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No Reserve Donation: 1972 Chevrolet Corvette 454

The world of car donations is one that continues to leave me somewhat confused. I understand donating some random old grandma-mobile that may be pristine but has little value outside of a 1980s GM collector, but a muscle car capable of bringing real money? I’ll never understand that. This 1972 Chevrolet Corvette is a desirable 454-equipped W-Code car that has seemingly ended up on one of the more predominant donated car lots as a non-runner due to a simple fuel pump issue and dead battery. You have to wonder if the heirs to this estate didn’t have the foresight to start with the basics to get this car running before practically giving it away. Find it here on eBay where bidding has reached $17,500 with no reserve.

This is a beautiful car, at least in pictures – great colors, slim chrome bumpers, and seemingly all of the original details still in place, right down to the aerial. This isn’t a crummy, half-finished project that was strewn across Grandpa’s garage; no, this was someone’s pride and joy that may have ended up sitting for a spell and leading to the failure of the fuel pump. Can you imagine an heir to the estate walking in, trying to bump the key once, and then giving up? It’s a sad commentary on the future of automotive enthusiasts, but I could absolutely see a suburbanite having zero curiosity as to whether this forgotten Corvette might fire right up with a few hours of investigative work.

The interior certainly isn’t perfect but it’s absolutely wonderful for a driver. The carpets are clean and the seats aren’t torn up; the same goes for the door panels. The dash pad looks quite nice as well. The seller notes that this Corvette is equipped with power windows and obviously an automatic transmission. The center stack appears largely original, save for a crummy aftermarket tape deck. The cabin definitely has some rough edges and the odometer has rolled over, so we don’t know the true mileage. Fortunately, a clean California title is included with the sale. No word on whether it came with air conditioning or if it’s still working.

The engine bay isn’t original, as the air cleaner is missing and the valve covers aren’t stock. Overall, it could be worse, as man Corvettes that aren’t treated to a frame-off restoration have a range of upgrades and modifications under the hood, usually with an assortment of MSD ignition parts. While this Vette isn’t stock either, all of it looks pretty straightforward to swap out if you want it to look like showroom new once again. The no reserve auction means this clean Corvette project will likely sell for a fair price, and hopefully the previous owners catch the end results and realize they should have tried a little harder to re-home this W-Code coupe.


  1. Ike Onick

    I absolutely get why some folks go the donation route. If you have no interest in the car, why not? Maybe the person doesn’t want to be bothered with a bunch of strangers coming by to waste their time.

    Like 11
    • Ike Onick

      I didn’t bother looking at the images until just now. The current bids are crazy. It will take another $20K to get this barge in shape. Run away!

      Like 1
    • Steve

      It was dads / husbands old car. Have no idea what it is worth, if anything. To the average Joe, its an old POS / problem in the garage. Happens all the time when an estate has to be settled / cleared out.

  2. Neil

    Pretty sure an A/C compressor is sitting right there is plain view… so, yes, it has A/C. Highly doubtful that it still works though.

    Like 6
    • Jwzg

      Appears to have no compressor belt.

      Like 1
  3. Steve Clinton

    The last time this Corvette was registered was in 2005. (reads the tag on the license plate)

    • Dave K

      Also previous buyer said there is no title and a lien on the car

      Like 1
  4. Dave K

    If you read the comments –

    A previous buyer found there is NO title AND a lien on the car – just saying

    Like 2
  5. Bick Banter

    No one donated this. That is horse hockey. I suspect they bought it and trying to hook in a number of bidders based on the bargain/giveaway factor. Then emotion will take over and thar she blows!

    When I was a tyke, people used to have healthy cynicism about things. That doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Bah.

    Like 3
  6. jim

    It may have a big block engine. But did I miss if it says it is a numbers correct engine? Do they prove its actually a 454 other than the valve covers ?

  7. ruxvette

    Can someone please enlighten me as to what a W code 454 could be?
    The reason there is no air cleaner is because the hood wouldn’t shut with one on it. It appears to be a repaint and a poor one at that. If you could buy it and leave it alone it makes sense. If you want to make it nicer it will take a big wallet.

    Like 1
    • CJinSD

      A W in the engine position of a 1972 Corvette VIN indicates an LS5 engine. 270 net horsepower at 4,000 RPM. The power sounds pretty good, but the low power peak engine speed probably means that it was suited to an automatic. The 1972 LT1, which produced 255 horsepower at 5,600 RPM, was probably the one to get for driving enthusiasts that year.

      Like 1
  8. Ed Casala

    Interesting car. A couple of things. Horrible paint job on it now, but the body looks good. Doors, hood, and light doors need some alignment. What is that lock switch type thing above the rear license plate? Anti theft? No way that car has 18K miles on it, more like 118K. Air cleaner missing as others pointed out, but it is a big block hood on it, so it might be original motor. Those valve covers have to go. Fix the AC. Only thing I don’t like about this car is its an Automatic transmission car. As it has been sitting in southern California for the past 16 years at a minimum, it probably does not have rust issues.
    So if you buy it from a donation place, who gets the tax right off?
    Wish I would of found this when I was looking for my Vette.

    Like 1
  9. John

    Donations requested? Probably best made in cash using small, unmarked bills or bitcoin? This one doesn’t feel right. Probably just me.

    Contributing to my feelings: 1972, 16,280 miles? Weird paint covering all of the normally unpainted screws? One picture of 8 inches of the dash with a rug covering the rest? No Carfax? Underlying paint showing through on the side vents, rear panel and hood surround shows at least one re-spray? Leather Seats with cloth inserts? “High-Power” carefully installed custom sound system with auto-reverse? Strange little gauge under the right driver’s side dash?

    Who knows?

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      You can’t get a Carfax on any car older than 1981, so that is a non-factor in this case.

      The rest of the points you make are very valid.

      Like 1
  10. gaspumpchas

    Suspect scam bidder had the winning bid. No title and a lien? Could be trouble and lots of it, says its sold for $18,300. Guy might have tried to register and hit the wall at DMV, might be why he donated, if he did. oy Vey…. Good luck and happy motoring!

    Like 1

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