Long Term Garage Dweller: 1968 Chevrolet Corvette

Usually, when a project car is discovered, both the project and its environs, are less than optimal. That’s not exactly the case here as this ’68 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, which is hardly in an operational condition but is in a fairly tidy garage, an environment where it appears that work was started, and then halted. Let’s see what’s here and what needs to be done to this first-year C3 Corvette. It’s located in Bakersfield, California and is available, here on craigslist for $12,000. Thanks to Matt R for this tip!

The seller of this ’68 Corvette states that it has been sitting in its current condition for 35 years – sounds like the restoration effort got seriously stalled for various and sundry reasons. The fiberglass, seams and what have you, are in reasonable shape though the passenger-side quarter panel is revealing some chips and minor cracking. There is a mish-mash of different items that have been removed, such as the rear bumpers/roll pan and parts of the headlight buckets. The finish, which appears to be LeMans Blue, looks like it has been lightly sanded but that may just be a trick of the light. This ‘Vette is wearing full ’70s regalia with its chrome side “boom” exhaust and Cragar S/S wheels. Good to see is the fact that this convertible has a removable hardtop – I prefer this roofline to that of a standard coupe.

The engine is claimed to be a 327 CI small-block with a standard transmission, the seller adds, “Currently it does not run; it’s in Bakersfield now. The engine was completely rebuilt but still needs some work to get it running“. The engine’s description, and its Quadrajet carburetor, tell me that it’s the 300 gross HP variety but the standard transmission comment has me considering. The standard transmission for a ’68 Corvette was a three-speed manual unit and Corvsport claims that only 326 such equipped models, out of a total production of 28,566 cars (1.1%), were built that way, that year. So perhaps it’s just the wording and the more typically found four-speed manual transmission is what’s in place. Finally, notice the eight holes in the passenger side valve cover? That’s an old trick for adjusting the hydraulic valve lifters. It’s done by sound, with the engine running, which I can tell you from experience, makes a mess – oil goes everywhere unless you do something to stem the spray. An old valve cover, modified as such, works perfectly!

The interior is where things really fall apart, it looks like a bomb went off in there. It has been completely dismantled and it’s a recipe of parts just dropped everywhere, other non-interior parts tossed in, and then a nice coating of years old garage dust mixed in. The seats look like they are missing and spying around the fairly tidy garage shows no sign of them. Take a look at the driver’s side footwell, is that a patched crack that I am seeing?

An honest assessment of this C3 ‘Vette tells me that there are possibilities here but we haven’t really examined the suspension/underside or know what’s up with the engine, But long-term storage in California is certainly a good omen for an auto project, wouldn’t you agree?

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Comments

  1. Classic Steel

    Looks like a good builder and chrome bumpers to boot 🥾

    The right rear wheel is bugging me on its out turn. I wonder if the right axle assembly is disconnected ?

    To far away but a good Cali project and color for sure!

    Like 6
  2. Dan H

    Based on it being in Cali and the cracks in the floor I’d say, its an earthquake survivor!

  3. Ike Onick

    A familiar sight. Start with a $12,000 Corvette to put another $20,000 and five years to make it into something useful. There are more nice $32,000 Corvettes available today than you can shake a stick at.

    Like 9
    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      I was going to say the same thing. Looks like a great place to dump a lot of money and get not much joy in return.

      Like 4
      • Ike Onick

        @wuz- My comments are strictly age-related. I don’t have the time, skills, or energy to get involved in a project of this magnitude. A lot of money will be spent one way or another on this car. Might as well get the “turn-key” car that can be enjoyed. And I am sure there are a lot of folks who would enjoy bringing that Corvette back to life. I know I’m not one of them!

        Like 3
    • Emmet

      Not the chrome bumper ones. This one is actually well priced for what it is. Looks mostly complete and there are plenty of places to get parts for it. Gonna take some work, but you could get this running and driving for less than 10K, do a 5K paint job on it and for less than 30K all in.

      • Ike Onick

        Would you mind itemizing what would be included in the “less than 10K” to get it “running and driving”? Thanks. Hers is my list from the little bit we can see:
        1) Body off the frame
        2) Repair, sandblast and paint frame if luck is on your side and the kick-ups are not rotted. if you are not lucky, replace frame.
        3) All new brake lines and gas lines
        4) Four (4) new brake calipers, pads, rotors, master cylinder
        5) Rebuild/replace rear trailing arms
        6) Rebuild rear end and replace all rear end suspension bushings and hardware
        7) Rebuild front suspension.
        8) Replace Four (4) shocks
        9) Re-chrome bumpers
        10) Strip paint and repair body panels
        11) Paint car
        12) Replace interior seats, carpet, console, etc
        13) Replace weather stripping.
        14) Replace tires and wheels
        15) Repair/replace the 100 things I forgot to mention.

        Like 1
      • Ike Onick

        16) Rebuild engine.

    • Rocco Russo

      I did this with my first Vette, spent more time fixing stuff than driving it. Pass, they are a hell of a lot more fun to drive.

      Like 1
  4. John Phillips

    The reverse lock-out on the shifter suggests a four-speed.

    Like 1
  5. James Bishop

    Poor condition = Low amount to expect for the car ,6k – 8k tops . Lot of problems , work and cash to get it right , not a easy task by any means . I would find a nicer finished car for the 30k -35k you would put in this car .

    Like 3
    • douglas hunt

      yea, a lot of work, but if one “could” get it for that 6k it would be a labor of love to get it up and running…..double that amount and suddenly going out to the garage is more of a chore, and that’s when they turn into this.

      Like 2
  6. scottymac

    Blew the engine and the differential? Those don’t look like Cragars to me, I want to say Rockets. What say you?

  7. DuesenbergDino

    Not everyone has 10s of thousands of dollars just sitting in their bank account to spend on turn key cars. Everyone talks of overpriced classics ruining the hobby. Yet when project cars come up the majority of comments are all negative and suggest money pit. The realty is this is how we learn to work on cars and take pride in the results. Yeah sometimes ya get in over your head but sometimes it all works out. Not saying this particular car is good or bad value, but sometimes financially you grab what is within your budget and pay as you go. Been the norm since the automobile was created.

    Like 2

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