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C3 Big Block Garage Find: 1968 Chevrolet Corvette

It’s not every day you get the chance to meet your heroes, but in the case of one Motor Trend editor, he was tipped off to a garage find Corvette that had just been discovered and was able to document it before heading off to a new owner. The Corvette is a special one, a 1968 model equipped with the optional 427 big block and a three-speed automatic transmission. Numerous details set the ’68s apart from other years, including the taillights that typically don’t feature reverse lenses inside of them; this owner had previously added them to the inner taillights in addition to the locations under the bumper. Find the full story here on, and thanks to Barn Finds reader Larry D. for the find. 

The interior of this C3 t ells the tale of how it likely came to be parked in this California garage for decades. The previous owner was apparently in the middle of sorting out a door related issue, possibly a window regulator, before work came to a screeching halt. The passenger seat was removed – possibly for more room to work?- and the glove box assembly, so the cabin looks fairly rough at the moment. All the removed parts were in the garage, however, so it shouldn’t be a big deal to put it back together. The inner door reveals that this Corvette was once blue, a color I’d much prefer over the resale red paint job it currently wears. I never knew this, but only the ’68s had the ignition switch on the dash instead of the column.

The big block appears to be largely unmodified, and the author notes this is the “base” version of the optional engine, equipped with the single four-barrel carburetor. The Corvette doesn’t run at the moment, but given it appears the repair work seen in the interior didn’t extend to the engine bay, we can be reasonably optimistic it will come back to life without too much heavy lifting. Given this Corvette didn’t apparently pop up on any major classifieds pages, one has to wonder how the new owner got tipped off to it – or did he simply know it was hidden away in this garage for years, and was the first one to pounce when he saw the doors lift up and the owner walk outside with that knowing look on his face that it was time to move on?

Oh, how I love that license plate. I hope the current owner either keeps it in a safe place, or the longtime owner kept it for his garage wall. The California sunset license plates are quite desirable these days, even more so with an intriguing hidden message like this one. The ’68 Corvette is an excellent find in general, given it has those pretty chrome bumpers and none of the later tweaks to the design that eroded at the C3’s connection to the stunning Mako Shark II concept car. The new owner of this C3 certainly had a good day the moment this was loaded onto his trailer, and kudos to Motor Trend’s John McGann for grabbing these awesome photos.


  1. Jack M.

    If I’m not mistaken General Motors introduced the column mounted ignition switch across all divisions in 1969.

    Like 4
    • brian engebretson

      yes but this is a 68,with the switch on the dash not the column?

      Like 3
      • Rick

        68 the switch was on the dash

        Like 1
  2. Ed Jennings

    The 68 had several one year only quirks. The outer door latches are different, and if I recall correctly, even the door assembly from a later car won’t fit the 68. Not sure about interior door panels. Anyway, just like the 63, there are a lot of one year only bits and pieces. Looks like this particular car has most all the parts already, so that likely won’t be an issue.

    Like 2
  3. t-bone BOB

    Located in Downey, CA

  4. George Mattar

    I see the air injection pump. That’s a big plus. I priced smog for my C3 and it is several thousand dollars to do it right. Thet3 are numerous one year only parts on a 68 including the headlamp buckets. This car is worth saving. Only 28,000 made.

    Like 1
  5. Kevin Thomas

    If I’m not mistaken, the 68 only had one set of back-up lights, mounted in the valance. None on the inner taillights.

  6. Robert Member

    The 68 vette had chrome knobs on the inside for door handles. Like all the 63 through 68. This vette has updated handles from the 69-76

    Like 1
  7. george B matthews

    68 corvette did not have backup lights in tail light .that came in 69 !

  8. PetertheGreat

    Owned a ’68 ragtop with a transplanted L46 350/350 bruiser. The previous owner had the dealer replace the original 327/300 in early ’69. The first thing I noticed was the tail backup lights that didn’t come on the early ’68s, which mine was. In fact, it was considered a Mako and not the Stingray. Replacement parts were a nightmare…and most were unavailable in 1984 when I bought it. The brake pedal cage was completely different from the later ’68s and no one carried the brake light switch. Not dealers, wrecking yards, Dearborn or Flint. Ended up using a 1953 GMC pickup switch and transferring the guts into the original casing. Had her for 30 years before a divorce forced her sale. In 30 years all I ever had to do was rebuild the carb twice when the lead was taken out of the gasoline.

    Like 2
  9. Lee

    A unique feature on the 68 I had was the fiber optic lighting for some of the indicator lights. Can’t remember which ones though?

    • george B matthews

      yea they had fiber optics for headlights tail lights and brake lights left and right sides .i had a new 68 corvette with t tops . paid $5800 dollars in wilson nc

    • Ed Jennings

      That feature wasn’t unique to the 68. In fact, it can continued through the ‘71 model year. I had a 71 and had to fix them occasionally. The fo wire tended to come out of the repeater lamp.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Yep, I had them on my ’70. Still worked, and thought it was a pretty cool thing.

  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    When I started reading this post and saw the word “special”, I was intrigued. I then read the Motor Trend article and see nothing special at all about this particular car. It is just a used up and dissassembled ’68 Corvette. Yes, it has a BB, but there isn’t anything particularly special about that.

    Probably the biggest thing is that is still has it’s smog pump, which someone has already pointed out. I have only ever seen one other Vette in person that had one still installed.

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