Running Project: 1976 Corvette Sting Ray

The third generation of the Chevy Corvette would run from 1968-82 and is referred to as the C3. The styling of the sports car harks back to the Mako Shark. A car that struggled to find its way in the 1950s was now consistently selling north of 40,000 units every year. This 1976 edition may need some ongoing tinkering but runs and is not a garage queen having seen 156,000 miles. It’s available in Phoenix, Arizona, and here on craigslist for the firm price of $8,000.

For the Corvette, the energy crisis of 1973-74 led to the discontinuance of the big-block V8 engines. For 1976, there were only two powerplant choices, a 350 cubic inch V8 that delivered either 180 hp (L-48) or 210 hp (L-82), the former being in the seller’s car. At 46,558 units built in 1976, that would surprisingly be the Corvette’s best sales yet despite the buying public’s shift to more fuel-efficient transportation. If you had the money to cover the $7,605 sticker price for the ’76 Corvette, you didn’t care what gas cost.

Physically, the car changed little from the 1975 model, with some fine-tuning that resulted in a more attractive overall package. Increased interest in the Corvette may have come from a thinning of the herd among the muscle car offerings by Chevrolet and its competitors. Put another way, while you could no longer get a Mopar with a Hemi, a Corvette was still a Corvette, even with a small block.

The seller’s ’76 ‘Vette, finished in classic white, appears to be in original condition, including its T-tops and automatic transmission. It still has good oil pressure and passes emissions tests, but the seller says he’s letting the car move on because he’s tired of working on it. He doesn’t allude to what that means or of any work that stills needs to be done. But he figures his asking price is more than fair for a 45-year-old sports car that been garage kept.

It’s interesting to note that even though he keeps the Chevy in a garage, he still has a Lo-Jack-style lock on the steering wheel to prevent the car from being moved without permission. While it appears to be in overall good condition, the paint is showing its age under closer inspection. Scratches here and nicks there. Hagerty’s average resale price of a Corvette of this vintage is just shy of $10,000 and the upscale limit is $25,000, so there’s room for some degree of restoration work.


  1. Skorzeny

    I don’t want anything to do with this. You had DECADES to get rid of that stupid luggage rack and didn’t, and it’s an automatic. In 50+ years you know how many times I saw something on a Corvette luggage rack? Not once.

    Like 4
    • JoeNYWF64

      & how many times have u seen a luggage rack on a split window vette, much less anything tied to it? I don’t know if u r a trekkie, but imagine if THIS ’63 was for sale, say a few block away – for a good price …
      I agree – it’s the worst accessory for any vette & 1 that leaves some terrible scars when you remove it.

      Like 0
      • Husky

        I rather have a towing bar than a luggage rack in my Vette.

        Like 1
    • moosie moosie

      Funniest thing I ever saw was C2 convertible with a luggage rack holding up a side to side pick-up tool box. It was so big and out of place looking. From the rear you couldn’t see the windshield or passenger compartment, P.S. I do not like the luggage rack on any Corvette. If you have that much luggage, buy an S U V or a station wagon.

      Like 0
    • Billy


      RE- Route -66

      Don’t tell Buz Murdock or Tod Stiles how you feel about a luggage rack on a Corvette unless you are ready step outside and back it up.

      Seriously, all the Corvette on the show had luggage racks.

      Like 0
      • JoeNYWF64

        Even on ’63 split windows? – see my other post above.
        IMO, installing a luggage rack on a ’63 is like touching up the Mona Lisa with crayons. lol

        Like 0
  2. Raymond

    If you put luggage on it, then you can’t put gas in it….

    Like 0
  3. Moparman Member

    That’s not a Lo-Jack, it’s a Club, and it has proven to be easily removed by an experienced car thief! Lo-Jack is a hidden transmitter that can be activated to locate a stolen vehicle.

    Like 3
  4. MFerrell

    It’s really a T-top rack, leaving room for luggage inside with tops off. They never bothered me.

    This is the type of Vette I’d go for, one that’s not afraid of some miles. I’d embrace the GT nature of this car, would make a fun day trip car. Maybe as I get older, I’ll trade my fire-breathing beast of a ’71 for a more comfortable one like this. Maybe one day… but not just yet ; )

    Like 5
  5. Steve Clinton

    If you can’t say anything nice…

    Like 2
  6. Ike Onick

    $8,000 for the most vanilla of the “Vanilla-Era” Corvettes? I hope the seller gets every penny!

    Like 0
  7. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    I had a friend who bought one identical to this in 76, brand new. No, not a beast, but a nice cruiser overall. Until he started leaving it parked outside in the winter in (very) upstate NY.

    For me, my second Vette was a 77, also mild, also very enjoyable. Often, on a sunny day I would strap those t-tops onto the luggage rack and head out.

    And they looked very cool, thank you.

    Like 4

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