The C3 I Want: 1973 Corvette

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

Right off the bat, if you’ve read Barn Finds for a while you know I think C3 Corvettes are a bargain. What you don’t know is that unlike most commenters (and I suspect staff members), I actually prefer the 1973 model shape the best, with the original 1968-ish rear end with ducktail spoiler and bumpers but urethane nose without them. I know, I’m weird. Nonetheless, this is my favorite year C3 in one of my favorite colors, and it’s had a lot of recent work done by someone that seems to know what they are doing. It’s listed for sale here on craigslist for an asking price of $10,000 and is located in Port Charlotte, Florida. Thanks to frequent finder Rocco B. for this find that I wish I could buy instead of posting about!

I realize a lot of you have tuned me out already. “How could he like that mismatched front and rear? How could he prefer what is one of the “softer” year models with emissions equipment?” Well, sorry, but I like it. Now even I realize that a good inspection would be desired before dropping anything close to 10,000 on this car. And it certainly isn’t a bastion of originality, with an L82 engine, many aftermarket parts and a lot of parts recently replaced. But what I’d like is a driver, and this car is certainly that.

Somehow, I have a lot of respect for the gentleman that is selling this car even before meeting them. The license plate indicates military service, and decorated service at that. The description of the car is very thorough, and the reason for the 71 year old seller deciding to list the car is a desire to travel rather than finishing their 155th car! I would love to spend an afternoon or longer with this individual just listening to what they have to say. I hope they view this posting and decide to share there experiences in the comments section. I’ll be paying attention if they do.

The L82 engine reflects a lot of love. The seller lists a huge number of improvements they have made to the car in the past year, including but not limited to a new water pump, master cylinder, power steering pump, lines and cylinder, brakes with new rotors, calipers, pads, and brake lines, shocks, fuel tank that has been dropped and flushed with a new fuel gauge sensor and tank gasket. The rear license plate bezel was replaced as were the crossed flags on the gas lid. The front emblem was replaced with crossed flags because the seller thought they looked better but they have the original emblem. The flywheel was turned and a new friction disk, pressure plate, throw-out bearing and clutch fork and dust cover were installed along with new u-joints. Additonally, the car features a stainless exhaust system. There’s a lot more listed, and pictures are included, but you get the gist of it.

There are two main problems remaining: the air conditioning is present but non-functional and the dashboard needs some wiring assistance. I’d dearly love to take both on (okay, the local ac shop would take on the air conditioning, but I would tackle the wiring myself), The four speed is the necessary ingredient for me. The seller does mention some small issues with the current paint job due to poor preparation and I guess those would eventually have to be taken care of. But I sure would enjoy driving it in the meantime!

Get Daily Email Updates:


  1. Rock On

    Hey, they can’t all be ’67 big blocks or ’63 split window coupes. I could enjoy this car for a very long time. Luckily for me this car is 2,000 miles too far to consider.

  2. Sunbeamdon

    I, too, like this car; my much older twin (he’s 77) also likes this car. Although I like the ’90 -95 ZR1s better

    I understand the need to build; wifey says I can’t buy that MB SL600 until I sell a car. Unfortunately, the POR15 ’65 Tiger is taking my time. Bondo and rust dust all over my driveway – every corner had been hit at least once!

  3. Mike Layton

    The only area of concern on the earlier c-3 would be the body mounts beneath the windshield pillar , these can be viewed by removing the kick panels . Everything else is pretty much doable in the driveway . I would not tackle birdcage issues in a post 72 car , reguardless of options . I personally am baffled by the outcome of the 1973 Corvette , though some really dig them . I think the only good 73 had to offer for the Corvette was the redesign of the wiper cavity and hood to do away with the wiper door .

  4. Nova Scotian

    Yea, this is a cool ride. I like it too.

  5. ron bajorek

    4speed and a/c, what’s not to like?

  6. Mike

    Look at the boats in front of the car in the garage,WOW

  7. Steve Visek

    Take heart. You are not alone.
    I also have always been partial to the ’73 Corvette’s one-year-only mix of chrome rear bumper and poly front end.
    Guess I’m weird too! 🙂

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Yay us, Steve 🙂

  8. Erik

    Actually, you aren’t the only one. Larry Shinoda agrees with you also. According to him, this is the only year the C3 looked the way they intended it to when they designed it.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Holy cow, that’s one expert I would NEVER have argued with. Nothing but respect for Shinoda’s designs, and I own a Boss 302. Thanks for that information, Erik!

  9. John M.

    For only $500 more than what the seller is asking for that Econoline/Santa Sleigh that was being advertised earlier, this real clean vintage Vette is a steal.

  10. Douglas

    Descent vette, visually the rear of this one looks like it’s sitting about 3 inches too high. Whats up with that?

  11. Troyce

    Does it seem to sit a little high in the back? Perhaps it’s the tires.

    I’ve a now 73 shifted with 35K miles, probably have it until I no longer know what it is. Put 120K on one in the 1970s; never let it cool down.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      I’ve written to the seller and asked them to join the discussion and comment on the rear ride height. I hope they do 🙂


    Nice car at a fair price.

  13. AMCFAN

    My guess on the ride height is that the original 90+ lb. rear spring was changed at some point along with the dif cover mount. Could have opted to a composite spring that weighs 15 lbs. wet. That would raise the normal sagging rear. Something GM did in 1978 I believe. The benefit from the weight savings your butt and spine will thank you for it. Disadvantage is in the winter you can do donuts without trying. Good lord a Corvette enthusiast driving in the snow!

    Speaking on the C-3 saggy rear ends (no longer this one) a buyer would be wise to craw under or put one on a lift. The rear diff cover will develop stress cracks and eventually break. Happened to mine. Ruined my already tired spring. Car was less then five years old at the time.

    As far as the A/C not working….Save your money. When it is working it won’t do the job. It is the design of the car. The heat will cook you from the floor up.

    OK thumbs down!

  14. Paul

    I like it, however I like all years of the C3 with 75 being my favorite year as far as styling.

  15. Alan Stoner

    I love my 73 I got it last fall I have been working on it since the day I got it. I am older and have more patience. I feel cool just driving around running errands. Cruising to the A&W.

  16. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    I just heard back from the seller. The spring is original, they are thinking that the picture was taken right after they had the car on jacks to replace the parking brake cables. He said it rides very nicely and that there are no issues with the car in person.

  17. leiniedude

    Boy, for the amount of work put into this rig this thing is a steal. And your Keystones look good on your 73 Alan Stoner. Keystoners?

  18. Troyce

    Perhaps I missed it, but any confirmation mileage is real?

    Even if so – and it probably is – adding another, what, five to seven grand to make it nearer show condition (engine bay, door cards, paint, and what we can’t see) one ends up with a 15-17K investment worth, if lucky, about 15K? Comments?

    It’s difficult to determine from, admittedly, very short internet research, the actual sale value of this particular model year. There are some pretty fancy asking prices, but do they sell there?

  19. Erik Glass

    Screaming deal for the $$.

  20. leiniedude

    Hi Troyce. I agree on your pricing comment. I saw this 1973 on C/L today. For what its worth.

  21. Joe Howell

    This is a nice looking car and I like the soft nose look, guess I’m partial due to my Porsche 944 Turbo soft nose. Personally I like the shark gilled side vents of the 68-69 and the un-flared body which showed off tire width better. That said my 68 rag top sounded like it was coming apart when going over railroad tracks, the body mounts were improved from 69 on. Stone chips from that un- flared body were bad but made the tires look great..


Leave A Comment

Rules: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Click here to list your car for sale.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.