Blue-Plate Survivor: 1972 Chevrolet Corvette

For many purists, the 1972 model year marked the end of an era for the C3 Corvette. It was the final year that Chevrolet offered the car with a chrome front bumper, and it was the start of a process whereby tightening emission regulations would eventually strangle its performance. Within a few short years, the once muscular sports car would be heavier, softer, and a shadow of its former self. Our feature car is a 1972 model, and it is a genuine blue-plate survivor. The original owner ordered it with some desirable extras, making it a classic that offers a perfect blend of performance and luxury. The owner has decided that the time is right for it to be appreciated by someone else, so they have listed it for sale here on craigslist. It is located in Lincoln, California, and you could give it a new home by handing the owner $27,500, although it appears that he may consider offers. We always appreciate it when our readers refer great classics to us, so I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder rex m for spotting this spotless survivor.

Chevrolet offered the ’72 Corvette in a choice of ten paint colors, and with a total of 4,891, Ontario Orange was the popular choice by a fairly wide margin. The runner-up spot fell to Elkhart Green, with 4,200 cars. Our Ontario Orange feature car presents well for its age, although it isn’t clear whether it has ever received any restoration or repainting work. It shines impressively, although there are enough swirls visible in some shots to suggest that a professional buff might lift its presentation further. There are no significant flaws or issues, while the fiberglass shows no evidence of cracks or problems. It appears that the ‘Vette has spent its life in California, and while the owner makes no specific mention, it increases the chances that the frame and birdcage are free from the sort of rust that can cost a small fortune to address. The chrome is in excellent order, including the trim rings and center caps on the Rally wheels. The tinted glass shows no faults beyond the swirls that can accumulate with age, although there is nothing bad enough to justify replacement. The overall impression that this survivor makes is pretty positive.

One of the most dramatic changes that occurred with the Corvette for 1972 revolved around buyer preferences. It marked the first year where buyers ordered more of these classics equipped with a Hydramatic transmission than a manual. Self-shifters accounted for 53.9% of total sales, and that trend would continue for the remainder of the C3’s lifetime. That makes this car part of a minority because its original 350ci V8 is bolted to a four-speed manual transmission. With 200hp on tap, the car should be capable of covering the ¼ mile in 15.6 seconds. The engine bay looks pretty tidy for an original and unrestored survivor, and it doesn’t flatter to deceive. The owner says that it runs and drives extremely well and that it has a further ace up its sleeve. Not only does it appear to be numbers-matching, but the owner indicates that the odometer shows 75,000 genuine miles. I tend to treat such claims with a grain of salt, but the fact that the owner holds service records suggests that this should be easy to verify.

When we turn our attention to this Corvette’s interior, we find how the original owner was happy to splash some cash on luxury and comfort features. As well as ordering the car with Black leather trim, he opted for air conditioning, power windows, a tilt/telescopic wheel, and an AM/FM radio. The overall presentation is pretty reasonable, with no major flaws that would demand immediate attention. The plastic is in good order, the dash is tidy, the carpet has avoided the fading that can plague these interiors, while the door trims look excellent. About the only thing that I can fault is the outer edge of the driver’s seat. The piping has worn through to the point that its inner plastic support has begun to emerge. I’m not sure whether an upholsterer could address this without the need to resort to replacement covers. It’s a question worth asking because replacement leather covers cost around $750 per set. The other alternative would be to find a pair of high-quality slipcovers that would serve to protect the existing upholstery. Otherwise, it appears ready to be enjoyed by its lucky new owner.

I don’t doubt that we will have more than a few readers who would love nothing more than to park this 1972 Corvette in their driveway. It is easy to see why because it ticks so many of the right boxes. The original owner ordered it in the most popular color, and he loaded it with the most desirable optional extras. Its popularity was virtually assured as the last of the chrome-bumper ‘Vettes, but these additions push it to the next level. It has only been on the market for a couple of days, and at the asking price, I doubt that the owner will be waiting long before an eager enthusiast turns up with the cash he wants. Does it tempt you?


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  1. Euromoto Member

    Going to need to replace those Winston Winners before driving home.

    Like 4
    • Autoworker

      I agree. A nice car on a set of off brand tires doesn’t look right.

  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Killer color on a killer car. As nice as they get.

    Like 6
  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    If you do the seat covers, do yourself a favor and do the cushions also. Great looking ride.

    Like 2
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I agree with you, Mike.
      I didn’t replace the cushions and always wished I did.

      Like 3
  4. SMS

    My past boss had a C3 from new and it never left California except for a few drives to Nevada. When he started restoring it there was significant rust in the frame. He had wanted to upgrade the suspension so it was not a problem for him but a potential buyer may want to check for rust even with a California car.

    A good upholster can take the seats apart and replace the piping. I prefer worn in leather covers over hard replacements.

    This one looks good and if you can keep that soft broken in leather it would be a plus.

    Like 1
  5. Frank Sumatra


    Like 4
  6. Glenn heigl Member

    72 was an awesome year one and only year with a removable rear window and the orange is beautiful my older brother had the same car exactly.

    Like 1
  7. Comet

    I had a friend with an almost identical car. He checked into a motel one night and woke up to find both doors stolen. Bad day.

    Like 1
  8. joenywf64

    There is a custom orange vette in Prom Night(1980) – not worth seeing, unless you like disco music. lol

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