Original 454: 1973 Chevrolet Corvette

This 1973 Chevrolet Corvette promises to be an entertaining classic to own and drive once restored. Not only could it be a striking looking car, but the original big-block under the hood is freshly rebuilt. It is looking tired, but there are no apparent reasons why it couldn’t be returned to its former glory. The Corvette is located in Maurertown, Virginia, and has been listed for sale here on Facebook. This is a classic that could be yours for $10,000.

There is no denying the fact that the Corvette currently looks very tired. It originally rolled off the production line wearing Mille Miglia Red but has undergone a color change at some point in its life. It will require a cosmetic refresh, and if I’m honest, I would like to see the car returned to its original color. I don’t think that the current shade does the vehicle justice. The owner makes no mention of rust issues with the frame or birdcage, but I would probably want to give the Corvette a check to ensure that things are okay in that respect. One of the rear bumpers sports some visible surface corrosion, so it would be best to ensure that this is the full extent of the corrosion issues. A replacement front bumper cover will need to be sourced, and these cost around $350. Some of the exterior chrome will also require restoration or replacement, but the glass looks to be in good condition.

Powering the Corvette is the 454ci LS4 V8. This is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission, while the vehicle also features power steering. There is a reasonable amount of good news when it comes to what hides beneath this Corvette. The first is that this is a numbers-matching classic. The second piece of positive news is that the 454 is said to be freshly rebuilt. The engine is only just broken in, and while it was out for the rebuild, the clutch and pressure plate were replaced. By 1973, emission laws were beginning to impact the Corvette’s performance a bit. The 454 was pumping out 275hp at that point in time. This was enough to propel the Corvette down the ¼ mile in 14.7 seconds. Given the current good health of the engine, it should still be capable of matching that sort of performance. However, the car should not be considered to be roadworthy at this point. It does need some work on the brakes, plus the tires are old and will need to be replaced.

When looking at the overall condition of the Corvette’s interior, it is very much in keeping with the exterior. That means that it will require a full restoration. This must have been a pretty pleasant place to spend some time when the vehicle was in its prime. It features Dark Saddle Tan leather upholstery, air conditioning, power windows, and a tilt/telescopic wheel. We only receive this single photo of the interior, but despite its dilapidated and dirty appearance, it looks like there will be plenty of trim pieces that could be salvaged and reused. The console looks good, as does the dash pad and door trims. Beyond that, it is quite hard to determine anything else. One saving grace is the fact that everything that would be needed is readily available. That is one of the qualities that makes the C3 Corvette such an attractive restoration prospect. The fact that most of those parts are affordable certainly doesn’t hurt its cause.

This 1973 Corvette is a sad-looking sight at present. However, if you look beyond the tired and dusty paint, then what you find is a classic that would seem to be the perfect candidate for a restoration project. If I put my rational cap on for a moment, I have a feeling that the car is probably structurally sound. I couldn’t imagine someone handing over the cash for a full engine rebuild unless the rest of the vehicle justified that sort of expenditure. That makes this a classic that should be worth a closer look.

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  1. TimM

    10k?? Unless the frame and birdcage is shot this won’t last long!!!

    Like 5
    • Skorzeny

      Agreed. I know the paint and any related minor bodywork will be expensive, but when restored the ‘73 is beautiful. I used to work with a guy (hi Scott) that restores one in red, and I was always jealous!

    • Geoff

      Easily 50 K to put it right. The 454 4 speed is the upside but the sheer number of these already preserved/restored and available for sale makes me wonder why? Unless your are someone with the skills and the time to enjoy doing the work yourself, I just don’t see it.

      Like 13
      • John

        Factory air, 4-speed combination is quite rare. I could do a body-off for much less than $50k

        Like 2
  2. Terry Kane

    Had a 72 LT1 Convertible.
    A pillars are known to rust through.
    73 is first year with no front chrome bumper
    Possible money pit…

    Like 1
  3. Clement Feldman

    I’d go for it. It’s the last of the interesting C3’s.
    A red big block with the clean, early version of C3 styling (only the soft front bumper, no bulbous soft rear bumper or back glass bubble) works for me! 👍

  4. dogwater

    No Geoff its not going to take 50k to restore this car,yes there are a lot of c3’s out there for sale someone will buy the car to restore and drive for around 20k

    Like 4
  5. JoeNYWF64

    I heard these run hot with 454 & a/c – the small grill doesn’t help. Best to avoid Florida august traffic jams with a/c on?

  6. old-cars-rule

    I love the look it has, you just cant fake that. Give it brakes and tyres, clean it up and drive it. It will get more attention than a restoed one!

    Like 1
  7. Plathead Phil

    Dephinately NOT a Phlathead.

  8. John Oliveri

    Back to red absolutely, probably 25k in body and interior, what about all those bushings underneath, front end, brakes calipers lots of stuff to do,

  9. jerry G

    check brakes ,suspension and bird cage , some new tires ,leave it as is ans drive it like you stole it

  10. Stephen Coe

    Wow 4K to get rear suspension done, 1 k for a/c,8 k for paint, so no, For the $$$ it will take to fix this just go get on the list to get a NEW ONE

  11. Raymond Fliger

    If you want a project and like this particular car, then GO FOR IT….Yes, it will be costly if you do not do the jobs yourself, but the joy is in doing it yourself….ANYONE can go out and buy a NEW ONE…..Google your way thru it, and buy parts as necessary….Restore what you can, and DO IT RIGHT the FIRST TIME….Add Power brakes, and Use the DOT 5 brake fluid….You will not be sorry…Good luck….

  12. George Mattar

    Ok guys. I paid $10K for my silver 73 4 speed air coupe 5 years ago. Front bumper cover chunks fell off towing it hone. They all crack. But it was a never hit and rust free birdcage and frame. It had been repainted in the early 90s, but was garaged all its life and still is. The guy I got it from only drove it 5,000 miles in 30 years. I got a fiberglass front bumper cover. Fits perfect. I did all the rear suspension and wheel bearings. I did the front suspension and a new radiator. Last year, did new seat foam and covers. The seller gave me new carpet he never installed and new in the box rear GM jumpers. I have about $7,000 in if plus the purchase price. It starts instantly and runs all day even in this blazing heat at 190 degrees even in traffic. 73 is the best looking C3 and no stupid vacuum wiper door.

    Like 1
  13. Stephen Coe

    Sounds good at least you do drive the car, mine is red 76 I drive about 2500 miles a year had a transmission issue so was going to be $900 to rebuild or 1300 for 700 r4 so I’m in for the 700r4 I should have her back on Friday sure do enjoy this car.

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