Former Find! 1968 AIR L88 Corvette!

I was excited to learn that this one-of-three 1968 Chevrolet “A.I.R.” L88 Corvette was for sale (not for my sake personally — this is way out of my league!) and that all of its terrific history could be uncovered with a little internet sleuthing. The car is for sale here on eBay, although with a starting bid of $777,777 I seriously doubt any sale will take place in that marketplace. At the moment, the car is located in Palos Verdes, California.

There’s a very detailed write-up of this particular car’s history here, but I’ll try to sum it up briefly for you. In July 1967, actor/racer James Garner partnered with some other like-minded folks to form American International Racing, a venture designed to both race cars and make money, something that has historically proved very difficult to do! After a short venture into designing a turbine-powered car was cut short by rules changes, in late 1967 the team inked an agreement with Chevrolet and Goodyear to race Corvettes in endurance races in 1968. Three cars were ordered (seen above) with our subject car being the spare car or “Promo Car” for both publicity and in case something happened to the first two cars.

As it turned out, the racing program was very short-lived and after a promotional appearance at the 1968 Daytona 24-Hour this particular car never raced for A.I.R. However, it was later raced by several individuals, eventually being modified and crashed to the point that it was unrecognizable — essentially a barn find! Ultimately, the car was sold to a noted Corvette enthusiast named Bob Radke, who not only had the car restored to its 1968 Daytona appearance but created a website devoted to the A.I.R. Corvettes. That gorgeous hue is LeMans Blue, by the way.

When the car was first restored, it was shown at the 2009 San Jose NCRS national convention and received the prestigious NCRS American Heritage Award — essentially implying the car could not be in any better condition than it was at that point.

As you can see from the pictures, this fire-breathing monster is absolutely stunning. It’s not surprising that it caught the eye of Barn Finds reader Larry D. who was kind enough to tip us off to this find. Even though I have no possibility of ever owning a car like this, it was truly a joy to look over the pictures and learn about this L88’s history.

Any L88 Corvette is special — but this might be one of the most special of them all. Which brings up the question — what is the most special Corvette to you? I’d love to hear about your Corvette stories in the comment section!

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Comments

  1. Bud Lee

    I can’t afford not to have this car .

    Like 4
  2. Frank Sumatra

    1969 ZL-1. 427 all-aluminum rumored to put out 540 HP. Two were built. The provenance of ZL-1 #2 has been subjected to much debate. An alleged ZL-1 #3 roadster in Gulf racing livery appeared at Corvettes at Carlisle in the early 1990’s. I don’t know if it was legit, but what a sound when it was fired up.

    Like 7
    • Jack

      Having worked at Chevrolet Engineering back in the day I can tell you that your horsepower number is a little on the light side….

      Like 11
      • Frank Sumatra

        Sweet. Thanks.

  3. doug

    The yellow coupe is known, been at Carlisle too. Was once owned by owner of Zip Corvette parts. The Gulf car is owned by Simeone Museum.

    Like 6
    • Frank Sumatra

      @Doug- Thanks. You must know the yellow coupe was taken by the Feds in a drug raid and kept in a shipping container for a while. It is now owned by Roger Judski of Rogers Corvettes in Maitland Florida. The engines were built by “The #1 Team” at the Chevy Tonawanda, NY (Buffalo) engine plant.

      Like 6
  4. Mnguy

    LOL. Way out of my league but did own a ’59 270hp 4 spd. A year out of H.S. How much fun can a 19 yr old have with something like that? Pair of Butyl tires on the rear and dragstrip fun too!

    Like 7
  5. Timothy

    I’d like a 1970 350/350 horse 4 speed green convertible. Nothing fancy so I could just drive her….

    Like 8
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Too late, I sold my version of that same car 5 years ago.
      That is, if you would have been able to “settle” for a 350/300 and a luggage rack.

      Like 1
    • Ed Casala

      I built a 68 clone of this car with a 454 in it with 3.73 rear end. Nothing like a big cammed big block for that idle and the sound when you drop the loud pedal is like none other. It passes everything but a gas station. Love that C3 body style.

      Like 3
  6. Jcs

    Sorry, I can’t even afford to comment on this one.

    Like 32
  7. Ed Casala

    I would by that car in a minute if it had a fan shroud. Its gonna over heat in a minute! I am also about 777,000 short of the bid right now. Other than that, I would be all over it.

    Like 7
  8. Michael Anderson

    My one and only, owned and restored in the early 70’s- had spent most of its short life in farm barns. A C1 1962 but strange factory specs 327/340hp, 4 speed, 3.08 rear, heater, no radio, h d springs, but no big wheels or brakes, built to cruise all day- 60mph turned 1750 rpm. As hard as we tried could not find history on the car. The car was classic white over red and included a hard top. It’s what started my Corvette interest. One person implyed , no proof, was owned by Dave Thomas of Wendy’s.

    Like 6
  9. JBD

    I get the history, but it is still a worn race cars with old rubber. Maybe more of a museum piece than sit in a car collection.

    Like 1
  10. Gus Fring

    I’d put some Cragars on it, some fat, vintage bias-plys, and drive the s#i+ out of it.

    Like 1
  11. Mike1955

    At 65, Just saw, in person, my first L88 Corvette, in a small restoration shop being detailed. Original engine, dark green body. Now to count the change jar…..

    Like 3
  12. PATRICK LABARGE

    I have a 1969 Corvette (427, 400HP, Auto) that was originally LeMans Blue and has a few racing mods. I was told it was one of 3 ordered by a racer in North Carolina in 1969. I wish there was a way to find out who bought it new.

    Like 1
  13. Lynn Dockey Member

    Did u guys ever hear the expression: Im so poor I can’t pay attention? I d drive it til the repo man came and took it

    Like 2
    • Ike Onick

      Yeah, and the house I grew up in was so small we had to go outside to change our minds.

      Like 3
  14. JoeNYWF64

    Why no chrome valve covers on Chevy’s flagship motor?
    I don’t see why an all aluminum big block translates to higher hp, tho weight is certainly reduced quite a bit.
    If this motor has the hp that is claimed, i would not want to put the hammer down, unless it has a solid axle & 2 rather than 6 new HD universal joints!
    Is there indeed a solid axle on this car?
    Why bother to have a heater?
    I would be so tempted to remove the dash panel in front of the passenger to find out why in the world Chevy left out a glove compartment on its most expensive car.

    • Frank Sumatra

      Do racing cars have glove compartments? The drivers have to wear their gloves. They don’t need maps and they usually don’t have passengers.

      Like 3
    • Charles Sawka

      What ?

  15. Troy s

    Nice looking ‘Vette for sure but it’s the engine that makes it what it is. I dont care who drove it in the past really, the digits L88 are instantly recognized by anyone into cars that motivate in brutal unforgiving fashion. Mopar guys know it.
    Ford fanatics know it.
    At 12.5 to 1 the fuel had to be top notch even back then, triple digits or nothing. And that choppity-chop idle….massive carb sucking air through that hood scoop. It’s something else.
    On the track its business as usual,
    With license plates….you’ve got to be kidding me!

    Like 2
  16. DST65

    My uncle had a ‘67 Marina blue/black interior roadster w/the 427 big block, factory sidepipes-I have a picture of me sitting in in that car when I was about 12 years old. That was it for me, That started my life long obsession with the Corvette. I’ve had 6, my latest is a C-7, can’t really ever see myself being without one

    Like 2
  17. CharlesSawka

    If this doesn’t stir something in your soul, you’re not a “car guy”.

    Like 2
  18. Brad

    I loved test driving vetted used in the 70s. If your parent was with they would just throw you the keys.. You had to have a cool mom or dad though.

  19. John

    I had the misfortune of watching one of these practice at Daytona back in the last century. It was fast. It was also loud. I still can’t hear properly. I loved the car back then. True love never dies. I still love it.

    Like 1

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