Rare Big-Block: 1968 Chevrolet Corvette

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Hiding in this garage is a C3 Corvette that is more than a pretty face. First impressions are that it is a tidy and clean driver, but we must delve below the surface to discover its party piece. Chevrolet offered some potent engines that year, with this car featuring one of the rarest and best. It needs a new home, with the seller listing it here on Craigslist in Phoenix, Arizona. They set a price of $75,000, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L. for spotting this desirable classic.

Once it emerged from the garage, this Corvette makes a positive first impression. Its Black paint shines nicely, although a close inspection reveals a few flaws and fiberglass defects. None are severe, and the new owner could preserve the car untouched. The seller confirms that the current shade isn’t original, with the ‘Vette rolling off the line resplendent in Corvette Bronze. They float the idea of a repaint, and although that sounds like an unnecessary expense, it could prove worth it as we dig below the surface. The frame is rust-free, with the car splitting its life between California and Arizona. The original bumpers sparkle following a recent trip to the platers. The remaining trim is excellent, as is the glass. The hood sports “427” badges, hinting that this Corvette is more than just a pretty face. However, they only tell part of the story of what lurks in the engine bay.

Corvette buyers in 1968 faced a broad selection of engines to power their new purchase. However, few created the impact of the L89 when its owner rolled it off the lot and onto our roads. The L89 is essentially the L71 version of the 427ci big-block, fitted with optional aluminum cylinder heads. Those heads improve engine breathing while reducing weight. It was not a cheap choice, with only 624 buyers spending the additional $805.75 for this powerhouse. That represents a take-up rate of 2.2%, making the 435hp L89 one of the rarest option choices in 1968. It was also one of the fastest, taking a blistering 13.3 seconds to scorch the ¼-mile. That number was devastating in 1968 and remains competitive against many modern offerings. The seller doesn’t use the phrase “numbers-matching” when describing this car, although they provide that impression. The big-block received a recent rebuild, with the seller sinking over $15,000 into that exercise. The ‘Vette runs and drives well and is a turnkey proposition for its new owner. The seller holds documentation confirming the mechanical configuration, including the original Tank Sticker and partial Build Sheet.

Another aspect of this Corvette requiring nothing is its interior. The first owner ordered it trimmed in Tobacco, and the seller recently fitted new seatcovers, door trims, and carpet in the correct shade and material. The remaining components are original, leaving the inside of this classic presenting extremely well. It has no apparent needs, and only a perfectionist might feel inclined to perform any further restoration work. The first owner ticked some desirable boxes with this car, equipping it with power windows, a tilt/telescopic wheel, and an AM/FM radio.

I have been privileged to write about many C3 Corvettes during my years at Barn Finds, but I believe this is my first featuring the L89 under the hood. Its performance would have been devastating when new, and it would still command respect today. The car isn’t perfect, but it is a tidy driver that would draw admiring glances. The seller raises the prospect of repainting the ‘Vette in its original shade, and that might seem an added expense for any classic in this price bracket. However, with a potential six-figure value in the offing, the cost would seem justified if they achieve a high-end finish. Do you agree?

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Nice car! While I’m not a die hard black enthusiast it looks good on this car. As good a condition the paint is in I wouldn’t change the color but if the new owner can afford the price I assume she/he could afford the change. Either way, great Vette.

    Like 13
    • Randy jones

      The L89 is a rare set up.manyv427 iron heads motors are just fine.motors..the tri pod carbs..well if you want em.you can buy em…it’s always what the buyer wants..I’m fine with a holley 780 carb..it runs great and a 4speed is plenty…it’s your 100k..

      Like 4
  2. Bruce

    I had a 68 Camaro SS396/375 with the Aluminum Head L89 option.

    Like 11
    • George Mattar

      If this beauty was still Corvette Bronze it would bring close to $95,000 or more. 68s and later bumper cars are finally bringing their due. Still has A.I.R. which usually got tossed back in the day.

      Like 1
    • Joseph Cappello

      I love these C3, while though rare even if I had the funds classic cars have gone up way to much, everybody wants jack up the price, the owner wants 75 grand well maybe I’d give half that. Beautiful car though.

      Like 1
    • Ffred

      Did all the 1968 375 horse have aluminum heads? A friend of mine bought one in 1973 and pulled the engine and installed a small block, He then traded it back in for a Monte Carlo! The engine went to a friend to put in his Camero.

      Like 0
      • Bruce

        No only 212 Aluminum headed 396/375 were built

        Like 0
  3. CCFisher

    Too bad it wasn’t originally painted black. Only 708 Corvettes wore Tuxedo Black paint in 1968. It would have added another layer to the rarity. Corvette Bronze was one of the more popular choices in 1968.

    Like 5
  4. SirRaoulDuke

    I dig the period pinstripes, but this car would be outstanding in bronze over tobacco. L89 manual, woo boy!

    Like 11
  5. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Wowww! One year only car with some great options in what appears to be great condition. Hope it gets all the money

    Like 4
  6. PRA4SNW

    I can’t speak about the value of the L89, so not sure if 75K is in the ballpark. A repaint to the really nice Bronze would be in order if all of the money is desired.

    The build sheet is really nice to have. The one off of my ’70 was in about this same shape – they were located on top of the gas tank, so anything you can manage to save is great.

    Like 0
  7. Michael Huntley

    Over the years I owned 3 LT1’s and 1 400hp 69 . Love them but
    today’s prices are out of my range.

    Like 3
    • Mike J

      This car won’t be for sale long at that price.

      Like 2
  8. Brian

    75k is the low end of retail for this car. Probably due to the repaint. Still, for that much money the numbers have to match. Make sure it hasn’t been hit. A good repaint won’t be cheap. Has potential.

    Like 0

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