Although it was supposed to debut in 1967, the all-new Stingray was delayed a year, making 1968 Corvettes very special. In addition, the top engine, the L71 427/435, was also supposed to be part of the new car, but since it was ready to go, it landed on the 1967 options list. This '68 Stingray roadster packs its numbers-matching L71, a Muncie M21 4-speed manual, and both tops, not to mention a gorgeous red-on-red finish that screams Corvette performance.
No, we're not joking look at the price, now look at the pictures and believe me when I tell you that this is a matching-numbers L71 Corvette roadster that's ready to rock today.
Many Corvette enthusiasts regard the '68s as the purest of the C3 design, with delicate chrome bumpers, that swoopy bodywork, and the squared-off tail. This one has been beautifully restored using the correct code 974 Rally Red, of which a surprisingly low 2918 were built in '68. Corvettes can be challenging cars to restore, but fortunately the guys who did the bodywork on this one were experienced. Panels are in very good condition, and since this one was restored with an eye on driving it, they didn't waste the owner's money trying to perfect a car that was never perfect to begin with. Instead, they worked to duplicate the factory fit and finish, and yes, that means that some of the gaps aren't perfect. But go Bloomington Gold and look at the survivors, and you'll see more of the same, so it's hardly a demerit in the Corvette world. The Rally Red paint is brilliant, deep and rich, and it's probably safe to say that paint in 1968 never looked this good. The factory big block hood remains, and despite being on such an eye-popping design, it's somewhat more subdued than the big block stinger hoods of the outgoing C2 models.
Chrome was still in fashion in 1968, and the new Stingray sported quite a bit. The bumpers, both front and rear, have been refinished, as well as the delicate frames around the lower grilles. The big block hood sports subtle chrome-ringed vents and correct 427 badges, as well as crossed-flag emblems on the nose and gas cap. The stainless windshield surround has been polished, and the windshield itself appears to be new, along with the side window glass. Details like the lenses, door handles, and even the single driver's side mirror, have all been replaced with quality reproduction items.
If you're shopping for a first-year C3, the one you want is definitely the L71 427/435, and those with the greatest investment potential are cars with documented matching numbers. This one is definitely matching numbers throughout, with a detailed sheet describing all the numbers, casting codes, and date stamps on all the critical parts, proving that they are correct. The engine itself was rebuilt by Booth Arons in Detroit, Michigan, and uses the original 4-bolt block (18S403115, casting date T1007IR, October 7, 1967) as its foundation. The stock internals are more than robust, so they were machined to stock specs, and then it was topped with a set of aluminum Bow Tie cylinder heads and the original Tri-Power intake (3919852, casting date J67, October 1967) with Holley carburetors. GM dressed the L71 with plenty of flash, including chrome valve covers and that distinctive triangular air cleaner, and this one is dressed up even further with addition items like the chrome alternator and polished radiator with electric fans. You've probably also noticed the massive long-tube headers, which allow the big 427 to breathe deeply, as well as an upgraded Wilwood billet master cylinder to go with the upgraded brake system. The instant you turn the key on this one, you'll understand why the L71 is legendary, and if you don't get chills just listening to it idle, perhaps a Corvette is just too much car for you and you would be better served shopping at the Smart Car store.
The original M21 4-speed manual (3925660, casting date P8P19, September 19, 1967) lives behind the 427, and hangs on the original bell housing (18S403115, casting date October 1967). Out back, the original rear end (3871375, casting date H 8 7, August 8, 1967) even carries the original 4.11 gear set (3737957, casting date 2AU1 22 7, August 11, 1967). For a car built in late October 1967, that's just as good as it gets. The rest of the chassis has been thoughtfully upgraded with the intention of driving this mighty big block Corvette on the road. The rear spring is composite, replacing the heavy steel leaf spring, shocks are high-performance KYB units, and the 4-wheel disc brakes feature cross-drilled and slotted rotors for superior fade resistance. The exhaust follows the stock configuration, but uses larger tubing, a chambered center section, and high-performance mufflers out back that sound positively amazing. The original frame has been painted satin black to match the floors, making it low-maintenance. Wheels are beautiful chrome deep-dish Rally-style with Corvette center caps wearing 225/70/15 BFGoodrich T/A radials.
Equally stunning is the code 407 red vinyl interior, which is just as vivid as the body. The perforated vinyl is both comfortable and stylish, and the seats themselves have a very inviting, lived-in look that makes you want to slide behind the wheel and run the 427 through the gears. The matching console and dash have been nicely refinished, and all the gauges are fully functional. The door panels were replaced as well, and feature bright stainless detailing and knobs. Black carpets prevent red overload inside, and match the black canvas top overhead, which is in excellent condition. An upgraded digital AM/FM/cassette stereo has been added in the original location, but nothing was modified just in case you want to go back to 100% stock condition. And as I mentioned earlier, this is a two top car, so a matching red hardtop is also included, and it has been restored to match the standards of the rest of the car.
Documentation includes a build book full of receipts and photos of the restoration, including shots of the all-important casting numbers found throughout the car and which may not be easily seen now that it is assembled. It also includes a 1968 Corvette Assembly Manual, a stack of receipts, and a manual for the new radio.
You simply will not find a nicer, matching-numbers L71 roadster for less money anywhere. Correctly finished in its original colors, with the optional hardtop and a ton of functional upgrades, this is a driver's 427. Forget investments for a moment and think about the sound of those three carburetors at wide-open throttle, bellowing through that massive exhaust system it's enough to strike terror into anything with less than 500 horsepower on the street. Nevertheless, it's docile enough to drive every day, although you'll probably find that people can't keep their eyes off the brilliant red finish. If you're looking for a big block Vette that you can actually drive and enjoy, here it is, and for a bargain price. Call today!
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