Live Auctions

Ran When Parked: 1978 Chevrolet Corvette

Ran when parked. That has to be one of the great, and often overused, phrases when an owner describes a car that has been sitting for an extended period. It is also the line that the owner uses to describe this 1978 Chevrolet Corvette. Mind you, that was 20-years-ago, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge in those couple of decades. The owner has decided that the time has come for the Corvette to head to a new home, so he has advertised it for sale here on Facebook. It is located in Washington, Texas, and the owner does list a couple of prices. He mentions figures of $3,500, as well as $2,300. Let’s take a look and see if either of those figures make it a bargain buy.

The Corvette cuts a forlorn figure sitting in this lean-to. It has been parked there for a couple of decades, and there’s evidence that it has been exposed to at least a bit of inclement weather. The paint is heavily toasted, but the fiberglass beneath looks like it has survived quite well. The owner doesn’t mention any issues with rust, but we can gain a glimpse of the frame. There is a heavy coating of surface corrosion visible, and the mold that has developed doesn’t fill me with confidence when considering the state of the rest of the frame or the birdcage. The owner says that the glass is good, although I’m pretty sure that the windshield is cracked. There is no information provided about the state of the interior, but it does appear that both windows have been left partially lowered for a while. That would allow plenty of dirt and dust in there. It also represents the perfect “open door” opportunity for rodents and other critters to take up residence.

Aside from a missing rear axle shaft, the Corvette is said to be mechanically complete. Under the hood, we find a 350ci V8, which is backed by a 3-speed automatic transmission. I’ve been trying to determine which version of the 350 this is, but it has me flummoxed. That means that it could be pumping out anywhere from 175hp to 220hp. At least, it would have been producing a figure in that region when it was parked. It seems that the engine hasn’t been kicked into life for 20-years, and it isn’t clear whether it even turns freely. If it does, then it might be possible to revive it with a little patience. However, the engine bay’s visible corrosion level doesn’t fill me to the brim with confidence.

The 1978 model year was a significant one for the Corvette. It marked the model’s 25th Anniversary, and it was also a year of sales success. A whopping 46,776 people slapped down their cash to own one. More significantly, it was the last year in which buyers could purchase a new Corvette for less than $10,000. This one is being offered for sale for an even lower figure, but is its fate to be a project car, or is it destined to be used for parts? I tend to think that the latter option is close to the truth. What about you?


  1. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Oh fer heaven’s sake.

    This car’s seller will be lucky to get rid of it without having to pay someone to tow it away.


    Like 28
  2. Frank Sumatra

    You would be upside down at “Free Corvette”

    Like 23
  3. Arthur

    This looks like a project that Detroit Speed could tackle, especially if they could deal with the rust issues with the birdcage and frame. Those would have to be media blasted to find out how much damage there really is, however.

    Like 7
    • Frank Sumatra

      Do you really need to media blast to recognize a 1/2″ hole? Birdcage and frame issues are a good reason to skip C3’s if you are looking for an entry level Corvette. C4’s used galvanized metal for the birdcage and employed a range of other rust-proofing techniques. I’m sure there could be an issue with a C4 birdcage/frame, but not at the same levels you get with C3’s.

      Like 3
      • Arthur

        To answer your question, probably not, but more often than not it’s what professional shops do when they work on a project. That way, they can see what needs to be repaired as far as metal work is concerned.

  4. Steve R

    Too far gone to be a viable project, too expensive for a parts car. As mentioned above, the best the owner could hope for is that someone would be willing to haul it away for free.

    Steve R

    Like 12
  5. Phlathead Phil

    A sad sight to see. Somehow someone has slipped up. Sure, I suppose there are a select few salivating over this sled.

    But not me!!

    Like 5
  6. Chuck Foster Chuck F

    I had a 78 Vette, was a fun car. The value of this would depend on condition of the interior, mileage, and front end pics, hard to say without that info, unless you’re an armchair expert and visible surface rust means it’s worthless. The rear spoiler is interesting, they were standard on Indy Pace cars, and I haven’t seen many on non-Pace Cars, would make a good Indy 500 clone. Being Texas, I wouldn’t think the frame or birdcage would be rusty, again, more info needed before spouting off about it being worthless, to say so would make someone an uninformed idiot.

    Like 2
    • Steve R

      Don’t kid yourself.

      When driver quality projects are selling in the $5,000 to $6,000 range what do you think the value is of a similar make and model that’s abandoned for 20 years, doesn’t run and has a partially disassembled rear suspension? You may have an affection for these cars, but that doesn’t translate into value for someone else. What little value this car might have is negated by the work someone will put forth dragging a its carcass from its resting spot. You need to factor that in, whoever buys this will.

      Steve R

      Like 6
  7. ACZ

    Worse than junk. There is nothing of value here.

    Like 5
  8. Vince H

    Does not have a title. That alone would make this a parts car.

    Like 7
  9. Ray

    It’s to far gone doesn’t look good plus car to far gone why would you try restore it because not worth it all rust

    Like 3
  10. Roy L

    It should have said ran when crashed.

    Like 4
    • Jon Rappuhn

      “Ran when new”

      Like 3
  11. ACZ

    Maybe…….Ran away from the guy that did this to it.

    Like 1
  12. wcshook

    Make the man an offer.

    Like 1
  13. John

    “Jack up the radiator cap and run a new car under it”. My Dad’s favorite description of the various pieces of automotive history that I owned on the way to being able to own a new one. Seems like an appropriate fate for this rodent trap.

    Like 2

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