Worth Fixing? 1970 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

A 1970 Chevrolet Corvette is generally a desirable specimen, but when it has frame rot and has clearly been sitting outside for years, is the juice worth the squeeze? This example has been sitting in the previous owner’s backyard for at least six years and certainly looks it. However, it does have a numbers matching 350 and a four-speed manual – not to mention, it’s a convertible. Do these features alone make this one worth restoring? Find it here on eBay with bids to $2,000 and the option to Buy-It-Now for $6,000.

It looks slightly better not sitting on its belly in the weeds, but it’s clear this Corvette has been someone’s project for many years before it ended up stuck in the backyard. The paintwork is obviously quite rough, the flip-up headlights stuck in the open position, and a non-factory hood with power bulge sits in place of the original. The Corvette also features side-exit exhausts and a factory hardtop, which hasn’t done much in the way of keeping the interior from becoming a jungle (more on that below). The seller notes that the front end was “changed” at some point to look more modern and that there is rust in the front portion of the frame. There’s also a chunk of bodywork missing above the passenger-side rear wheel.

The amount of vegetation that has clawed its way in is impressive and speaks to how long this Corvette has been parked. The description notes the seller purchased the Corvette in the 1980s and that it has spent the last few years stationary and apparently serving as a planter for unruly plant life. The listing laughably notes that the Corvette is occasionally used for weekend drives, which I can only interpret to mean it was used for weekend romps before the owner decided to park the car for decades for unknown reasons. The dash at least doesn’t appear to have too many cracks, but there is an aftermarket stereo in the center stack – hopefully, that won’t deter you from bidding.

The 350 is clearly in need of an overhaul, but thankfully, it’s likely one of the cheaper engines to tear down and rebuild in your garage should you desire to preserve its numbers-matching status. Truthfully, it may make the most sense to simply yank it own and put it on a stand, and then drop in a crate engine replacement. The bodywork and frame will both need repair, and that’s before you get into the interior and general cosmetics. Is a 1970 Corvette convertible with a four-speed and hardtop worth that kind of effort? Note: the seller has it listed as a 1969, but has amended the post to reflect that it is actually a 1970 model. 

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Comments

  1. Arthell64 Member

    If the frame has rust you can bet the birdcage is rusted. .

    Like 18
    • daniel wright

      I would wager that the phrase is “Former Birdcage”

      Like 17
  2. GuernseyPagoda Member

    In the words of Denzel Washington, “Can someone explain to me like I am five years old, why someone would park a car like this with the windows down?” I don’t get it at all. Ever.

    Like 44
    • Bill McCoskey

      I can understand if the car had power windows and the battery was kaput. But this car has crank windows! This is an indication that the previous or current owner simply didn’t give a Sh*t about the car.

      This car is simply not worth the time, effort & expense to put it back on the road. Parts Car.

      Like 8
  3. flmikey

    There comes a point when a car is no longer restorable, and this, my friends, is a perfect example of said car…this car is junk with a capital junk…

    Like 27
  4. ChevyTruckGuy

    It’s ACTUALLY a 1973. And it’s ACTUALLY unbelievable that the owner thinks it’s worth $6K!!! This poor ol’ girl needs to be put out of her misery!! I don’t see how the frame or birdcage would be salvageable.

    Like 23
    • Arthur

      In the case of the birdcage, that question may most likely be answered by disassembling the entire car and having the birdcage media blasted. If by some miracle the birdcage is still fixable, companies like Corvette Central and Paragon Corvette have the parts to do the necessary repairs.

      After that, and if the body can be repaired, it would probably be better to get a replacement frame, either OEM or aftermarket, as in Art Morrison or Roadster Shop.

      I wonder, though, if anyone has ever thought of fabricating a Corvette C3 birdcage from scratch by hand. It would be nice if someone could, as it would make things easier.

      Like 4
    • gbvette62

      The title shown in the ad says 1970. It appears to have part of a 73-74 nose added to it. Besides the title, the 68-72 “horseshoe” front bumper support can be seen in the front license opening, and it has a 68-72 lower front valance, not a 73-74. It’s not to uncommon to find 68-72’s with noses from later rubber bumper cars on them. In the 80’s & 90’s they were a lot cheaper to buy than a correct one.

      I’ve seen a lot of rusted Corvette frames in the last 40 + years, but this one has to be one of the worse! The front crossmember is so rusted that the lower a-arms have fallen off, there’s no frame left to support them. Rust in the rear spring has caused the spring to expand twice it’s side and de-arch. Most of both rear bumpers are completely rusted away too. With that much rust easily seen, I’m scared to think how much is hidden from view. The way the top front of the passenger door is pulled out from the body, I’m assuming the right hinge pillar is gone, and if so, it’s a safe bet the rest of the birdcage is gone.

      Worth fixing? I don’t think so, I own a Corvette parts business and I wouldn’t give a $1000 to part it out.

      Like 25
  5. Arby

    Anyone who lets their car degrade to this condition deserves nothing – 0 – nada for their “effort”.

    Like 15
  6. Doug from MD.

    Maybe Barn Finds should have a sister site called Salvage Finds. That’s where this heap belongs in a salvage dump. Heartbreaking to see this.

    Like 19
  7. Mike

    Should have done a no reserve and move it along.

    Like 9
    • Phlathead Phil

      How about we invent something like “Negative Reserve” where the seller pays buyer?

      Incredible to see Ivy vines growing inside of a Corvette.

      Sacrilege I say… SHAME on whomever let this one go!

      Like 10
  8. JM Tidwell

    Parts car, nothing else. Engine, trans, and rear end might be good.

    Like 2
  9. CraigR

    Better get a parts list together if you want it for the weekend.

    Like 1
  10. art

    I too, do not understand why someone would do this to a car, especially a Corvette. Just give it away vs letting it rot away in your yard.
    As for open windows, in the day when I wandered through the old time junkyards, I’d always roll up any open windows, close the doors, trunk lids and/or hoods in an effort to preserve what’s left and these were not my cars.
    Why would an owner leave windows open? Idiot.

    Like 21
    • DuesenbergDino

      I think it is like the show Hoarders. I’m trying to be polite but they have a mental imbalance as to value and usability or junk. Even if well intentioned professionals assist them in trying to declutter or stop hoarding, they don’t understand. The brain tells them someday i will “fix it up”, “sell it”, “leave it in my will” etc. And they can’t see that the stuff is rotting into the ground with no hope of ever being of value again. It’s just really sad to see humans live like this.

      Like 4
    • DON

      And I thought I was the only guy that did that !

  11. bud lee

    It was only used on weekends . As as a picnic table ,workbench or jungle gym .

    Like 17
  12. Jay

    Please weed the car before pictures………

    Parts car

    Like 12
  13. nonoz

    I had a nice 70 convert with LT-1 hood… ended up somewhere in Gilroy. :(

    Like 2
  14. Randy

    Wow, nearly at $2250 — someone really wants that hardtop!

    Like 4
  15. John

    When I was in junior high, we used up many study-hall (aka, detention) hours speculating as to what it would cost to build a complete car from the Chevy dealer’s parts cataogue.

    The buyer of this “car” will get to find out. It needs one of everything.

    Like 5
  16. mjf

    Hmmm Car cover only cost $75 bucks….

    Like 1
  17. Russ Ashley

    I wonder what the real story is on this car. It looks like the title lein release was signed by the “recovery controller” if I’m reading it right. I don’t think I’ve ever seen rust that bad, makes me wonder if there was a flood where this car was.

    Like 3
  18. A.J.

    Can’t believe that it’s been bid up to $2200! There isn’t $2200 worth of parts on this poor thing. I’ll bet it gets relisted as soon as the winning bidder sees it.

    Like 2
  19. C5 Corvette

    WHAT! “This 1969 Chevrolet Corvette is an original. The owner has had it for 1 year. The vehicle needs work and is mainly used for weekend drives.” This is a quote from the ad.
    They might have just as well parked it on the beach and let the salt water have at it. What a waste! I suppose the hood and top can be salvaged. Other than that try to salvage some parts.
    1K tops!

    Like 7
  20. schooner

    An aftermarket radio would deter my bidding? The aftermarket radio might be the only thing here worth bidding on.

    Like 7
  21. Stephen Puglisi

    This is prime candidate for diesel swap .
    Not sure if anyone has tried this in a Vette of this age.

    Like 1
  22. JagManBill

    in a similar type of situation, I bought a Europa that had been under water. I’m guessing where it came from it was “salted down” by Hurricane Sandy. It was so rusty the front suspension pickups had completely rusted off. On the surface, it didn’t look to bad. But we ended up just stripping of what we could salvage and scrapping it. Even a few backbone wasn’t going to save it. All the electrical connections, gauges, etc were rusted either away or headed that way.
    Too bad for this one as well.

    Like 1
  23. Alan Loncto

    It looks like this is a flood car, everything under the hood is rusted! Parts car at best.

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey

      Alan Loncto,

      Being a flood car is a real possibility, given where the car is located, a region that typically floods every dozen or so years from hurricanes.

      Like 1
  24. ACZ

    Send it to the shredder.

    Like 1
  25. wooky

    Geez, with the rusty frame not even able to hold the front suspension in place (and it gets even worse) the only thing sitting there is a Corvette fiberglass shell (and part of it is toast). No mention if the engine turns over (I’d bet the oil pan is rusted out too). I don’t know if there is a market for rust salvage because there ain’t much metal left

    Like 2
  26. JohnA

    Wow, its up to $25k. insane.

    Like 2
  27. Kenn

    Come on guys, its NUMBERS MATCHING. That’s always important if I read the comments correctly here. Although, there is no mention of ORIGINAL MILES, now that I think of it. Guess that’s why the bidding is so low.

    Like 1
    • ACZ

      That’s true. The number of pounds of rust match the number of pounds of metal match on this car(?).

      Like 2
  28. piston poney

    ohh come on it’s original rust, and numbers matching this car should be up to 5 grand

    • schooner

      I’d want a chemical analysis of the rust to ensure that it is year correct before bidding.

  29. 71TTop

    Why save it? Because they aren’t making them anymore.

    • karl

      They aren’t making Yugos anymore either……

  30. Michael J. B. Webster

    I would like to see the car restored. Not to make money for re-sale. That would not work.. It is a 1970, a convertible, original motor and a 4-speed. It will take a lot of work, obviously. But with the correct effort, a lot of reward. I hope someone will do the right thing and at least get it on the road again.

  31. Jim Z Member

    “Has rust on frame”….understatement of the century!

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