Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Massive Undertaking: 1974 Corvette


Finding a Corvette parked in an old barn is a massive rush. The Corvette is an American icon and has been dishing up sports car performance since the 1950’s. This 1974 Vette was parked in a barn after having only seen 12,000 miles. In the short period of time it was driven, it was abused and is in rough shape. This is going to be a massive undertaking, but with a BIN of $8,000 and bidding still under $2,000, it could be used as a parts or possibly a project car. Take a look at the eBay listing here.


This car came with the base model 350 V8, which was swapped out after the owner’s sister-in law put a hole in the oil pan and drove it till the engine seized up. They installed the current 350 crate motor about 20 years ago. The seller doesn’t state what condition the motor is in, but it looks rusty to me. Hopefully it runs, but I wouldn’t count on it.


Overall, the interior looks complete, but I’m not sure what’s going on with the wires hanging down from the dash. Anyone have any ideas what those could be for? I’m guessing it’s just an interior light, but I could be wrong. It seems like most of the C3 Corvettes came with an automatic gearbox, but this one is the exception.


The fiberglass body has seen better days and it appears that the car was either rear ended or someone backed it into something. It’s hard to tell what condition the rest of the body is with all the dust on it. If you think the body looks bad than you probably don’t want to look at the underside, which is very rusty. Do you think it’s worth taking on this massive project or is this one better off being used as a parts car?


  1. Augustus Gloop

    I’m not one to fetishize the Corvette, but somebody really ought to be ashamed of the abuse this car endured. In original form it would have been a handsome and fun ride, but this thing has been flogged like a rented Huskie.

    Like 0
    • Horse Radish

      Dealer, flipper, Used Car salesman.
      This seller has 22 other listings, mostly as ads and not auctions…..

      This car has been used up and only the wording of the listing or it’s incorrect interpretation make it so outrageous.

      212 000 miles is almost believable, 112000 at least with bad maintenance….

      Like 0
      • Double Horse Radish!

        Agreed! NO WAY it has 12k, it has a Target 350 which is a rebuilt GM engine. If it has 12k and blew a motor they would not have put an aftermarket Target engine in the car.

        Like 0
    • Big Grouch

      The Target Master engine is not a rebuild, it was a complete new engine. Just as good as any other GM engine of the era, although the block was “Hecho en Mexico”

      Like 0
  2. twwokc

    The only interesting thing about a 74 is that it’s the first year for rubber bumpers front and rear.
    $2,000 may be too much for this one.

    Like 0
  3. Ronnie T.

    If it does run, it must have ignition issues. It has what looks like a Vertex magneto in place of the distributor.

    Like 0
    • Roarrr

      The VERTEX may mean it is a much hotter engine than it seems so was wound higher

      Like 0
  4. SoCal Car Guy

    Take another look at the photos — that’s a four-speed manual, not an automatic. In 1974 Corvettes had urethane bumper covers on both end, the entire rear of the body was one big and bulbous rounded lump of (when new) flexible plastic. When the vintage urethane ages and dries out it gets brittle, cracks and starts breaking apart, which is exactly what’s happened to the old bumper caps on both ends of this car. It does not appear to have ever been hit and the fiberglass parts of the body appear to be in good shape. The visible rust on some parts of the frame rails is more troubling, although most of the rust underneath appears to be strictly on the surface. No matter what, this thing is a fairly substantial project that needs a lot of dollars invested in parts, a lot of hours of labor invested, and even someone capable of doing most of the work himself will probably end up upside down for years, and rubber-bumper C3s still haven’t really caught on.

    Like 0
    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      Good catch! It looked like the automatic shifter to me, but on closer inspection I see now that it is the manual!

      Like 0
  5. paul

    Some people are just hard on everything they own & those people you don’t want to buy a car from, how anyone can trash this car with so few miles is amazing, yet it happens.

    As for the bumpers they are not fiberglass they are a composit rubber that is easily removed, discarded & replaced, these bumpers deteriorate from time, heat, & the lack of washing & waxing similar to the tops of dashboards.

    Like 0
  6. Sal

    This looks like a 112,000 mile car not 12,000

    Like 0
    • Tom Cotrel

      Looks more like 212,000. $2000 sounds about right for a complete, if really needy, car. At least it’s pre-1976 so it can be desmogged in California. Fix the underside and whatever else is wrong with in, put in a 4-speed automatic, 2.73 rear axle and hit the highway.

      Like 0
  7. Lee Fogel

    Not worth 8K at all…base 350 (NOM), auto and not a rare color combo even. It does look to have a nice overall interior and if the miles are for real then it’s pretty solid most likely. All of the cosmetic damage seems limited to the nose and tail covers and that’s not as big a deal to fix as cracks/damage in the body. If it runs and is solid underneath I’d give 3-4K and expect another 3-4K to get it straightened out (new covers, paint, tires). It is a real shame that this car was so uncared for and just neglected.

    Like 0
  8. Lee Fogel

    Oops, IS a manual…well, I’d still leave my offer as it is. But that is nice to see.

    Like 0
  9. Russ Dunne

    I would tackle it , I have started off with less and worse, nothing a little hard work and desire to finish the project couldn’t fix. In a nut shell I would take on this project in a heartbeat

    Like 0
  10. J. Pickett

    2k seems fair. Who knows what else was damaged. 74 4 spds were rare but avail. Someone messed with this one a lot.

    Like 0
  11. MM

    Hmmm…odd. The rear rubber/plastic bumper section has the “Corvette” logo (wide spaced letters) from a 75 ‘Vette. $2500 is a good deal. $8k is a pipe dream…

    Like 0
  12. Clay Bryant

    For only 12k miles,he really road the armrest alot.Say,20 miles per average drive,that’s only 500 hundred times in and out of the car.Maybe had a “bulldog collar”wrist band.

    Like 0
  13. scottski

    Discovering this car is worth it just for the backstory.
    12K miles… blown motor… backyard custom paint… cracked rear end….
    There’s been some Smokey & The Bandit stuff going on, here.

    Like 0
  14. Barzini

    The eBay ad says “Don’t call us with your silly Corvette questions…” I understand selling a car is like having the circus come to town and you get peppered with questions. But you might want to rethink your profession choice if you are this transparent about your contempt for buyers.

    Like 0
    • paul

      What an a$$, well I won’t be calling him not to worry.

      Like 0
  15. Jim Mosley

    Will someone tell me how the engine and compartment can be in this condition with only 12,000 grand on it? I agree with Sal, more like 12,000 or more.

    Like 0
  16. Jack T

    To bad about the condition however there where so few 74 model that came through witht the manual tranny,I say restore it,be nice to make it look original but give it a sleeper motor and tranny it’s still a beautiful 1974 corvette no sence in killing it give it another chance.

    Like 0
  17. Ralph spears

    112,000 miles. look at the worn drivers seat and worn drivers door panel.

    Like 0
  18. erikj

    I agree with everyone the horible life this vette has been delt!! 12k than needs a new motor, and whats with the magneto, that plain 350 dosent need that.And then it got that fancy upriver(back woods term in wester wash) Paint job.But it does have a stick,Orig.???.This makes me feel a lot better about my 68 that sat for 20 some years. This one 3 to 4 at the most,but not from me.

    Like 0
  19. Lionhound

    Yes, idiots buy Vettes and then trash them. They loan them to all their buddies and then they park the remains in old chicken coops, which have enough nitrates on the floor to rust an uncoated Titanic to a mound of powder. A ’74 is an unloved year with a strangled motor. Perhaps the crate lump would wake it up but you wouldn’t have a firebreather. If it still ran, these guys would still be backing down stop signs with it.

    Like 0
  20. Kman

    IF that frame is OK, Maybe you figure on another crate engine, (if they trashed the first one, what are the odds on the second?), If all that works out you’re looking at some cosmetic work and clean up. Could then be a good driver, Otherwise, it’s probably a frame off job. Hmmm, maybe better assume that brakes and such were not cared for either and just check off everything but you never know.

    Like 0
  21. Kman

    Actually, I have to say I didn’t mind the sellers attitude one bit. Given the condition of the car, what it’s selling for and all the unknowns, I think his candor and humour were refreshing: as in the 1/4″ of dust being included and we’d just get dirty.

    Like 0
  22. T. Pat

    Stay away !! this is a bottomless money pit with no chance of ever getting a dime back !!

    Like 0
  23. Pete Stout

    You can tell it is a ’74, the bumper has a seam going down the center where they bolted the halves together. I have had a couple come in that the license plate section fell out while driving. You do not see a silver interior very often though, the 2 years I worked in a ‘Vette Resto shop I only saw the silver interiors in the late 70’s, mostly the ’78 Pace Car.

    They do sell fiberglass front and rear bumpers, and they work out nicely……after several hours of shaping and drilling all the holes you need. I have some nice pictures of a ’74 convertible that I helped restore with fiberglass bumpers, I will have to upload them.

    On these cars you have to worry about cracks in the body, You would have to sodium blast the body to reveal any body work and cracks. These cars also rot real bad on the frame rails where the factory put cushioning between the body and frame. The windshield frame is also a place where they rot out.

    The wires I see hanging down looks like the light for the passenger floorboard. Without more pics of the underside I cannot give a full analysis.

    The only thing I can really say is you do not know the extent of damage you have until you get into it. The ‘Vettes are always a risk in my opinion, but people love them and are willing to drop big money into the restoration.

    Like 0
  24. rancho bella

    These will not get out of their way. A horrible vehicle at best and the looks are questionable.
    The I(con) is more to the point. There is several decades where Corvettes should have stopped production to save face of the name.

    Like 0
  25. braktrcr

    Bet there are some embarassing stories behind this car. Probably more than blaming on the sister that put a hole in the oil pan. 74 was the last year without Catalytic converters, and the 4 speed is nice, but I agree with most. This is a 4k or less car.

    Like 0
  26. Steve S

    Put it back in the barn. Or under the barn. Definite money pit.

    Like 0
  27. stanleystalvey

    We’ve all heard the stories about the guy who bought a Corvette, wrecked it and there was nothing left but the steering wheel. My answer is always the same, “these cars were not designed for the demolition derby.” There’s an old carnival saying: “You pays you nickel, you takes you chances.!”

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.