Possible L89: 1968 Chevrolet Corvette

1968 Corvette L89

This Corvette was found in a container in Ohio. The seller thought it could be a mighty L88 (think race engine), but the new owner wasn’t so sure. The original engine was missing and a 454 sat in its place. After doing some research the new owner has a sneaky suspicion it could be a real L89 and although not as exciting as a L88, it’s still a very good thing. It would have slotted right below the L88 and the 427 V8 would have been fitted with aluminum heads and triple carbs. It also would have put out 435 horsepower! It’s going to take some research to make sure it’s authentic and then a lot of hunting to find all the right parts. The end result will be stunning though in its original British Green over black color scheme. Take a look here on eBay where the auction ends tomorrow. Do you think it’s the real deal? Thanks goes to Jim S for the tip!

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Comments

  1. Van

    I’ve always heard these cars are hot and have a terrible ride. Anybody spend enough time in one of these driving cross country to educate us?

    • DrinkinGasoline

      They were like riding on a 2×4 on the ground, behind a restrained HP engine given the restraints of the time. I will say that the Hot Wheels die casts were collectible at the time though…..I have a few of them if that counts for anything.

    • Roseland Pete

      I knew one guy who had a 68 and he said there were all sorts of problems with the car since 68 was the first year with the new body design.

      • Tom Member

        68 was a brutal year with a long list of changes in the 69. I have had enough of these to know that any big block vette from this era gets very toasty warm inside. what do you want from an engine with seat belts, sitting on the rear axle wrapped in plastic! I love them though! My favorite years 68-72. 68 was a test year and 72 lost its balls so stick to a 70 or 71 and you will be better off.

    • 427vette

      I always tell people it is like sitting inside a pizza oven. During the summer months the shifter handle is almost too hot to touch after the car has warmed up. You gotta be full on gearhead to appreciate the abuse these 427 monsters dish out. On the other hand it is about the most fun you can have with your clothes on…

    • Bryan

      I own a 1971 LT1 and yes it GOT hot inside the cabin but after fixing the heater box leaking air and putting dynamat on the floor, it is much better.

      Like 2
  2. DrinkinGasoline

    For a Corvette lover….it may a diamond in the rough, and I wish them the best of luck. For me….the last,best Vette was built in 57.
    After that, it was all down hill. Chevy sold their soul with the Vette after 57 , losing styling and performance in lieu of speed only. Any manufacturer can drop a heavy HP power plant in a fiberglass body and claim whatever…When the “Other Two” were producing race winning products out of steel on Sundays….Chebby was still trying to gain accolades with glass bodies, on Monday streets with the Vette.
    It lost respect. It couldn’t combine HP with steel. It had to rely on fiberglass….

    • dogwater

      O come on now C-2s are a great car also, but the C-3s from 74 up was GMs down fall

  3. Pfk1106

    Already ended with $200 bid

    • Larry K

      Actually, no bids. Looked like he got a call and did a private sale.

  4. DrinkinGasoline

    Hope winner puts it to good use…whatever that may be.

  5. Don

    This car never had an L88 and the engine in the car is NOT an L89, the L88 was a radio delete car (this car clearly had a radio from the factory), the engine currently in this car is at most a 390 HP car and that is if it is a 427, it is quite possible that it is a 396/360 HP.

    • Paul

      Don,

      Why isnt it possible for a previous owner to remove the factory radio delete plate and buy the mounting plate and add a radio? L88 L89 or whatever, who the heck would want to drive a car without a radio? LOL

      Agreed on the engine though, its hard to tell but I think its a 390HP at most engine.

      • Tom Member

        Don, did you read anything? Seller is suggesting it MIGHT be an L89 – more research must be done and already said it has a 454 in it, obviously not original to the car. Why are you even discussing an L88 ?

    • 427vette

      390 and 400 HP cars had a 5600 RPM tach redline, this one has a 6500 RPM tach redline, so it WAS one of the high horsepower cars. However without the original engine with a readable suffix pad, build sheet, or POP, there is no way to prove what was installed in it from the factory. In the corvette world, no proof, forever more a clone you shall be. One other note, the only corvette equipped with a 396 was the L78 in the 65 year model, and it was rated at 425 HP

      • Don

        The point about my comments was that this particular car has had so many mods that one cannot make any claims as to its original configuration, you have a seller here who knows nothing about the cars history other that what he claims to have been told by some other person, and with no provenance to show what the car is or was, an accurate opinion cannot be reached until the car has been inspected by a knowledgeable person. A tach face is easily replaced as is a motor, yes even a big block. The engine in this car should not be considered to be anything until it has been properly identified, anyone that bought this car relying solely on the sellers comments and not having any sort of proof is taking a big chance on it being nothing more than one more low horsepower corvette among thousands of others currently available.

  6. jimmy

    Carb for a 1969 427 corvettes will set you back about $5,000 for one that can be rebuilt

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Where are You that a simple 4v carb and or rebuild sets you back 5k??

      • Tom Member

        Stop drinkin Gasoline, read the notes, I think Jimmy was referring to a tri-power set up and he is right.

  7. Don

    Almost anything is possible, but from looking at the photos, it appears that the radio was factory installed, and I know from my own experiences with my 65, I like listening to the sound of the engine, just to be sure it is running properly plus the engine is so loud, it makes listening to the radio near impossible.

    • Tom Member

      In a muscle car, the sound of the power is the music!

  8. Don

    It isn’t just a simple carb, if you are restoring one of these cars to NCRS standards, you need not only a numbers correct carb, but also a correct build date which are permanently stamped on the main body, however I think 5K is a bit steep as there are still plenty around yet, but all this stuff is starting to get very pricey since the all car shows & ebay have been created.

  9. Bill

    seller comments that the engine is a 454 so its not an 427 at this point we all know. As far as the radio delete, my Uncle used my Granddads factory order cycle in 70 to get a COPO 70 L88 Corvette (I remember my Granddad calling it obnoxious yellow). He had it about 2 weeks and it went back to the dealer for a radio. My Aunt didn’t like hearing “just” the engine and insisted if she were going to ride in it, it had to have a radio. So there is a radio delete L88 with a dealer installed factory radio….

    • moosie Craig

      Seriously,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, a ’70 L88, COPO or not, Really.

  10. Peter R

    In the early 70’s I owned a 1969 390/427 Vette – even in the harsh winters in Montreal ( yes it was my daily driver) there was so much heat generated through the transmission tunnel that I turned off the heater. It had a harsh ride and turning corners in the city required planning if going quickly which was normal for me with all that power. Today I much prefer the boulevard ride of my XK8 but then I’m about 45 years older too.

  11. DRV

    The ’68 and ‘ 69 corvettes may be the worst quality builds of any American cars. The work strike was on and they had a ton of handwork. The 427s of the time in them ran too hot to be in them and had tons of issues. Most restorations of them are way better quality than new. I
    have no attraction to them after driving one.

  12. Van

    I still love the look
    Anybody know the easiest ways to fix these issues.
    Maybe a good website for pro-touring vetts?

  13. Don

    Tom, I checked out the original ad for the car, the seller makes claims but also says he doesn’t know much about it. Without any substantial proof, it is a shot in the dark at best. As for the L88 reference, to group moderator as well as the original ad both make mention of it having an L88.

  14. Bill

    I had a 68 coupe with a 327 in it. Hotter than hell, especially sitting in a traffic jam. Electrical issues that seemed to take forever to track down. Reliability wasn’t it’s strong point. I agree with the comments above. If you want a C3, then stick to a 70 or 71.

  15. Howard A Member

    Hmmm, found in a container, you say. So that’s where that stolen Vette from 30 years ago finally showed up. http://d1hw6n3yxknhky.cloudfront.net/021048871_prevstill.jpeg

    • Nova Scotian

      Exactly.

  16. Bill

    All this talk about whats correct or not, isn’t there an archive for GM like the Marti Report? Seems it ought to be real easy to determine how this car left the plant. I know that doesn’t help anyone right now (unless they can pop it out overnight) but it would seem money well spent by the Seller to post such if he’s claiming such. Also, wouldn’t GM have put a build sheet under the seat? Or am I waaaay to old school for this…

  17. Don

    Bill, you are exactly correct, this is why I find this car to be highly suspect. For a few dollars this car could be authenticated by the NCRS, the seller seems to be somewhat informed about Corvettes yet he has not done something that would make the car worth thousands more.

    • 427vette

      Unfortunately, there are no records for GM cars from this time period like the other makes, there have been many urban legends about them being lost or hidden in rail cars or coal mines for that matter. The only verification the NCRS offers right now is the shippers data report which consists of the dealer code, dealer zone number, dealer name and dealer address (if available) and the date the car was produced. Corvettes starting in 1967 had a “tank” sticker (see picture) glued to the top of the gas tank that identified the options it was equipped with, but other than that there is no other way to verify what engine the car was born except the clues left like what the seller listed in his ad. 427 Corvettes are big $$$ cars, and it is in the sellers best interest to tell the buyer’s what he sees on the car so people can make up their own mind on what the car really is. Based on what I see, it is not outrageous to think this car left the factory as a 435 HP L71 Tri-Power car at the very least.

  18. dj

    I had the chance to buy one of these in the late 80’s. Black on black on black. The back carb caught on fire and burned most of the cowl off. He wanted $1500 for it. At that time, they weren’t sought after as they are now and I passed on it. What the crap was I thinking?

  19. Don

    We’ve all made that same mistake at one time or another.

  20. Tyler

    Back when I was in high school, a friend’s father had a red 69 Tri-power 427 Corvette convertible. Jeff was occasionally allowed to drive the car to school or on Friday nights. The car had side pipes put on it at some point & it’s a wonder I have any legs left, as you couldn’t get out without burning yourself. I remember it felt like you were sitiing in a bucket & the car beat us to death. We set more than we rode because it got about 6 or 7 mpg, & gas was nearly as much in the early 80’s as it is now. But we didn’t care, we were in a red Corvette convertible & it just didn’t get any better than that!

  21. THE WIGG

    i have a 69 l71 with the tri power and heavy duty clutch option. the car is like a heater that you ride in. fast in a straght line but no handeling. still love it and use it on weekends.

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