No Reserve: 1973 Chevrolet Corvette

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The 1973 model year marked one of transition for the C3 Corvette. The car received a raft of mechanical changes that transformed the Corvette into a softer and more civilized vehicle. However, most people noticed the visual changes to the exterior, and some didn’t like what they saw. This 1973 Corvette has spent many years in hiding, but it has recently returned to the light of day. It needs some TLC to present at its best, but the owner has coaxed its V8 back into life. He has decided that the car needs a new owner willing to rise to the challenge, so he has listed the ‘Vette for sale here on eBay. It is located in Lutz, Florida, and bidding sits at $6,600 in a No Reserve auction.

The most obvious visual change to the Corvette for 1973 was the loss of the chrome front bumper. The C3 retained its original rear for a further year, but some purists believe that the change to the vehicle’s front adversely affected its overall appearance. That is a matter of personal taste, but there’s no denying that the update also added some extra weight to the vehicle’s front. This car is missing the urethane cover, so the buyer will need to find $460 for a new front cover as part of the restoration process. A previous owner has performed a repaint in the car’s original shade of Classic White, but this shows some deterioration. A further repaint will be on the cards, but there might be some stripping and remedial work required because the quality of the last repaint isn’t great. The fiberglass shows no evidence of significant problems, while the glass looks pretty respectable. At first glance, the same would appear to be true of the trim. A closer inspection reveals rust beginning to develop on the underside of the rear bumpers, and this has reached the point where restoration or replacement will be essential if the car is to present at its best.

The owner supplies a wide selection of clear photos in his listing, but this one stopped me in my tracks. There’s some very obvious rust developing in the birdcage, and we have to wonder whether what we can see is the tip of a rather nasty iceberg. The underside shots reveal rust forming in the radiator support and a heavy coating of surface corrosion on the frame. This area should be inspected thoroughly because there could be some dramas if rust has penetrated the frame. I always recommend an in-person inspection on any classic before potential buyers consider handing over their hard-earned cash. In this case, I believe that is imperative.

It has been many years since this Corvette has seen active duty, but the seller has coaxed its numbers-matching 350ci V8 back into life. It sounds okay and doesn’t blow any smoke, but it would benefit from a tune-up and a thorough check to ensure that all is well. The VIN indicates that the Corvette is fitted with the entry-level 350, so the driver will have 190hp available under their right foot. That means that the journey down the ¼ mile will take a reasonably leisurely (by Corvette standards) 16.1 seconds. Bolted to the V8 is a 3-speed Hydramatic transmission, while the car is also equipped with power brakes. After years of inactivity, there’s no doubt that some work will be required before the Corvette could be deemed roadworthy. With so much evidence of long-term exposure to moisture evident in the body, you would expect that some of the rubber items like belts and hoses will have begun to perish. The list could be a long one, but a competent enthusiast might be able to tackle much of the work themselves to save a few dollars.

If this Corvette has a highlight, the interior condition could be it. The car still sports its original Red vinyl upholstery, and apart from some deterioration on the door trims, it doesn’t look to be in bad condition. The carpet exhibits some fading, but there isn’t enough wear to make replacement essential. The dash and pad are respectable, while the plastic shows a lack of apparent deterioration. A previous owner has installed a radio/cassette player, but there are no other obvious additions. The original owner liked their touches of comfort, so this Corvette scores air conditioning and power rwindows.

I could be barking at shadows with this 1973 Corvette, but I have seen enough with this car to make an in-person inspection seem a necessity. The potential rust issues that I’ve identified are a concern, and the low-quality repaint is another worry. However, it doesn’t appear that these questions have dissuaded potential buyers because, while the price remains low, it has taken twenty bids to reach this point. Whether this car represents a financially viable restoration project will depend on two factors. The first of these will be how extensive the rust is, which will determine what it could potentially cost to rectify. The second factor to consider is where the bidding is likely to go. A 1973 Corvette with the base 350, an automatic transmission, and air conditioning could fetch as much as $34,000 if the owner completes the restoration work to a high standard. The seller points out that values are increasing, and he is right…up to a point. They are creeping up, but these increases have been among the slowest in the C3 Corvette range. With those thoughts in mind, is this a project that you might consider tackling? Or should this one be placed in the “too hard” basket?

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  1. 370zpp 370zppMember

    Oh mama, she’s got dem bad to the bone birdcage blues….

    Like 2
  2. Terrry

    These looked pretty nice, especially since they still had the original rear. This car looks ok except like the author says, rust could be a concern…and it appears to have quite a bit.

    Like 2
  3. Frank Sumatra

    On what planet would a base engine, automatic 1973 Corvette fetch $34,000 ??? Nonsense. I had to read that portion of the write-up three times to make sure it said $34K

    Like 5
  4. PRA4SNW

    A non-running, ’73 that needs paint, 30 year old tires, 2 gallons of Armor slathered on like lipstick on a pig, and a rusty birdcage/frame.

    Looks like it has had zero dollars invested in it in at least 20 years.
    What’s not to love?

    Like 2
  5. dbigb1Member

    I love a no reserve /starting bid /place your number hear/ price. If you have a number in mind /is that not a reserve ???

    Like 0

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