Late Corvette Summer: 1972 Custom Corvette

When I was a kid, I thought that Corvettes were, by far, the most awesome cars God had ever allowed to roam the highways.  I loved to read anything that I could about them, and sent away for catalogs from all of the aftermarket parts houses.  King of these companies was Eckler’s Corvette parts in Titusville, Florida.  Ralph Eckler would sell you add on body panels that went from mild to wild, and you would see Corvettes with these parts attached from time to time.  While the skill and financial abilities of the owner played a big part in the overall quality and look, a Corvette with a full Eckler’s body kit was impressive.  You could also order different parts and pieces to “redesign” the car your way.  Blasting straight out of the past, this Rocco B. located 1972 Corvette custom, for sale on craigslist in Indianapolis, Indiana, is an example of a mild period customization.  While the owner is looking for a trade, what value would you put on this one of a kind sports car?

This 1972 Corvette is a great reminder of the customizations that I saw back in the day.  While the rear end treatment looks to be a full custom, the hood, wheels, and side pipes definitely came from an aftermarket catalog.  I can’t say that I am a fan of the rear treatment, but it is a product of the times.  Of course, side pipes make a Corvette even more obnoxious, but they are cool.  V-8s sound best with low restriction mufflers or open pipes, and they make beautiful music at full throttle.   As the owner, you might find them to be tiresome if you drive the car much.

The interior does look to be stock, and appears to be in good condition.  I think the seats are leather, but it is hard to tell in the pictures.  We can see that the car is an automatic, and it has air conditioning, tilt steering, manual windows, and an aftermarket AM/FM radio.  Compared to a lot of unrestored Corvettes we have featured, this one is very nice inside.

Under the hood is a 350 cubic inch small block V-8 with an aftermarket Edelbrock intake manifold and a new dual point tach drive distributor.  I’d look at this closely if I were inspecting this Corvette.  There are a lot of Chinese junk parts floating around, and this one looks like one of the ones sold at swap meets by guys in old motorhomes with out of state plates.  The seller states that the whole distributor along with the points and condenser were replaced, so maybe it is just an off the shelf component that happens to be red  like an MSD electronic distributor.  The way things are going in the aftermarket parts world lately, they could be built in the same factory.  Otherwise, the seller has spent some time and money replacing the master cylinder, brake booster, radiator, spark plugs, hoses, and fuel pump.  Even the wiper motor was replaced.

Try as I might, I just can’t fall in love with the rear end.  The rest of the car has that mild custom look that appeals to me in a nostalgic way.  While I would have preferred that whoever customized this one had started on a plain Jane 1976 or 1977 instead of a 1972, they were really just used cars at the time.  This wasn’t a big block car, so it was probably looked at as we would a used C-4 today.  Whoever buys this Corvette hopefully restores it to its former glory as a custom car.  Cars like this are a link to a previous branch of car culture that has withered on the vine.  Perhaps it is the complexity of modern cars that has slowed the customization movement to a crawl, especially among Corvette owners.  While I didn’t like all of the customs out there, it was neat to see them then, and great to see one now.


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  1. Bill

    Too bad many of the original design queues, like the rear end, the tailights and the hood have been distorted. It’ll be a fortune to make it look good.

  2. Andre

    Kinda dig it. Even though it’s a chrome bumper C3 it’s a base/auto so …meh. It captures a period in time without a collectable icon being lost.

    Trying to place the tailights… 2nd gen Firebird?

  3. Vin in NJ

    Tail lights are off an early third gen Firebird. I’ve seen where they used first gen Firebird lights on Corvettes, and it looks great. But these third gen lights are too big.

  4. Rabbit

    Looks more like 83-ish (3rd Gen). Definitely a Mickey Mouse distributor. That’d get replaced with a mid-70s HEI straight away, no fuss, no muss. A bit tacky for my tastes, but hey, it was the 70’s, Man.

  5. TriPowerVette

    To the author:

    You, sir, are a man of obvious taste and discrimination.

    After 5 Corvettes myself, when referring to Corvette, I always say: “Corvette, Marque of superiority”. They are automotive miracles, that they could come from the heart of the monstrous bureaucracy that was / is GM.

    Had it not been for the superman: Zora Arcus Duntov, Corvette would have long ago passed to become a footnote in American automotive history.

    All brilliance needs a champion, in order to break free of the prevailing mediocrity.

    • Dick Johnson

      Zora Arcus Duntov? Zora Marcus? Zora ARKUS!! Father of the Ford ArDun flathead mod.

      As Zoro Arcus Molotov used to say…

      • TriPowerVette

        My apologies for the misspell. I am auditory, and struggle with spelling (Aaron, Tori or otherwise). The sentiment remains valid.

      • Dick Johnson

        That’s hillarious TPV. You should see Miss Spelling when I’m at my best. I always miss spell Kim Kardasheeun’s name.

        For a bit of non sequitor, we built a hydroplane we called Li’l Miss Calculation. Something to do with out math.

  6. Chebby

    Wow, they did a terrible job on the taillight panel. And all those chocolate Tootsie Pops at arm’s reach send a weird message…..

  7. Rabbit

    How much you wanna bet that box on the passenger floor is full of 8-track tapes?

  8. Will
  9. Tort Member

    The customizing of this Corvette dropped the value a great deal. During the time it was done it may have been the tastes of a few but fortunately not many.

  10. sluggo

    Very cool time capsule,, I dont like the tail lights but the rest is just cool, price does not seem bad either,. Sure, update a few things but seems like a good deal. Glad its too far away from me otherwise I would have been tempted.

  11. Dyver

    I hate when I see destroyed Corvette’s like this one.

  12. Retired Stig

    Personally, I take no offence to the idea of the typical period mods, just the poor quality. Not to my taste now, but I loved the side pipe headers, still do. It’s hot rodding, after all-you modify the car to your taste, it’s your car. Time and period dictate the style. I know this may upset a few purists, but it’s just a mass produced, American car, and not a very special one at that.

    • TriPowerVette

      +Retired Stig – There is nothing purist about me, so please accept this in the spirit it is intended: Go back to your pipe, leather-patched elbows on your sweater, your decaf latte, and your Peugeot restoration project.

      Here is a picture of my 1st Corvette. We towed it in on a hook, and you would have been hard-pressed to tell it was a Corvette. Every line, every color, every bolt was either touched by me, or directed by me to have others touch.

      It was my first of two 427 Tri-Power Corvette convertibles and was hardly stock. In the time I owned it, I buried both a Hemi Charger, and a Porsche 930 Turbo (among many others). Actually; I only just beat the Charger, but I ate the Porsche’s lunch for it and made him buy me a drink to wash it down with.

      Corvettes are beyond special. They are unique. They are equally at home on a drag strip, road course, or the street. They are unlike anything on the world stage, and in any given model year (with some exceptions, notably in the late 1970’s-mid 1980’s, or -the dark ages), were more than a match for other world-class sports cars of the vintage.

      • DonC

        Interesting… each his own. I thoroughly loved my 71 Corvette convertible. 350 with stick shift. But I sold it and now own a 2002 Porsche 911 cabriolet. I’ll take the 911 any day for street and track. But you know, I’m truly blessed to have had the opportunity to own both. it’s like arguing an “A” versus an “A+” !! Rock on!

      • john dump

        Ill take my Lotus Europa with cosworth engine weber side drafts and 5 speed

        911s are ladys cars

        Like 1
      • TriPowerVette

        +DonC – Gave you a grudging thumbs up… we will always disagree on which gets the A+.

        Of the 4 Porsches I’ve had, there were 3 914’s and 1 911 T (but not a Targa). My brother had a 911 S. All were early-mid 1970’s. 2 of my friends had 928’s. So I have some time in those as well.

        In my mind, the best of the lot was the 914 2-liter (4 cyl – not the 6). It was a ball to throw around, but never a threat to any Vette (except on the tightest of mountain road courses).

        Thank you for your comment.

      • TriPowerVette

        +john dump – LOVE Europas. Even the Renault-powered ones. I nearly bought a turbocharged ’68 (I think). Gave you a big thumbs up.

      • Metal Man

        I call them just another ‘plastic fantastic’, you don’t need an experienced old time panel beater to fix the bodies on these things, you take it to a boat builder who specializes in fiberglass and hope for the best, in the years to come there won’t be any left as history pieces, they’ll have all disintegrated into powder and blown away on the wind like everything made of plastic ! A guy I know is forever fixing the cracks in the body of his ’58, funny, metal doesn’t do that for some reason !

      • TriPowerVette

        +Metal Man – Respectfully; You take a Corvette to a Corvette shop. One time I did it the other way around… I took my boat for some hull repair to the Vette shop I used for my Corvette.

        However; Corvettes will ‘turn to dust and blow away” when the Morlocks are eating the Eloy. By that time, all your metal cars (and mine, for that matter) will have long ago rusted back into the countryside… to become grist for U.S. Steel to mine once again.

  13. craig m bryda

    @ Tri-power, they still are. Hard for any “EXOTICS ” To match them . I am slightly biased having started my love affair with Corvettes with new 1967 coupe , Lyndale Blue , Black interior, 327/300, 4 dps. Next was a 1971 Ontario Orange Convertible black top/interior , LT-1. A couple of ’59, 2 ’66s , yada yada yada. Love ’em still.

    Like 1
    • TriPowerVette

      Thank you, Craig. I drove a 1971 LT-1, Silver / Black, and honestly was so impressed, briefly considered buying it. Of all the Corvettes I’ve owned – it was by far the most responsive. The big blocks have to take a moment and gather themselves, before unleashing havoc… but the gas pedal in the LT-1 felt more like a speed rheostat, Press more, go faster. I can only imagine what a 1970 was like. Great car.

      I gave you a thumbs up.

  14. Madmatt

    We had a customer for years with a 72 454 4spd,it was a real pig at
    Low speed under 40, but started “breathing” at 60mph.
    Then it would fly…..!I am not a fan of these particular headlite covers,I have seen some better custom made ones though…with out screws.
    I like the tail end treatment,it is very period correct,at least style wise,
    Would be a fun project for a “Vette” guy or gal,would still turn heads
    With some modest upgrades.😎

    Like 1
  15. skidr55

    I have a Custom 1971 LS5 Vette with the 69 Firebird tailights. They look pretty cool, but I wish the original owner hadn’t messed with the car (it’s entirely stock aside from the bodywork and exhaust.) It’d be worth a pretty penny now.

    Like 1
  16. skidr55

    Here it is the Mako Shark replica nose.

    Like 1
  17. 86 Vette Convertible

    Friend of mine has a son who replaced the soft bumper cover with one of those customized fiberglass ones (kind of like what was done to the rear but molded in). First time someone bumped it in a parking lot he was picking up his car in a bucket.

    Sorry, I’d pass on that one just because of the mods done to it.

  18. Tim W

    TPV, Thanks for the comments, your’e right on IMHO. The Corvette is an American miracle. If you guys want an interesting read on the C-5 almost not happening, get a copy of “All Corvettes Are Red”….

    Like 1
    • TriPowerVette

      +Tim W – Thumbs up, sir. Got it, read it. You are correct.

      Like 1

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