Pandora’s Big Block: 1971 Chevrolet Corvette

A car can be viewed in a few different ways. For some of us we can see a place in time or a cherished memory when looking at, or driving a classic car. For a few unfortunate people, a car can bring sadness and disappointment from the same memories that can often bring ajoy. Unfortunately the owner of this Big Block 4 speed Corvette is looking to cash out of his dreams, and give himself some peace, as well as to give the car an opportunity to be someone else’s dream to wrangle with. Originally intended to be a project with his father, sadly time slipped away and his dream has come to an end. Fear not, as there is still a twinkle at the end of the tunnel as this Corvette appears to be in very decent original condition from what can be seen in the images. This big block stick shift project can be yours for $8,000. Take a look at it here on craigslist out of Birmingham, Alabama. Special thanks to Chuck F for this tip!

Left unassembled and at rest for what could be a few decades, this big block shows a few years worth of dust and dirt. One perplexing issue with this sales ad is that the seller claims the engine to be a 427, but there was no factory offered 427 for 1971. Perhaps the seller was emotional, or made a mistake and posted the engine as being a 427 instead of a 454? Having the right engine would make this car quite valuable, or if it was the incorrect engine, it would be a fun project for the right person. There is no word on the condition of the engine or the mileage of this mystery big block. We can certainly hope and speculate, but the seller eludes to say that “all of your questions will be answered in person.” Also there is no Vin information added, so it is hard to say if this is a factory big block car other than the “454” emblems, the hood and the shifter console.

Despite the current situation of this project, I dare say that the paint appears to match, and looks to be in nice shape. Although there are no exact numbers thrown out, I would guess that this car has been sitting 2 or maybe 3 decades based on the 1974 Harry Chapin hit “Cats and the Cradles” comment. If that is the case, the body was done a favor from being stored away from UV exposure.

Clearly used as a fancy shelf, it isn’t always a bad thing to stack your soft items on such a machine. Dust and dirt looks to be at a minimum, and again, the paint looks really nice, as if this car could be rebuilt into a great survivor grade car. The windshield has been removed, and it would seem that there is little interior remaining in the car. So add an interior kit to the cost of this restored-survivor. The passenger door has been removed, but never fear as it was carefully placed under the car, but on top of one of the bucket seats that also appears to be in nice shape. It would be interesting to catalog all of the parts that are there to see how close you could come to rebuilding this car. Appearing more like a ready to assemble model kit than a broken dream, this Corvette could very well be a grand project with even grander possibilities depedning on the VIN and drivetrain. Would you take the gamble on this big block project?


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  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Well, I am late again. This posting has been deleted by its author.

  2. Blindmarc

    Already deleted……

    • Classic Steel

      Probably decided to bury it in the back yard as a time capsule 🤠

  3. 86 Vette Convertible

    Too little to tell from these photos if it was a good project or not. Hope the next owner gets it back on the road. I do have to say I prefer a small block to a big block, maybe not as fast in a straight line but otherwise IMO they handle better in the curves.

  4. Classic Steel

    Call me crazy but if I was selling a car dismantled and thrown in disarray one might uncover the car and get a bucket of soapy water to clean and display. One might write down block numbers and snaps pics of it and vin numbers too,

    Nothing like buying a jig saw puzzle and hoping all pieces are present and accounted for to complete .

    I have built a few basket case in my past where one had a running car and decided hey what if I pull pieces off the car and box them up in hodgepodge random containers 😳 then later realize ones over their head. I am glad they didn’t list the famous
    words “hard part of work is done” at least.

    • Karl Kretschmar

      So what you’re saying is that ONE may find out ONE’S mistake when buying another ONE’S ONE time ambition only to learn that ONE is in over ONE’S head like the previous ONE was..LOL!!

  5. Pa Tina

    “Ran when parked”

  6. Madmatt

    I have a fancy “65 Mustang v8 convertible” that is quite
    a Shelf also !….My wife and kids have buried it and everything
    else in my garage over the years,to the point u can’t even walk
    in it,let alone resume work from 15 years ago!Life does get in the
    way sometimes,I am sad the owner wasn’t able to complete his/her dream.
    This summer…,i’ll get to it….,that’s what I’ve been saying for 30 years…,
    but this time……”I MEAN IT”…LOL…!

    • On and On On and On Member

      And what would you mean by “fancy”………..’65 Mustang V8 convertibles interest me.

      • Madmatt

        It’s not a fancy mustang,but a helluva shelf…!
        I am going to spend a few weeks doing some mega
        Cleaning this summer…,maybe by next winter I will
        Be able to resume my work…..from long ago..😎

    • Karl Kretschmar

      I’m just as guilty. My ’72 Corvette’s progress is embarrassingly slow. When you’ve got the money, you don’t have the time. And when you’ve got the time, you don’t have the money. How does that keep happening? And yet here I am looking at other projects on Barn Find…LOL!!

  7. fahrvergnugen

    LOVE that turbine exhaust setup.

    • 86 Vette Convertible

      LOL. Do you think Andy Granatelli was around that one in the past. Maybe that’s the followup or precursor to his Turbine Corvette. If not Andy, maybe Art Arfons.

    • MFerrell

      It’s a Kringle 3000, 500 reindeer power.

  8. gbvette62

    To the author of this post, the original engine cannot be identified by the VIN number on 1971 Corvettes. GM didn’t include the engine identifier in VIN numbers until 1972. The only way to know for sure if it was a big block, would be original paperwork.

    Also, I’m not so sure I agree that the paint appears to be in “nice shape”. From what can be seen in the photos, it looks like there could be a number of marks in the paint. Even if it was in nice shape at one time, it’s hard to believe it still could be, after being used as a shelf for years.

    The valve covers are not from 71, and the intake and distributor don’t look right either. It’s not easy to tell from the pictures, but the bell housing looks like a cast iron bell housing from a 55-60 Chevy. The seller may be correct in calling it a 427?

  9. Peter

    Was it not possible or conceivable, that a buyer of a new Corvette back then could order a 427 engine when none [427 block] were advertised in brochures or literature? I note that a Mercedes 300SL was painted british racing green to order by a stateside customer in the fifties. So why not order a bigger engine for a new Corvette .

    • gbvette62

      Basically no. By 71 the 427 was out of production. They were still available “over the counter”, but not for installation in any production vehicle. Also, by 71, Federal emission laws were in effect, and any engine that the factory installed, had to be Federally certified to meet that years emission levels. This was a time consuming and expensive process, and is what prevented the LS-6 454 from becoming available in the 70 Corvette.

      It was possible through the early 80’s, to order a none stock color, or interior/exterior color combination, but not any engine you wanted. For many years, buyers could order things that weren’t Regular Production Options (RPO), through a Central Office Production Order (COPO), but this wasn’t something the average person was usually allowed to do. Normally it was done either through dealers ordering a fleet of vehicles (like the Yenko Camaros), by companies (like taxi fleets), or through municipalities or governments (such as for police cars).

      By the early 70’s, the EPA put a stop to both factory and aftermarket engine swaps, in new cars. Both Greenwood and Motion Performance eventually fell afoul of these EPA regulations, and had to stop doing their conversions.

  10. Van VandenBosch

    It’s gone woe that

  11. Chuck Foster Chcuk F 55chevy

    I resisted the urge to purchase, I figured it wouldn’t last long. I had a 69 project for a while, big block car but no engine, still had Muncie 4 spd though.

    • Yoopermike

      I would have bought this car . Restore only to the point where it was still fun to drive and park somewhere. Enjoy the car for years without worry of the parking lot dings.

  12. Paul

    It’s funny how lots of restoration projects never get finished.
    I have been actively and very slowly working on one particular car for 27 years, I have never lost interest in this one particular car. Every single part is the original perfect, restored to perfection or NOS. This one car seems to be more fun to restore then the rest that I own. Other collector cars that I own or have owned I seem to get bored with and rush the finish or sell before the are finished.

  13. Henry Drake

    Looks like an HEI distributor w/o the tach drive.

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