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Cheap But Challenged: 1977 Corvette Project


Yes, this Corvette is rough. Really rough! But it might be going really, really cheap! It’s located in San Pierre, Indiana, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Maybe it’s the way for you to get into an inexpensive project?


As you can see, there’s a lot of body issues with this car. I don’t know enough about fiberglass refinishing to comment further; I’m hoping some of our readers can fill us in as to what would be necessary here. You have to wonder how it got so abused that the rear badge and some tail lights got broken.


Typically I think of Corvettes as being loved cars; they are usually kept well and not abused. I’d actually like to know the history of this one. The seller took it in on trade. There is supposedly a rebuilt engine and even possibly the transmission, but there’s no guarantee. The seller does tell us it runs well and drives, although apparently the transmission is stuck in drive (how exactly is it starting then?).


The interior may be the scariest part of this car. It’s a wreck! The picture of the wiring hanging down under the dash is truly epic. You’re going to really have to want a Corvette badly to take this one on, but what if it sells for less than $1,000? Would you drag it home?


Here’s the supposedly rebuilt engine. While it does look better than the rest of the car, I wouldn’t count on it being rebuilt. It is nice to see the air conditioning compressor in place and maybe the mechanical components are ok. On the bright side, it does have T-tops that don’t leak, new tires and a new battery, and the aluminum wheels from a later car look to be in nice shape. It also supposedly stops well. What do you think? Does this look like a worthwhile project to you?


  1. Avatar photo ydnar

    Yes, we need some fiberglass guys “to fill us in” on the repairs.

    I’d part it out myself.

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    • Avatar photo van

      Lots of negative comments and mostly true
      Imagine your in high school
      Your dad gives you minimal encouragement
      You could Learn a lot and be coolest cat in school

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  2. Avatar photo Francisco

    I’m not a ‘vette enthusiast. However I think the used market on these cars represents a fantastic value for anyone seeking an exciting and satisfying 2 seat sports/grand touring car. This example offers a lot of potential for little money.

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    • Avatar photo JL

      Sorry man, but you said it yourself. You’re not knowledgeable enough to make a call on this one. This is an absolute pile. As an avid Vette enthusiast, this thing belongs in a junkyard being parted out or used as some crazy project where a bunch of drunk guys ripped out everything that’s not drivetrain and suspension, and made it into some go-cart abomination.

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  3. Avatar photo BRAKTRCR

    Has that really rare factory 383…. or is it just a 350… well the factory never produced a 383, but I guess all of us wished we ended up with something rare and special on the cheap. It might have been more believable if he said it was a 377

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  4. Avatar photo 64 bonneville

    Use aircraft stripper to remove all the paint, including any primer until you get down to the raw fiber glass. make the repairs, laying up fiber glass matt and resin. then start sanding again to smooth it out. when it feels smooth as a mirror it is ready to primer and paint. working evenings and weekends, you could probably figure, at a minimum, 8 months just to do the body. would do the wiring next, and save interior for last. It will be a very major project, just in body work alone.

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  5. Avatar photo Jason Houston

    Any seller who has the **** to put a reserve on something like this is hardly motivated about seriously selling.

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    • Avatar photo Doug Towsley

      There are certain selling strategies on ebay, its entirely reasonable to put a reserve on it. Spend some time researching these topics before making rude and demeaning statements. If you bother to read the sellers pages on ebay and the fee structures you might have a better understanding of what you are talking about.

      Also to the other comments about paint stripper, BAD idea. Dont use strippers on plastic and fiberglass parts, you will be sorry. If you are too lazy or disinclined to do the sanding, then there are shops that will strip it for you using plastic media, it will remove the paint and not damage or distort the plastic and fiberglass body work. People who sandblast have to learn with metal as well, theres a technique of using deflection. Too much blasting can heat up, warp and distort metal body panels. I worked with an idiot who brought in a rare muscle car body on a trailer on a weekend. Lifted it with the hoist into our commercial blast cabinet. (Aerospace manuf) and proceeded to ruin the body work. was as wavy as lake superior during a winter storm when he pulled it out. Im thinking he probably ended up buying another car shell after that. He was too cheap to pay for the Chem dip service many of us used for car bodys. (I,and many of my coworkers DID use the blasters a lot, just not on super rare bodys)

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  6. Avatar photo dj

    My first Corvette was a 77. Took 3 trips with the car hauler trailer and two with the truck. It didn’t have a front clip on it but came with a new one. Gave $1500 for it. This one’s not too bad. 77 is a screwed up year with different things and left over parts stuck in the interior. It’s a late car. Early cars had the alarm switch on the fender. Then it moved to the key switch, then there were no emblems. The late cars had the crossflags. It’s already higher than I would give.

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  7. Avatar photo Rich

    Up to 1850.00 and reserve not met yet??? It has potential, but to me this is a 1k car at most.

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  8. Avatar photo erikj

    I have a 68 4spd roadster that I love, I have had just about every muscle.made but never had a vette. finaly after years of cars I got the one I never had and wanted,the vette. Its just a driver, but rebuilt engine and brakes. I might have to sell Because of a divorce and a dwi and through no work for close to a year. so I always get interested when I see rough vettes for sale to see what they go for.These rubber bumper one go cheapest and I think mine would bring more because its a metal bumper car. Hope I don’t have to sell,that would hurt. Sorry to vent. I feel better.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo RoughDiamond

      erikj-I sure hope you don’t have to sell either. I had to let go of a true ’66 L-79 Nova SS matching numbers M-21, 3:73 12 bolt one owner car prior to my purchase with all docs including sales order form. I don’t regret it for second though because the money was needed for my wife’s first pregnancy and hence the birth of our first daughter who is now 26 and has given us two wonderful grandchildren. I sure hope things work out for you to keep and enjoy your ’68 Corvette 4-speed roadster for many years to come.

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  9. Avatar photo Mark S

    That interior looks scarier than it is, I always find it interesting how people are scared off by what LOOKS like an over whelming mess. In my life with my limited budget I have always counted on the faint at heart to pass on an item that could be repaired easier than most would think. just because there is a mess involved. If I were in a position to buy this car I would consider it a diamond in the rough. I think for 2 or 3 grand this would be good deal.

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  10. Avatar photo Rancho Bella

    You sand, use no strippers. You don’t want to remove the gel coat.

    As to the car……….these are piles. They were piles when new, now they are just old piles.

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    • Avatar photo 64 bonneville

      Rancho Bella, in my experience the sand left a really rough finish, and did harm the gel coat.

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      • Avatar photo Rancho Bella

        Don’t take it down to the gel coat, it isn’t necessary. Removing all paint could lead to problems. It is o.k to leave the old primer/paint. If the base paint is good all you need a proper grit to smooth things out.

        Doesn’t make me right, it’s just the way we do it.

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  11. Avatar photo Dan the Man

    I have a 1981. Looking at the pictures may scare you but the right person with the correct amount of funds will love it!!!!

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  12. Avatar photo Dan the Man

    Just posting a pic!!!!!

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  13. Avatar photo Axel Caravias

    The main issue here would be rust on frame and birdcage.
    No stripper on fiberglass body unless is a “fiberglass stripper” which I haven’t use it yet but it seems to work fine. I have used the old sanding, epoxy sealant, urethane primer and paint with great results. It is very time consuming hence not all restoration shops work on them. I would guess 100-120 hours without any nasty surprises, just for the paintwork.

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  14. Avatar photo Chuck F.

    Ordered a ’79 new with every available option. To this day, the worst car I’ve ever owned and that is saying a lot as I’ve owned dozens. (Even worse than the ’72 Vega GT.)

    It was so bad, I didn’t buy a another domestic vehicle for 26 years and I’ll never buy another GM product.

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  15. Avatar photo Paul

    I would love to find something like this here in brno, Czech republic, i have my 1960 corvair back in argentina to be finished, and takes time and money, but it can be done. I’m 39 and have a lot of energie to start a project like this. Would need to find rates to bring a car abroad in a ship and paperwork…better to earn some money and invesrt in a ferrari or porsche per 20000. Cheers

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  16. Avatar photo Jim Ward

    Had a 80 in about same shape bought to help a guy had wife die and no money. Ended up selling for 1800 and was more than happy to get that. Most offers were in the 1000 range. Should have parted it would have made money instead of losing.

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  17. Avatar photo DW

    Bidding is already over $2000. For just slightly more you can find an already sorted and still in one piece Vette of the same vintage including the one that was listed here not that long ago at https://stlouis.craigslist.org/cto/5370368735.html for 3k.

    Like 0

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