Fresh ZZ4 Engine: 1973 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

This 1973 Corvette Convertible hasn’t seen a road for more than 25-years, and it also isn’t a numbers-matching vehicle. Normally, this wouldn’t be good news, but in this case, it isn’t all bad. What we have here is a solid vehicle that should possess enough performance to keep most owners happy, but it is also a classic where they will have the opportunity to place their own stamp on the finished product. Located in Scottsville, New York, you will find the Corvette listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has worked its way to $6,200 in a No Reserve auction, and with 188 people currently watching the listing, it is a car that would seem to have generated a fair degree of interest.

If you are searching for a completely original survivor, then this is a car that isn’t for you. It started life finished in Silver, but has been treated to a color change at some point in its life. The result isn’t that attractive, and the owner admits that the paint is peeling in a few places. It looks like a repaint will be on the cards, so it will leave the next owner with the choice of returning the color to original, applying a fresh coat of the existing Red, or perhaps opting for something totally different. The good news is that apart from some very light areas of surface corrosion, the Corvette is said to be rust-free. Adding to the good news is the fact that the Corvette not only comes with the hardtop that you see here, but a soft-top is also included. The big and beefy turbine-style alloy wheels fitted to the car are wrapped in what are said to be some pretty old BF Goodrich tires, and while the tires will need to be replaced before the Corvette returns to active duty, I believe that the wheels could be made to look very nice with a bit of hard work and polish.

The interior of the Corvette is complete, but I do agree with the owner when he states that it is showing some wear. There is nothing horrendous, but if the next owner is seeking perfection, there will be some work required to achieve that. The addition of an aftermarket tachometer on the steering column would tend to indicate that the original tach doesn’t function. Beyond that, it all appears to be original. The dash and pad look quite good, but the seats will need new covers, the carpet is quite faded, there is noticeable wear on the wheel, and there is some damage to the console. There is no doubt that it could be used as it is, but bringing the interior back to a strong and presentable state would be neither difficult nor particularly expensive.

I said that this isn’t a numbers-matching car, but the news isn’t all bad. Around 10-years-ago, the previous owner gave the Corvette a heart transplant. What resides in the engine bay now is a ZZ4 Crate Engine that has essentially done no work. The previous owner who had this fitted suffered some health issues just as the engine was being installed, and he never actually had the chance to drive the Corvette after the work was completed. This 350ci V8 features 4-bolt mains and aluminum-alloy cylinder heads and should produce an easy 350hp. In addition, the Corvette retains its original M21 4-speed manual transmission, along with power steering and power brakes. Even though the car has been off the road for some considerable time, it has been returned to a point where it now runs and drives. New brake calipers have been fitted, and the only mechanical work that the owner suggests would be to give the carburetor a rebuild.

For the person who would love to own a C3 Corvette where the ownership experience is all about fun without a fixation on originality, then this 1973 Convertible looks like a pretty hot sort of option. It would appear that it will take very little work to return the car to a sound mechanical state. Its cosmetic and interior needs are not urgent, and the next owner will have a mountain of options when it comes to choosing exactly how they finish the car. With those factors in mind, I can see exactly why it is a car that has generated so much interest amongst potential owners.


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  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    As of today it’s at $6200!! This looks to be a decent car, but it’s not bringing any crazy bid-ups for what it’s all about. What am I missing?

    Like 6
    • redwagon

      poor paint job and a plastic nose?

      Like 3
      • 38ChevyCoupeGuy

        Like every 73,rubber front chromed metal out back. Have to see both ends to tell what year it may be when you encounter one on the road. 😁

  2. J_Paul Member

    Those 1982 “Collectors Edition” wheels are a good look for this car.

    Overall, I like it — it’s not perfect, but it looks like a solid foundation to make a really nice C3 without having to agonize about originality.

    Like 6
  3. C Carl

    Hot Rod Vette, looks great to me.

    Like 7
  4. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Decent price, convertible with removable hardtop, 4 speed, upgraded engine already in place, good start. Paint is a bummer as it’s expensive to get done but you could drive it while building up your paint budget. Have to see what it goes for

    Like 4
  5. JOHN Member

    I don’t mind the 73 and up nose, but the 74 and up rear bumper covers ruined the car’s appearance to me. Can’t remember but around 1980 or so they integrated a “spoiler” into the back bumper, in my opinion that made the car a much better looking Corvette. I see a cheap aftermarket tach, were these still running the mechanical tachs in 73?

    Like 1
    • ACZ

      They were mechanical through 1974. But if you look, this crate engine is running an HEI, which doesn’t have a tach drive. HEI distributors became standard in 1975 to go with catalytic converters to cut down on unburned hydrocarbons entering the converter.

      Like 3
    • A.J.

      Yep the original tach would have been a cable drive . The ZZ4 came with the standard HEI distributor, hence the cheap tach. I think somebody makes a add on box to run the tach drive but I don’t remember who.
      This thing might be a good buy it stays around that 6 G number.

      Like 2
  6. Frank Sumatra

    This is a properly priced driver and it is being presented as such. What’s not to like? And before anybody says it, I live 15 minutes from Scottsville and knowing the weather around here and all the open fields around I highly doubt this car ever saw any salty, snowy roads unless the pilot was wearing, goggles, a silk scarf, and had a bottle of saki wine in the car cause that would have been a one-way trip.

    Like 6
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      The ad says it is titled in North Carolina, so it’s probably a safe guess that it spent a good amount of time there and not in NY.

      The current $6300 bid makes this a good deal, but having owned one with a rotted birdcage, I would be peeling off the windshield trim and kick panels to have a look.

      Like 4
  7. Stevieg Member

    I think this is a great start on a car you can make your own. I’m not into Corvettes myself, but I can appreciate it for the work done. The price is even reasonable in my opinion.

    Like 3
  8. LarryS Member

    Corvettes had mechanical tachs until 1974. 1975 ignition was the HEI and that year was the first with an electronic tach.

    Like 2
    • JOHN Member

      I did see the HEI, I just didn’t know what year they changed over from the mechanical. I would go to a HEI with the tach drive for sure!

      Like 2
      • ACZ

        They can be found in the aftermarket but GM never made one. I’m not one to recommend aftermarket distributors unless they come from a known quality manufacturer with a guarantee. I’ve seen, too many times, where a questionable distributor can cause a gear failure at the rear of the camshaft and put a fair share of metal in the engine’s oiling system.

        Like 1
  9. George Mattar

    73 conv production low. l have a 73 silver coupe. It has code 415 medium saddle vinyl interior. Yes colors available with silver. I love my car. Turn key. Get in. Drive. 4 speed shifts perfectly. All new suspension and YJ8 wheels with blsckwalls out. And don’t cost $35,000 like rough riding 68 to 72 cars. 73s while down on power are far superior cars to actually drive than 68 to 72 models. But many Corvette folks hardly drive their cars. Stupid.

    Like 1

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