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Body-Off Restoration: 1976 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

When the seller of this 1976 Chevrolet Corvette says this is practically a new car, they just about aren’t kidding, as it’s undergone a full body-off restoration where nearly everything was touched and either refurbished or replaced with new parts.  But what adds to the fun here is the story behind this one, as it’s one of those cases where the current owner spotted the car, fell in love, and gave the classic if you ever want to sell spiel.  However, as luck would have it, the former caretaker was actually ready to part with the C3, and the car exchanged hands almost immediately!  Now it’s time to repeat the process, but not before a tremendous amount of love and labor has been poured in, so if you’ve been holding out for a very nice mid-seventies Corvette this one’s a beauty.  It’s located in New Haven, Connecticut, and can be found here on Barn Finds Classifieds.

The story begins in 2015 when a lady spotted her employer drive up in the Corvette, and apparently, it was at that very moment she knew the car had to be hers.  A deal was made, but the former owner mentioned there were a few things he’d like to take care of before she took possession, and as true love knows no bounds it turned into a full-blown body-off restoration which she gladly paid for.  The exterior was painted in Lexus Pearl White, and to this day there are said to be no visible cracks in the fiberglass plus just a couple of minor scratches in the finish, one on the hood and another near the rear wheel well on the driver’s side.  During the restoration, the T-Tops were replaced with a one-piece smoked Lexan kit, and just a couple of paint chips are also mentioned around this area.

Another great chapter of the story can be found under the hood, as one of the owner’s objectives was wanting the Corvette to have the capability to beat her husband’s ’68 Camaro.  The seller states the car’s VIN indicates a base L48, factory-rated at 180 horsepower, but the casting number on the 350 denotes a 210 HP specimen, so the motor is not believed to be original.  The small block was bored .030 over and completely rebuilt, then after an Edelbrock manifold and Holley carb were added it registered over 300 on the dynamometer.

Inside, it’s easier to mention what wasn’t given attention, and that would be just the two leather seats according to the seller.  All of the electrical accessories are stated as functioning correctly, with the only exception being the horn.  More good news is the A/C is said to be blowing cold air.

This one looks about as good underneath as it does on top, with the frame receiving a powder coating plus the addition of rack-and-pinion steering up front.  Only an estimated 1,000 miles have been traveled since the restoration was completed, but unfortunately, the owner has developed some back issues that have made entry and exit uncomfortable, so she’s decided to sell.  I’m not finding much at all here not to like and feel the asking price of $24,800 is quite reasonable for what we’re seeing, but I am curious if the Corvette ended up outperforming her husband’s Camaro!


  1. Shawn Fox Firth

    Cool car , ’76 is the last Stingray till the C7 .

    Like 8
  2. Claudio

    You simply cannot duplicate this for 28k

    Its as clean as clean goes

    What i dont like about it is irrelevant as i am not in the market

    The extra horses certainly will make this enjoyable

    Like 11
  3. Bamapoppy

    Nice, non-original Stingray. Any word on where the original engine went? Part of the deal? No CAT helps the go-motion, as well. I had a ‘76 and literally cried when it left my driveway. I literally had every piece of paper to it down to a copy of the bank loan for its’ purchase by the original owner who I bought it from.

    Like 7
    • Roland Schoenke

      I came close to tears when I sold my ’79, I feel your pain.

      Like 0
    • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

      The owner wasn’t even aware that it was a different engine until I ran the numbers. So, the previous owner may not have known or, when she said she wanted to beat her husband’s 68 Camaro, they may have dropped in another engine…? Her employer had several restoration contacts and so she was able to get most of the work done at “very good friend” rates.

      Like 0
  4. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    Love the way the Vette sits. The rear wheels are perfect for this Vette Front also.. And it’s nice to have extra Horse power under the hood. The 180hp was a real dog!! I wonder if they changed the gear ratio in the rear? Or did so work on the trans? The roof looks great. To really enjoy the pearl white paint. Look a newer Lexus the pearl white is beautiful. I can only imagine how this Vette looks in person. Great selling price! Good luck to the next owner. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 4
  5. Jason

    Clean mean machine. I also really dig the more capable power plant. Frame off that looks like it was done right for 25. Looks like a deal to my admittedly amateur eyes.

    Like 5
  6. TorinoSCJ69

    First Class.

    Great write up on a true caretaker and her Corvette.

    This one looks done right.
    Next owner will have much more than a nice ‘vette.

    Like 7
  7. Driveinstile Member

    Wow!!! I dont even know where to start. Normally I’m not into white on a car, but this pearl white on this Vette just looks stunning!!! Love the stance and the wheels. This generation was very popular when I was a kid, we didnt care if it “only” had 180 HP, it was a Corvette and it would be the highlight of the week if we could score a ride in one. Heck, it would be the highlight of my week if I could have a ride in this one now!!! The black interior really sets off the white paint too. And I appreciate the fact that they kept the original steering wheel too. These wheels were used on 1976 models specifically and if I’m not mistaken 77 to 79 not tilt wheel column Vettes as well. People didnt like the “Vega” wheel and would swap them out. The fact they kept it I think is terrific. This is just so nice, would love to see it in person especially in the sunlight. I also like the part of the write up that she wanted to be able to beat her husbands Camaro too lol. This is a very fair price. You could never restore one this nice for that kind of money. Hope it goes to a good new home and gets cared for the same way this owner did.

    Like 6
  8. jwaltb

    Body-off. Thank you Mike! It makes me crazy when people say frame-off, as they so often do these days.

    Like 5
  9. JoeNYWF64

    Can one be sure here that the birdcage was examined & addressed, if required?
    I sure would not have put back on the luggage rack, tho changing to the later combo rear bumper/spoiler was a good update.
    I think the issue with that steering wheel is that it partialy blocked gages here & in the camaro & maybe even in the vega.

    Like 2
  10. AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

    Hi All,
    I’m assisting the owner in getting her sold. Any questions, for a ton more photos and vids, please feel free to ask.
    I’ll be keeping an eye on the comments.

    Dave Brill

    Like 6
  11. Terry Shanahan

    Body off restoration on a ’76 Vette? A real labor of love but a really poor investment.

    Like 5
    • 19sixty5 Member

      A 76 is not what you would call top of the desirable list, but this turned out nice. It is pretty much a brand new car. I like the 80-82 rear bumper’s on these, it just balances out the styling. I’m not in the market, but the only minor dislikes are the luggage rack and steering wheel.

      Like 1
    • 58 and up

      I don’t think the body can be removed from the frame on this model without cutting the fiberglass

      Like 0
  12. Neil R Norris

    The engine upgrade was a must. I had a 77 L48 and you could measure zero to sixty times with an abacus. I do like this 76. Very nicely done.

    Like 1

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