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Parked in The ’80s: 1974 Chevrolet Corvette 454

The 1974 model year was a significant one in the production cycle of the C3 Corvette. It was the last opportunity buyers had to order their new toy with the iconic big-block under the hood. This garage find is one of those cars, and you shouldn’t let its appearance deceive you. It is a rock-solid and complete classic with a selection of desirable options. It has sat since the 1980s and is begging for a new owner to liberate it and return it to its rightful place on our roads. The seller has listed the ‘Vette here on Craigslist in Brick Township, New Jersey. They set a price of $6,400 OBO for this classic, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this promising project.

The history of this Corvette is slightly unclear, with the seller parking it in its current location in the 1980s. They don’t indicate why they did this, but the relatively dry environment is good news for potential buyers. The Dark Brown paint looks like it might be tired below the heavy layer of dust. However, what this classic lacks is significant rust that would cause the buyer sleepless nights. The seller claims the frame and birdcage are rock-solid, and the presence of nothing beyond surface corrosion on other visible surfaces seems to support that belief. The bumper covers have crumbled to dust, and the wheels aren’t original, but sourcing replacements to recapture the car’s youthful good looks shouldn’t be difficult. The chrome on the luggage rack exhibits some bubbles, although the remaining trim and glass should be acceptable following cleaning and polishing.

The seller supplies no engine photos but confirms this classic comes with its numbers-matching 454ci V8. This big-block produced 270hp and 380 ft/lbs of torque in its prime, which was fed to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. It seems the original owner sought to combine outright performance with comfort, adding power assistance for the steering and brakes to reduce the driving effort. Emission regulations made themselves felt when this car rolled off the line, but its ability to cover the ¼-mile in 14.7 seconds proved the Corvette remained a potent package. The seller indicates this classic drove to its current location under its own power, but they pulled the engine soon after parking it. The engine hasn’t been returned to its rightful place, and the seller recommends performing a rebuild before doing so. The interior shots are limited, so assessing the condition of its Saddle leather trim is impossible. The seller admits the original radio has made way for a Pioneer radio/cassette player but is otherwise unmodified. They confirm that the new owner will benefit from air conditioning and power windows but don’t mention other factory options.

Many enthusiasts believe 1974 represented the “last hurrah” for the C3 Corvette. It marked the end of the big-block powerplant, but the take-up rate was relatively low, with only 3,494 buyers ticking that box on the Order Form. This car requires total restoration, and while the photos are limited, there seem to be very few tasks that a competent owner couldn’t tackle in a home workshop if they dream of a hands-on build. The seller’s price is affordable, and negotiating might improve the situation. Are those thoughts enough to tempt you to pursue this promising project further?


  1. Greg

    The price is good if the frame and all the engine parts are there. The price almost makes me cautious of a craigslist scammer. I have run into a few on that site.

    Like 11
  2. Big C

    Every last thing needs to be touched on this ‘Vette. $6400 is just the entrance fee to the “field of dreams.”

    Like 11
    • Frank Sumatra

      “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” seems more likely.

      Like 6
  3. Acton Thomas

    Big block, 4 speed, A/C, upgraded interior, yes, this one is a worthwhile restoration. If the next owner performs the most of the work at home it will prove to be a satisfying project with a great car at the end of the build. The only thing I would change is the color and a 1980 rear bumper.

    Like 2
    • Regis

      Yes, it is a worthwhile restoration for sure, but let me add, that Paint Code 68, Dark Metallic Brown is a very rare Corvette color for 1974 and I’ve only seen two in that color, over the years of car spotting. I own a Dark Metallic Brown ’74 and this being a Big Block, 4 speed car, plus a deluxe interior, would likely make it a one-of-one at any car show. The new owner would likely never see another ’74 in this color.

      Like 1
      • Acton Thomas

        Thanks Regis, I just checked my 1974 BB, 4 speed, and the Trim Tag paint code shows 68L. Never considered that it was rare, but I’m still glad that the previous owner repainted it with a 1993 color called Black Rose. Looks a bit like dark Burgundy. Anyway, the car in the ad was a good deal for $6k and as PR4SNW stated; this car is sold. A sharp buyer no doubt spotted a good value.

        Like 1
  4. Richard Heys

    I don’t believe there is any scamming involved. I first saw the car on the Corvette Forum where a friend of the owner was asking opinions of the car to help the seller establish a price. This would be a nice project if you could do most everything yourself. If you have to farm it all out, not so much- you will be quickly underwater on the car.

    Like 1
  5. ACZ

    Great car if you want something to fool around with and never drive.

    Like 2
  6. Al

    Any way to put an actual chrome ’73 style bumper on front w/o too much modification I really wonder?

    Like 0
  7. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member


    Like 0

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