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Grandma’s 454: 1971 Chevrolet Corvette

It turns out the little old lady isn’t always from Pasadena – sometimes she hails from Des Moines. That’s where this low-mileage 454 equipped 1971 Corvette LS5 resides and it even comes complete with documentation affirming its one-owner status. Find it here on eBay with just over a day of bidding remaining and the reserve not met at $31,100.

According to the seller, the 80-year-old first owner bought the car new back in 1971 and drove it sparingly, only accumulating 24,777 miles since leaving the lot. Although not equipped with the desirable four-speed, this LS5 is still chock-full of options: A/C, power brakes, tilt wheel, power steering, AM-FM radio, standard 3.08 Posi-Traction rear end and a saddle leather deluxe interior with War Bonnet Yellow paint. The exterior is in excellent condition, with only a few blemishes attributed to the original truck driver scraping the rear fender during unloading. Other than a plug attributed to where the woman’s son installed a CB antenna, the body is said to be straight and “virtually” rust free.

Sadly, 1971 represented the year that the Corvette began receiving detuned engines to meet stricter emissions requirements. Uncle Sam mandated lower compression ratios so Chevrolet’s motors would run on 91 octane, resulting in a loss of power over the previous year’s lineup. However, even with this setback, the 454 still turned out 365 b.h.p. and 465 ft. lbs. of torque, formidable numbers in the waning days of the muscle car power wars. While we don’t know the original owner, we can vouch that she has good choice in automobiles, and its storage in a heated garage indicates her priorities were in place even after opting for the LS5.

Mechanically, this ‘71 is in top-nick, with recent work including a front brake rebuild and new radiator, bypass, transmission, and fuel line hoses. The seller also installed a new headlight switch and notes that the carb secondaries were recently adjusted. Aside from the clock and radio, all electrics work and the seller includes extensive documentation, such as the Protect-O-Plate, window sticker and original bill of sale. In addition, the new owner will receive the car’s Bloomington Gold Survivor scoring sheets.

21,000 Corvettes were produced in 1971, and one equipped with the LS5 and rare War Bonnet Yellow paint is a decent find. Add in one-owner history with less than 25,000 miles on the odometer, and you have a car that’s hard to duplicate. The impressive condition of the interior, exterior paint, and matching-numbers powertrain should command a fair price, and as the seller notes, this example does have NCRS Top Flight potential for its documented survivor status. We hope the next owner treats it as well as the first, and that its originality remains intact.


  1. david

    I love the luggage rack. I actually used mine on my ’76 because it go so hot in the storage area behind the driver…..

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  2. Anonymous

    My favorite body style.

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  3. J. Pickett

    Despite their obvious utility on this car I generally hate luggage racks. That Aside this car makes me drool, such an early seventies color combo, right options. Lt1 may be more desirable to some. but for cruising that ls5 is more effortless. I wish I had the money, Maybe with a change of administrations.

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  4. Mark W

    Generally not a fan of this era vettes, but this one pushes several buttons for me. I like it quite a bit.

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  5. Dan

    I agree with Mark, Vettes don’t interest me much but this one is a great find!

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  6. Bill

    the only thing that keeps that car out of my garage is, and you guessed it $$$$$. What a beautiful Corvette.

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  7. Jeff

    I’m in Madison, WI. This might be worth a roadtrip now thats its 56 out, 70’s tomm. Like Bill though its $$$$$.

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  8. Frank

    When these cars show up it’s very difficult to keep my hands away from my checkbook
    Really like this one..

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  9. Chris

    “The body is straight and virtually rust free”. Boy I hope so.

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  10. Chris

    Fantastic looking car though.

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  11. Stephen

    Beautiful car, but the luggage rack ruins it.

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  12. Frank

    I agree with Chris. If you find a rusty body on a Corvette, its probably not a Corvette, they are fiberglass bodies!

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  13. John

    Wow, looks exactly like the one our family doctor drove growing up in PA but his was a 4-speed and wreaked of cigarette smoke as did his office. Ah, the good old days. : )

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  14. dennis

    Just like my project I’m currently working on. Wish mine was a LS5 or 6 though..

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