Parked For 25 Years: 1974 Corvette

1974-corvette

It isn’t the fastest or best optioned Corvette ever, but this ’74 just has a crazy look to it, the good old 350 V8 and it’s running and driving! For the right price, I’d absolutely love to have this Vette. Emissions might have strangled performance by the time it was built, but it’s not too difficult to squeeze more power out of the 350. And while the body styling changed several times, the chassis essentially remained the same from ’68 to ’80. With some work, this could be one fun driver with a look that will definitely turn heads! Find it here on eBay in Knightdale, North Carolina with a current bid of $4,300.

1974-corvette-engine

I’ve experienced a few C3 Corvettes and there is definitely a difference in the cars built before 1973 and ones that came after. Later cars aren’t quite as sporty, they are quieter and a bit smoother. With so many regulations killing performance, it was a logic step for Chevrolet to take the Corvette towards being more a touring car and less a sports car. I also wouldn’t say being more of a GT is a bad thing though, they are a bit easier to live with day to day, but can still be a blast when you just need to have a little fun. I do wish this one had a manual, but if you are going to be dealing with stop and go traffic or plan to go drag racing, the automatic will get the job done nicely.

1974-corvette-interior

This Vette needs some work, the interior is looking tired and I see lots of surface rust underneath. Parts are readily available for these, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a new interior. Now the rust on the other hand could be more of an issue. Hopefully it’s limited to just the surface, but I’d want to take a good look at the chassis and birdcage for anything serious.

1974-chevy-corvette

Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate the looks of the C3 more. I use to not care for the looks of post ’72 cars, but I really like the way this ’74 looks. Between the “patina”, the redesigned nose and the popup headlight, it’s definitely growing on me! How about you?

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Comments

  1. Jeff K.

    I have always wanted to have a Corvette, but have not stuck my neck out to do it. I have been told through the years that the best days of Corvette ownership are the first day you bought it and the last day you sold it. Wonder if this is true….

  2. Dan

    If a corvette is the only thing you have to drive, you will soon hate it. And not long after you sell it, you will want another….trust me I know….

  3. Rick

    I have the last of the sharks – an ’82. And I love driving it when I don’t need my work truck. Comfortable, relatively quiet (wind noise, mostly) and just fun. This one, if the price stays low, would be a nice entry level convertible, even though it isn’t original. The trademark split rear fascia has been replaced by… a 1981/82 rear bumper. Not a big deal. What worries me more is the moss growing in the carpet.. with rust on the pillars, it’s very possible the birdcage is toast on this one. PMI paramount!

  4. JW454

    Someone has already added the 1980+ rear bumper cover. Since it’s going to need at least a Macco type paint job, I’d add the 1980 style front bumper cover and have a unique looking roadster.
    This is fairly stripped down for a Corvette. It appears it doesn’t even have power brakes. It looks like it’s at the top of it’s value at 5.5K. JMHO

  5. ccrvtt

    I agree 100% with Dan’s comment. I’ve had my ’95 for 8 years now and can’t wait to sell it … and buy a 2007. I have always believed that every red-blooded American boy (of a certain age) has wanted a Corvette at one time or another.

    This C3 is exuberantly tawdry – makes you want to drive the p*** out of it. Kind of like that girl in high school, well, never mind… These cars were so flamboyantly styled that Bill Mitchell disliked the C4’s by comparison. That said, every C3 I’ve ever driven rode like a truck. Lovely to look at but hard to live with on a regular basis.

    Corvettes are like Jeeps and Harleys – you either get it or you don’t.

  6. DEC

    Agree with Dan. I own a 2008 that I won’t ever sell. But I also don’t want to drive it everyday.

  7. JCW Jr.

    Had a 73 and 74. Not bad cars. When we had the 74 350/auto also had a 88 grand am quad4/5speed till about 50 the grand am would win after that the vetted would pull away (my wife is a gear head and always wanted to race me) did not matter who drove what. We sometimes would take the vetted home and get the grand am more comfort and just as much fun. Led to a 96 g/am guad 4 HO vet was no match to it. Sold the vette. Lol

  8. cyclemikey

    I don’t get the comments to the effect that if you drive a Corvette every day you’ll hate it. That’s nonsense. I have a C5 and a C7, and they’re the first choice to drive if it isn’t raining, and that’s only because I don’t want to slop them all up when I have lots of other stuff to drive.

    Granted, the C3 was a lot cruder, and sometimes felt like a collection of parts going down the road together. Still, this would be a fun driver for someone if it isn’t rusted beyond saving.

    • Noel

      I agree 100%. 2007 C6 here with 130,000 miles as a daily driver. I drive in the rain and even the snow. I have loaded up the trunk a time or two at Home Depot too. I also autocross, do HPDEs, and completed a 3600 mile road trip this past summer. Loving every minute of it – but at the same time I know there is a world of difference between the C3 and a C6.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      The comment is probably aimed at the C3. They just aren’t a comfortable ride, so not good as a DD like your later Vettes.
      I had a ’70 for almost 30 years then sold it. It was only a summer, really nice day type of car. Now, I want another one. I thought about a C4 or even a C5, but my heart is in the C3. Think I will go for a Cross-Fire 82.

    • DEC

      Stop and go traffic with a heavy clutch and a 1st gear good for 60 mph. Pouring rain on the freeway surrounded by semis and f350s when the traffic in front of you comes to a sudden halt. Engine and tire noise when a client calls and you need to be able to understand what they are saying. Tires that last 10K miles and cost $2000 to replace. Scraping on every curb, driveway, speedbump and piece of debris you come across. I have a large chunk missing from my engine cradle from a piece of concrete that emerged from under an SUV in front of me with no time to stop.

      For driving over the mountains with the windows open and the muffler bypassed, there is nothing better. For everyday there are much better choices.

  9. Busyditch

    Ever since my Aunt Gail threw me the keys to her ’63 Stingray with 283 and powerglide back in ’73 I wanted a Corvette. But being 6-4 there isn’t a C anything that I can comfortably fit in. I test drove a ’78 4 speed Pace car and hit the clutch and brake with my size 14 boots. Same for a C4 that immediately sent a jolt straight to my sciatica when l finally got my leg under the steering wheel I can only dream at this point.

    • Chris

      I have the same issue. I’m 6′-3″ tall and weigh 350 lbs. I’ve had a lifelong love for Corvettes of all vintages, but there is not a single one that has any love for me.

      • Chebby

        Damn, what do you big fellas drive on the daily?

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Yep, had a 6′ 5″ buddy try to get behind the wheel of the ’70 and couldn’t fit at all.
      Then, I had him get behind the wheel of my Mini. He was shocked at how much room there was behind the wheel of that car. Of course, the seat would go all the way back until it hit the back seat.

  10. Artichoke330

    I had a ’76 L-48 with a 4-speed as a daily driver for over 10 years. I put well over 200,000 miles on it and then kept it for weekends for another ten years. I finally sold it and bought a 2003 50th anniversary edition convertible. That was the best car I have ever owned. I had to sell it a few years ago to finish building a new house. I regret selling it and would love to have another. Until then my 2003 STS will suffice. It is the second best car I have ever owned!

  11. Rich

    Actually the chassis was relatively the same from 63 thru 82. Virtually no changes made in those times other then the fiberglass rear spring on the 80’s models, rubber body mounts on the 73+ cars and a few other small items. Crazy.

  12. Biggles21

    C3 Corvette is the only edition I don’t like. Never could understand why the engineers thought an ugly exposed gas tank was an acceptable design. Most well used ones presented a view of surface rust as it went down the road. Meh.

    • jim k

      I think that gas tank you think you are seeing on a c3 is actually the spare tire carrier? Its exposed the gas tank is pretty well hidden above it.

      • Rich

        Yep! Can not see the gas tank from the rear. The fiberglass spare carrier does not rust either. Not sure what he is seeing. ?

      • Biggles21

        Well what ever it is, its ugly.

  13. dogwater

    I have always hated the corvette that is way I have had four of them…….

  14. erikj

    fore sure right on the rear look of a c3. That’s the glass spare tire area and the tank is well above it.I took my 68 apart to look for the build sheet so I know that area well. And yes there was a build sheet. Sold the vette last year-miss it, but with a blown ls6 and 4sp with 4:11 posi I would have killed myself. almost happened once and scared the hell out of me. sideways towards a t-pole. and I can handle hot cars, but that car

  15. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I have owned my 1972 base 350, 400 trans for 16 years. I love that rig. She is no comparison to anything newer. But you talk about fun. Hammer into the switchbacks and beyond, so sweet! I would like a C7, Out of my ching zone for now. Still, I do not care. I can push my 72 to her limits like I would a C7. It is all about the fun in my book. I am sure there are Camaro, Challenger, Mustang and a ton of other cool car people that agree. At least I hope. Take care and drive em, Mike.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Sorry a bout the wrong photo. My Willys 4 wheel drive and my Buddies steel T bucket. Lucky to get them posted. Most of the time they never load. Sorry, Mike

  16. Philip

    7100$ for a rusted, clapped out 350 auto trans dog. That’s about as crazy as it gets, and the owner must be bidding or a shill. The car needs everything, and it sat some place wet a long time. Likely the bird cage is gone, along with the frame around the kick ups, then there are the body issues and incorrect rear cover. Convertibles that sit outside almost always need a bird cage and windshield header plus a LOT more.

    That’s a 3k$ car tops, and I have restored and rebuilt many a C3, this one is nothing special, not even a good parts car. Almost 100K on the clock,..wow I guess there is a butt for every seat.

  17. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Winning bid, $7,100.00. 34 bids.

  18. Philip

    I bought an ’81 survivor not long ago, 51K miles,.. Auto trans,.all original, right down to the 8 Track and CB radio.No sun damage, water leaks/rot/interior fade. A 1 owner female owned garage queen with the paint on the frame and floors, and about a zillion oil leaks from the CCC L-81. The cam was wiped on a few lobes for # 5 and 7 cylinders, but it was all there and super nice. A new cam, a reseal,lots of scrubbing, good as new. Still had the chalk marks on the inside of the hood. People say these ride poorly, If you have ever had a 78-82, it isn’t always true. With the late model fiberglass spring, better insulation, better materials, and interior, they are not only comfortable for a Corvette, but very considering, especially with new weatherstrips and seals.

    I’m 5′-10″ myself, at 250 lbs the 6 way power seat in my ’81 and tilt-tele allow me to get very comfortable on long distance drives. My biggest complaint is the clam-shell seats are too narrow in between the bolsters for anyone’s butt, let alone mine.Earlier seats from 68-77 were better in this regard, but harder on your tailbone.

    That said, the 73-4 (without the split rear cover) is my favorite year(s) next to the 69. I’d love to do a big block 4 speed clone, convertible or shovel back, but at the selling price of this car,.. too much work needed, your already starting in the hole.

    Then again, the 80-82 cars are a dime a dozen now, and very clean garage kept examples are coming to light as popularity increases for the last C-3’s, Pull the complete drive line and computer harness, store it, then shove in a stand alone injected 502/Tremec 6 speed or 4-L80/ 3:73 and enjoy. They made a lot of 78-82 fastback cars, sometimes up to 40K cars a year. For a while yet, you will find good deals if you are patient and look. The 73-77’s like this one are gaining in value condition not withstanding which isn’t always a good thing. Some people expect survivor prices from parts cars.

    Far better to wait for a nice inexpensive ’68-’77, and play with the plethora of clean low cost great condition 78-82’s, slip in a ZZ-383 behind the OEM 4 speed, the 700 R-4/4-L80/ Tremec 5-6 speed, with hydraulic clutch and enjoy a car in most cases will be more reliable and faster than all but a couple of the newer cars built/sold in Corvette’s 66 year history.

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