cable” close to the lamp, the other end was at the ash tray housing. I believe Firebirds used this system for quite a number of years. The 68 GTO also used them on the optional lighted ignition switch as well for night time illumination. As Weasel mentioned, these were definitely high-tech back in the day!

      Like 2
    • Donald Kress

      100% correct. Personalized plates were not available until the mid-70s. That was only a blue plate, there are no original black personalized plates.

  5. Denny Nevada

    When I was in high school, in the Midwest, a few decades ago, the most beautiful, bad ass, student owned car, was a red on red 1962 Corvette with the awesome 327 CI, 300 HP V-8 and a four speed transmission…drop dead gorgeous in style, and that exhaust note 👍
    I get that same desire, that same excitement when I see this beautiful example, of American ingenuity, American design and performance. This is the American Dream, for so many of us, a beautifully pampered and preserved, original red over red leather, four speed 327 / 350 HP Chevy Corvette, that has low California, documented two owner miles…for a very low price of admission. The minor, very minor alleged flaws, are meaningless when you look at the Up side, I spelled out above…
    I just wish, that I had the Room in my check book, and the Room in my car guys blue, and white Garage, at the moment, to give this American beauty a new home, parked between our blue Silverado, and our red Impala 🇺🇸

    Like 2
  6. 1-MAC

    327-350 great engine. Lots of power, but no lifters to adjust and no big block weight. The ideal Corvette. “resale red” color. I’d love to have this.

    Like 5
  7. C5 Corvette

    It’s a Beauty! wish my C-3’s had looked this good. I would have kept them!

    Like 1
  8. Vince H

    Black plates don’t mean it was always a California car. Guys in the service bought cars were the were and would put plates on from their home state. I know because I did it.

    Like 1
  9. TimM

    All the C-3’s that came with bumpers instead of the plastic nose were great looking Vetts in my opinion!! This car looks well cared for and original!! It’s a shame someone stole the original rims and top!! Are there after market tops for the C-3 vett??? Does anyone know or has anyone bought one???? If so how do they fit and how’s the quality????

  10. George Mattar

    68s get no respect. But this is a very nice example, all correct components under the hood. Has 69 style side exhaust, not available in 68, but option N11 was, off road under chassis exhaust, which in my opinion sounds much better. I have a friend who bought a 4,000 mile red/red 68 roadster in 1974, 327-350, he still has it and it now has about 200,000 miles. I love C3s. I owned a 1971 454 air coupe in the mid 70s. Sold it to finish college. Now I enjoy my fully sorted 1973 coupe, 4 speed. Get in, turn key, go. Good to see the values going up on C3s.

  11. whmracer99

    Had one like this except mine was a black interior and a 327/300 HP motor. Might just be my favorite car of all that I’ve had. It was far from “untouched” when I found it as it had 8 coats of paint in some locations finished off in rattle can silver, some rotten spots in the floors, burnt wiring harness for the wiper cowl, and a host of other issues BUT at $3500 it was a deal and a couple of years and countless hours and dollars later it looked pretty similar to this one and someone offered me $10k for it which (at the time) was good money. These are great drivers, fairly comfortable to ride in and make all the right noises with the side pipes. They handle much better than many of the later cars and any of the big blocks. Almost getting to the point where they are too valuable to drive much.

    Like 1
  12. RexFox Member

    Many people feel the XKE is the prettiest car ever made, after seeing this Vette, I think many people might be wrong.

    Like 4

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