Live Auctions

One Family Owned: 1976 Chevrolet Corvette

A few important points are worth considering when hunting for a classic car to park in your garage. The first revolves around the subject of rust and whether that vehicle has spent its life in a climate favorable to steel preservation. The second is originality. Has the car been modified, or is it as its creators intended? Finally, does the classic have a long-term ownership history, or has it moved from owner to owner with the risk that one (or more) have thrashed it mercilessly? The news seems nothing but positive with this 1976 Corvette because it provides the correct answers to those questions. It isn’t perfect but is an excellent driver-quality classic. After spending its entire life as part of the same family, it needs a new home. Therefore, the owner has listed it here on Craigslist in Riverside, California. It could be yours by handing the owner $12,500. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L. for referring this Corvette to us.

As with most model years during C3 production, Chevrolet offered potential buyers in 1976 a choice of ten paint shades for their new purchase. The most popular in 1976, by a long way, was Classic White. From a sales total of 46,558 cars, an incredible 10,674 buyers selected that shade. That represents a take-up rate of 23%. This car retains its original paint that looks good for its age. There is some color inconsistency between the panels and bumper covers, but this is common. The fiberglass shows no evidence of deterioration, and the glass is excellent. The seller supplies no information on the health of the frame and birdcage, but since the ‘Vette has spent its life in sunny California, I won’t be surprised if it has no rust issues. The luggage rack is a practical addition, while the Rally wheels, trim rings, and center caps look excellent.

The seller supplies no engine photos but enough information to paint a genuinely positive picture. The engine bay houses the L48 version of the legendary 350ci V8, producing 180hp. That power feeds to the rear wheel via a three-speed automatic transmission, allowing this classic to cover the ¼ mile in a relatively leisurely 17.2 seconds. If the driver finds a long enough stretch of straight road, the small-block will run out of breath with the needle nudging 116mph. There’s a bit to unpack here, beginning with the seller’s claim that this Corvette has a genuine 87,000 miles on the clock. They don’t mention verifying evidence, which is a question worth asking. They say the car runs and drives well, and the engine has plenty of power. That suggests it’s a turnkey classic where the buyer could fly in and drive it home.

The Corvette’s interior is presentable for an original survivor, but more meticulous buyers may want to spend a few dollars to lift its presentation. The carpet is faded, which is typical for a Corvette of this age. A replacement carpet set retails for $350 and would make a significant difference. The Red leather on the seats looks okay, but the door trims have begun cracking. They are serviceable, and the new owner needs to decide how much they are willing to sink into this classic chasing perfection. That is because the correct door trims sell for around $550 each, which is hardly chicken feed. The original owner ordered this Chevy with air conditioning that no longer blows cold. That represents another expense for the buyer to consider. Otherwise, the dash and plastic look good, and the original owner selected power windows and a tilt/telescopic wheel on their Order Form.

Many people will argue that by the mid-1970s, Chevrolet’s Corvette had become a triumph of style over substance. Undeniably, those equipped with the L48 version of the company’s small-block V8 didn’t offer the performance levels seen a few years earlier, but it also didn’t impact sales. The 1976 model year marked another record, with 46,558 buyers handing over their hard-earned cash. Values for the mid-1970s C3 Corvettes are climbing slowly, suggesting that a good one could represent a sound long-term investment at the right price. This one shows promise, and it would be wonderful to know whether its ownership history could help confirm its odometer reading and service history. It is a ‘Vette worth a closer look if that proves possible.

Comments

  1. TB

    Why GM ever did away with rally wheels I will never understand.

    Like 6
  2. GuernseyPagoda

    “Everything works. Sorry, the Air Conditioning doesn’t work”. 😳. Anywho, a nice vette! I may be in the minority, but I actually prefer the luggage rack look. GLWTS.

    Like 4
    • Chris

      I don’t think it looks better, but for a C3, it’s sure a welcome addition if you want to go anywhere for more than a day. You won’t be able to see anything out the back, so you can pretend you’re in a Countach!

      Like 1
  3. Frank Sumatra

    $9,500 max. It needs work. And I have no doubt it will be sold for $12,000 by the time I finish writing this.

    Like 5
  4. Steve

    I’m guessing the retractable headlights don’t close. Why else would they not show them shut?

  5. Chris

    It’s criminal that so many ‘vettes from this era are automatic. I know, not that hard of a conversion, but such a shame. Would be so much easier, and I’d probably own one of these by now if they were all manual like most of the early C3’s. Oh well. Nice car, I’d love to have it otherwise.

    Like 2
  6. CaCarDude

    In the early 90’s I bought a ’76 Black on Black Vette, also the same drive train and it also had the rack. I liked the car but not enough to keep it long. It had some issues with the transmission and rear end soon after my purchase, so I found a guy wanting it that had a nice ’86 Camaro Berlinetta, he offered to trade straight up, so that was one of the best car trades I ever did. That nice Camaro was trouble free for the next three years I drove it. Wish the seller of this listed C3 good luck and the buyer good luck as well!

    Like 1
  7. FrankD Member

    Nice color combo and under powered.

  8. george mattar

    I worked on these new at a Chevy/Olds dealership. I recall road testing one of them that I really liked. Silver with Firethorn leather, L82, 4 speed, YJ8 wheels, all power options. Car ran great. I was stunned at the then $10,000 price. Ah memories. I now own a 73 coupe, 4 SPEED. Automatic in a Corvette. Only for pussies. This is a nice car for a decent price, but the automatic and luggage rack kills it for me. It’s gonna need the trailing arms rebuilt, E brake work, a/c and if you want R12, get ready to spend. The R134 conversion on these old cars does not work, and if it does, it eventually leaks out. Waste of money. Take out the tops and drive. My a/c system is shot. I could care less.

    Like 1
  9. Jon in Chico

    Had a white ’77 with Firethorn Red leather interior … nice road car but front end would “lift” and undulate over 100mph … I thought the L48 only produced 165hp compared to 205hp with the L82 …

    Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      Mr.Duntov said they made bad airplanes

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