Custom Touches: 1968 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

At first glance, this 1968 Corvette Convertible looks like a tidy survivor. When you move a little closer, you begin to discover that it features a few custom touches. That brings us to the vexing question of whether a buyer should make the effort to return it to its standard specifications, or whether they should retain it untouched. That is a question that is tough to answer. However, if it is a classic that you would like to pursue further, you will find it located in Bunker Hill, West Virginia, and listed for sale here on eBay. Solid bidding has pushed the price to $13,800 in this No Reserve auction.

For our more eagle-eyed readers, the first thing that you’ll notice is that the paint shade that the Corvette wears isn’t original. The owner admits that the vehicle underwent a color change to Seafoam Green more than 20-years-ago. The work was performed by a previous owner, and it isn’t clear what color the car originally wore. It still holds a pleasant shine, with no significant issues or problems. The fiberglass is said to have a few cracks and flaws, and these may be as a result of the previous owner swapping on fenders from a ’73 Corvette. These flaws aren’t visible in the supplied photos, so it will probably require an in-person inspection to determine whether they will require the attention of a fiberglass specialist to address. We receive no information on the state of the frame or birdcage, but the overall appearance of the vehicle is encouraging. Once again, it will take a personal inspection with the Corvette up on a lift to confirm that the car is structurally sound. The owner includes both a soft-top and a hardtop for the Corvette, and while neither is perfect, they are both of good driver quality. The wheels, trim, and glass are in good order, while the side exhaust adds a touch of menace to this classic.

The Corvette’s interior is tidy and would seem to need nothing. However, if potential buyers are seeking spotless originality, they probably won’t like what they see here. The first thing that you will notice is the cloth seat covers. These are a later addition, although it isn’t clear whether these seats originally wore vinyl or leather. The covers aren’t in bad condition, with the lack of wear and physical damage meaning that they would not require immediate replacement. In fact, I would be very tempted to retain them on a long-term basis. Anyone who has ever sat on vinyl or leather seats that have been exposed to the blazing Summer sun can confirm how unpleasant the experience can be. I’ve never been able to decide whether it is the pain or the smell of scorched flesh that is the worst, but this cloth would minimize that problem. The wheel is an aftermarket item, as are the radio and center gauges. Some of the plastic and trim wear scratches and marks, but if a buyer is seeking a relatively tidy driver-quality Corvette, this one would seem to meet that description.

This photo affords us a closer look at the aftermarket gauges that the owner has installed, and while they match, I feel that they look out of place in this classic. I would probably make the effort to source something more appropriate, and if the genuine items prove prohibitively expensive, I’d head down the path of a reproduction set. The owner doesn’t supply any engine photos, and it is the story under the hood that may disappoint a few people. It is confirmed that this Corvette rolled off the line with a 427ci big-block under the hood. Sadly, this has now gone, and it has been replaced with a 350ci V8. There’s nothing wrong with the 350, and its lighter weight would make the car a more balanced driver when compared to the same car with a 427. However, an early C3 Corvette with a big-block will always command a higher potential value, and this change will undoubtedly hurt this car in the classic market. Bolted to the back of the 350 is a Turbo 400 transmission that feeds the power to a Posi rear end. The 350 is of 1969-vintage, but it isn’t clear which version it is. It should be producing at least 300hp, which would allow the car to cover the ¼ mile in 15 seconds, although that figure could be lower depending on the motor. There has been some significant work performed by the owner in recent times, and this should see the Convertible ready to be enjoyed by its next owner. He has rebuilt the suspension, replaced the brakes, and fitted all new fuel and brake lines. He says that the Corvette isn’t perfect, but that it is a good driver. It sounds like the open road is beckoning this classic and its new owner.

This 1968 Corvette Convertible isn’t perfect, but it is a tidy driver that has no immediate needs. The changes that have been made, particularly to the engine, will have some impact on its overall value. That is something that potential buyers will need to consider before submitting a bid. However, if spotless originality is not a key criterion, it probably deserves a closer look. With some nice weather in the offing over the next few months, I can’t think of many better ways to spend my leisure time than behind the wheel of this classic.

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Comments

  1. Allen L

    The hood is also not the original 1968 hood, as it is lacking the vacuum operated flap that covers the windshield wipers. A feature that disappeared in 1969, as they were problematic.

    Like 2
    • Thomas Yeager

      uh, my 71 has the vacuum operated wiper cover ….

      Like 3
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        My 72 also has the vacuum operated flap that covers the windshield wipers. I believe 1973 ended that with the longer hood.

        Like 2
      • Allen L

        Apologies to you and leiniedude, I stand corrected.

        Like 2
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        No apologies needed Allen, take care, Mike.

  2. george mattar

    What a waste of a once great car that has many one year parts only. I own a high quality 73 driver for numerous reasons. The 68 to 72 wiper system was and is a disaster. There are others that make the 73 a far superior car.

    Like 1
  3. Dave

    Oh just get in and drive it already

    Like 9
  4. Vance

    Bravo Dave, the originalist go too far sometimes. Just buy it, drive it, and enjoy the hell out of it. This seems like a very fair price for what you are getting. We have a very short window in time, make the most of it.

    Like 9
  5. gbvette62

    This car is not worth returning to original. There is almost nothing left from 68 on this car. The hood, wheels, fender louvers, all four wheel openings, doors & door panels, rear lower valance, shifter plate, steering column, park brake handle, park brake console, even the windshield header soft top pin receivers are from a later year Corvette. In fact, about the only thing left from 68 are the seats and dash.

    Like most first year models, 68’s suffered from many quality issues, and used many one year only odd ball parts. Except 68’s were much worse in this regard than just about any other first year car ever. Considering what’s been changed on this car, and what the cost and availability of the missing parts is, it just wouldn’t be practical to restore this car. Even if it still had it’s original engine, it’d be hard to justify.

    Like 4
  6. Rj

    This a buy cheap, fix it, drive, enjoy it. This is the kind of Corvette all the Deak’s can look at and feel superior in knowing the Vette they will never own would be perfect in every way.

    Like 5
  7. Ed Casala

    I thought I had FrankenVette! Looks good, but as others have stated, far from original. Fun cruiser though.

    Like 4
  8. Laurence

    ANOTHER deviation from originality is the ’73-onwards air extractor! The ’68-’69 cars had slanted air vents and the ’70-72 cars had slanted criss-cross air vents. I can point out yet a FURTHER deviation: the flared wheel arches front and rear, which did not make their appearance until model year 1970! It appears that this 1968 car’s body is a veritable “Franken-body”. That awful steering wheel and those very incorrect gauges add to the Frankenstein nature of this car. Yes, the car can be enjoyed “as is”…but will never be the valuable classic it could have been if left unmolested.

    Like 3
  9. Cotton

    I especially like the ford square base antenna!

  10. Kenn

    Woulda coulda shoulda. Too bad the previous owner(s) couldn’t see into the future and realize these might be collector items……

    Like 1

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