Original Big Block: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette

Some projects can be more challenging than others, and while this 1969 Corvette will need some work, it is a complete vehicle. It features its original big block under the hood and would have been a potent package in its prime. Barn Finder Boot has come up trumps for us once again, so thank you for referring this one to us, Boot. The Corvette is located in Kemmerer, Wyoming, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. While bidding has reached $5,988, the reserve is yet to be met.

The owner doesn’t pull any punches with the Corvette because he acknowledges that potential buyers should be prepared to tackle a frame-off restoration. This photo of the car’s underside provides an insight into the structural state of the Corvette. There is plenty of surface corrosion to be seen, but no penetrating rust. If the birdcage is in a similar condition, the buyer could be onto a winner here. The vehicle rolled off the production line wearing Riverside Gold paint, but this has long ago made way for primer and other patches of color. If a frame-off restoration is the goal, I would be stripping away all of the paint as well. After all, if the Corvette is going to be dismantled to that point, it makes sense to try to achieve the highest possible standard across the entire vehicle. It looks like the fiberglass might have a few issues around some of the bonding strips, so this is one area that may require specialist attention. It appears that most of the trim is present, although the taillight lenses are missing. The buyer might have to grab their credit card and go shopping for replacements.

The Corvette’s interior is trimmed in Saddle vinyl, and this is another aspect of the car that demands attention. The dash and pad appear to be in excellent order, while the same seems true of the door trims and most plastic components. The buyer will need to draw up a shopping list, and this will include items like new seat covers, a new carpet set, and possibly a replacement for the rear section of the console around the e-brake. This piece isn’t damaged, but it is badly discolored. It may be possible to hit this with some plastic dye to return it to the correct color, but I would be bracing myself for replacement regardless. Although the factory radio has made way for a radio/cassette player, the interior is essentially original. It will be a matter of choice whether that stays or goes, but if I were a betting man, I’d place my money on that item disappearing.

The owner purchased the Corvette 10-years-ago with plans to complete a restoration. His plans have changed, and he acknowledges that he will never get to it. He says that it’s worth noting that the vehicle has been off the road since the 1980s. This might not be all bad news because he believes that the engine could be coaxed back to life with little effort. The motor in question is the mighty 427ci big block. This is the L78 version that would have produced 390hp when the car was shiny and new. The original owner also chose to order the vehicle with an M21 manual transmission, a 3.55 Posi rear end, power steering, and power brakes. With all of those horses on tap, the ‘Vette would have demolished the ¼ mile in an impressive 13.8 seconds. That isn’t hanging about in anyone’s book. Proving that brute acceleration over a short distance isn’t its only strength, it would also have been capable of hitting 150mph on a straight piece of road. The Corvette is a numbers-matching classic, and it appears that the engine turns freely. It isn’t clear when it last fired a shot in anger, but the seller does believe that a little bit of fuel would have it running. I’m not sure how it will run without plug wires, but that’s a mere detail.

Chrome bumper C3 Corvettes are popular classics, and the desirability increases if they feature a big block under the hood. That means that this one ticks two crucial boxes, and if it Is structurally sound, that makes it three from three. I’m not going to pretend that this will be a project that the buyer will knock over in a few weeks, but it could possibly be completed in a home workshop. If you are looking for a car to restore as a bonding exercise between yourself and your children, I’m sure that a Corvette would encourage them to become involved. I know that I would’ve when I was a child. What about you?

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Comments

  1. Raymond

    Yeah, rip that tape player out, put a 5000w Alpine with giant subs in it…do I want that?…no…not my style…but I’d do it just to piss you off…you always focus on stereos yet can’t tell a manual from an automatic trans…again, get off your high horse…you forgot where the ground is at…

    Like 5
    • Gerry Member

      Wow dude chill
      I believe or at least that’s the way I read it he meant someone would replace the stereo with a stock looking or stock unit if they were restoring this car.
      Also both the eBay ad and this article identify this car as having a manual transmission I don’t see any mention of it being identified as an automatic so not sure who needs to come down to earth. maybe it just because I understand Australian that I don’t get the vibe of anyone being on their high horse. at least not from Adam’s articles, some of the comments though… get a life its entertainment not meant to be the be all end all of automotive journalism.

      Like 32
      • Steve P

        Console also shows 4-speed pattern

        Like 4
    • Doug

      Last I checked 3 pedals and a 4-speed shifter means manual transmission!

      Like 5
    • 370zpp

      Everybody loves Raymond.

      Not.

      Like 2
    • Gary Rhodes

      It is a 4 speed and he was saying potential buyer will put a stock radio back in it. You are a jerk.

      Like 2
  2. John Phillips

    I had a ‘69 convertible with same same power train. The original AM-FM mono radio worked fine but I preferred the tunes that came out of the pipes under the rear bumper.

    Like 6
    • Mike Freeman

      I had the same car as yours except a 350/350 SB with a 4-spd. Looks like that put an a/m shifter in this one as mine came with that old chrome ball shifter with the t-bar reverse lock out. It was even the same color but thankfully this one has power brakes. I don’t worry too much about radios because who wants to hear it over the pipes.

      Like 2
  3. Ben Member

    I just recently entered the world of corvettes by purchasing a 77 manual t-top and I have to admit I’m having a blast driving it. Fast? Not really but it sure feels good with your foot in it and shifting through the gears. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a big block project but with a higher asking and the cost of a frame off restoration I’d want to do the math and make sure I’m not on the wrong side of its value after completing such a project. The things dreams are made of I guess.

    Like 1
  4. Jack

    Just a small correction, the 427/390 is an L36 engine, the L78 is a 396/375 as used in the Chevelle and Nova. An L78 was only used in the Corvette for the second half of the 1965 model year

    Like 2
  5. James Bishop

    Both wrong – Yes the 427/390 is a L36 and is correct for the Corvette in 1967-1969, but the 396/375 L78 was used in the Camaro as well as the Chevelle and the Nova through 1967-1969 , and1970 for the SS Chevelle 396. And also the 454.The last of the Great Big Blocks after 1970 everything was detuned because of government regulations etc… The 5 427’s 1967-1969 are L36 , L68, L71,L88, L89 (Aluminum heads added to a L88) and the beast-ZL-1 All Aluminum motor .

    Like 2
    • Jack

      It wrong, just slightly incomplete!

  6. Richardd Adams

    I got to ask, why is the fiberglass driver side front fender rusting?
    Or am I getting it wrong ?

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