Blue Plate Donation: 1976 Chevrolet Corvette

UPDATE 06/05/2022: The story behind this 1976 Chevrolet Corvette is unclear since it has hit the market for a second time with the same seller. It was previously listed with No Reserve, and the indications are that it found a new owner when the hammer fell at $6,105. Maybe that person failed to produce the cash because it is again offered with No Reserve here on eBay. Spirited bidding has pushed the price to $3,750. If you are kicking yourself because you missed out last time, it appears that fate is giving you a second bite at the cherry.

05/22/2002: Many of you have heard me grouse about (well, a lot of things), but in particular, some of the seemingly decent cars that end up in the auction lot. Every now and again, however, I can see why grandad’s muscle car may end up in a place like this. The 1976 Chevrolet Corvette shown here looks great in photos, but the seller breaks out a long list of expensive mechanical issues that quickly made restoring this C3 a questionable proposition. The Corvette is a long-time California car wearing faded blue plates, and is listed here on eBay.

The seller doesn’t provide a ton of info in their listings but rather the most critical vitals to deciding whether it’s worth taking a gamble on a no reserve donation car. The listing indicates the engine makes a not-insignificant rattling sound and that the automatic transmission needs to be replaced. So, that’s two big-deal items that will need to be addressed, because if this seller indicates the engine is in need of potential replacement, there’s a good chance it is. Fortunately, finding those parts for a C4 really isn’t a big deal and this is likely one of the easier models to restore on a budget. Plus, the interior appears to be in very good shape so you likely don’t need to touch that for the time being.

If you’re the offspring of the previous owner of this Corvette and you find it in the garage, a donation is a quick and easy solution. And if you’re the caretaker and still of sound body and mind and realize you’re never going to get the transmission dropped and replaced, the tax benefit is likely far more appealing than dealing with the jokers on craigslist. With a car like this – even though it looks like a desirable collectible on the surface – I can absolutely see why someone who brings it to the donation center versus trying to sell it, especially given the going rate for a broken C3. Still, the door panels look good, especially given how prone the fake woodgrain is to looking like trash after a few years of sun exposure.

And based on the burnt off paint on the deck lid, I suspect this baby blue Corvette did spend some years outside. The listing notes it comes with T-tops and tires with decent tread, and there’s no denying it looks downright tough from this angle. Truth be told, I’m surprised at the current bid number but there’s plenty of eyeball appeal here. If you have a rusty C3 with a good engine and transmission, you can likely swap the drivetrain into a rust-free California coupe over the course of a few weekends, so it starts to make sense on the other side why someone may want a discarded muscle car like this. Which camp do you fall into: saving it or donating it?


  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I know I have never said this, but it is time. LS swap, 5 speed and some suspension mods. My buddy donated his 1996 Corvette in the Windy City somewhere. It was a very nice car, and an expensive tune up before he donated it. It did have the Optispark issue though. The big reason for moving it on was getting to hard to get out of it. It worked out well for him and the buyer called him a couple times and liked the car. I like a happy ending.

    Like 10
    • ccrvtt

      Optispark was not an issue with the 1995-96 C4s. Must have been something else.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Just going on his word.

        Like 1
      • Toocool

        Opti could have been an issue for Corvettes from ’92-’97. Same as F-bodys.

        Like 2
      • John temple

        I had to replace the opti spark on my 95.

        Like 2
      • John temple

        I had to replace the opti spark in my 95.

  2. Cadmanls Member

    Plastic bumper covers are going by the wayside, so fiberglass replacements are in order. Drop a newer small block and 4 speed auto transmission in, would be the easiest way to go. Suspension upgrades and low buck paint and run the car till the wheels fall off.

    Like 13
  3. George Mattar

    What cadmanls said. I have a 73 Corvette. Front bumper cover was total junk. Got fiberglass. Perfect fit. End of story.

    Like 1
  4. drew

    The problem for someone in the state of CA with this car is the smog issue. 1975 and earlier equals no smog.

    Like 4
    • joenywf64

      It really should be ’74 or earlier, but C.A.R.B. goofed.
      Most ’75s had converters & when u remove them, their exhaust is a lot dirtier than a ’74.

  5. gaspumpchas

    Yep would be a good project, but beware Its got a bunch of suspect bids. Cali car ahould have a solid birdcage and frame. Not sure this smogmobile is worth 4200? Good luck.

    Like 3
    • Frank Sumatra

      GPC- This is a scam. Plain and simple.

      Like 1
  6. Frank Sumatra

    When you “donate” something normally it is going to a charity or educational institution to be used to raise funds for the work they are doing. And doesn’t the place you “donate” to have some type of tax id number to prove what they represent? I don’t see any indication any portion of the funds from this “donated” car is going to help anybody but the grifter running this scam.

    Like 4
    • gbvette62

      A quick search on Google shows that JDC ( has been around since 1999, so if they’re a scam, they’re pretty good at it. It looks like they just facilitate getting hid of cars, and other things donated to charities that don’t want to deal with selling them themselves.

      Personally I rather find an original, unmolested car like this, with original faded paint, to one that’s just had a quick resale paint job, to hide a lot of sins. That said, it will cost more to paint this car than the car’s worth, and it will still need mechanical work, carpet, and who knows what else.

      This may be a California car, but I’d still be very worried about rust. The faded paint, rotted carpet and rust on everything under hood, lead me to believe this car has been stored outside, likely someplace damp. From the frosted back window, I’m guessing the t-tops, windshield and/or back window have been leaking. If so, the floors (which were metal starting in 76) and the birdcage in the area of the cowl and a-pillar are surely rusty.

      If the car is solid (a big if), it might be a good starting point for someone, but I’d be a lot more worried about rust, than the mechanical issues.

      Like 4
      • Frank Sumatra

        Charity Navigator web page shows their expenses are higher than their income. I personally would err on the side of caution. Each to his/her own.

        From the Better Business Bureau:

        Most Recent Customer Complaint
        anonymous Advertising/Sales Issues complaint
        Complaint Type: Advertising/Sales Issues
        Status: Unanswered

        On August 11 I placed a bid on a 2009 ****** Corrolla S and was winning bidder .I purchased this car in hopes of reselling after fixing.Total price I paid was 3600..On the full vehicle description it clearly stated it was a clear ********** title.After taking it home and registering it it was brought to my attention it was salvaged title therefore decreasing the value also much harder to sell.I have contacted seller and was hoping to resolve it without going this far but I have not had any further response .

        Like 1
      • gbvette62

        One BBB complaint from 2009, still does not make them a scam.

        There are a number of companies like this one, that sell things that have been donated to charities. Charities get cars, planes, boats, jewelry, land and all kinds of other things that they can’t sell themselves, so they turn to companies like this one.

        I have no interest in this car. I never buy any cars that I can’t personally inspect, and don’t think anyone else should either. I also have no connection to this company, or any other one similar to them. I’m just saying it’s a legitimate business, and it’s not right for you to call it a scam, just because you’re not familiar with them or their industry.

        Like 6
    • John

      Once donated the charities sell them and get money for the charity or junk them and get 400

  7. Steve Clinton

    This lot is located near me in Orange and I have seen a lot of their offerings on eBay.
    The old adage stands true “Buyer beware!”

    Like 2
  8. Rodney Woliver

    I asked for underneath photos and was told they don’t take them…..

    Like 1
  9. Jaye

    4 G will buy a 1995 toyota.

    This is a deal.

    Like 1
  10. Lee

    Yikes! Sold for $6105!! Better off buying a running, driving car. The buyer will be underwater when all is said and done.

    Like 2
  11. Dan Skopp

    This is NOT a C-4 Corvette, It is a C-3

    Like 1
  12. John VanGorder Member

    I read all the comments and agree that you should be a little leery. Its an as is car, cool I get that, you are taking a risk, got it. But why be unwilling to show underside pics? I understand people are busy, it takes time, but really why not if you are a charity looking to get your best dollar? Anyhow that is not even my biggest concern…3 days to pay CAN DO, but to get ANY transport company to pick up within 3 days during specific “office hours” especially an inop….just never going to happen. There were red flags for me but THAT detail is when it became a hard NO.

    Like 1
  13. Cam W.

    There are several legit, govt-registered charities in my area accepting donated cars. They offer a generous receipt to the doner , who can then submit the receipt as a “charitable donation” at tax time. The charity then usually auctions the car, and keeps the proceeds. The actual sale price is typically less than what the receipt value was. Depending on your income, this can work really well. Same thing works for donations to properly accredited museums. Many people don’t want to get involved in private sales, especially if the car needs work. The donation system is very popular with families settling estates. I have scored several decent project cars at good prices through charity car sales. A friend recently got a large tax receipt after donating several unrestored vehicles to a military museum…both parties were very happy.

    Like 1

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