Super Rare 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Barn Find Gets Rescued for Full Restoration

hace 7 meses, 1 semana - 12 octubre 2023, autoevolution
Super Rare 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Barn Find Gets Rescued for Full Restoration
Most barn finds we see today are usually mundane classics that aren't necessarily worth saving. However, rare vehicles still pop up from time to time. This 1969 Chevrolet Corvette is one of them.

Built in almost 39,000 units, the 1969 Corvette is anything but rare overall. But this production run also included a few rare gems that saw daylight in very limited numbers. That's right, this Corvette is not a run-of-the-mill sports car.

It was born with a 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) L88, and it's one of only 116 cars that left the factory with this legendary mill. What's more, it's one of only 17 L88s fitted with an automatic transmission. In short, it's one of the rarest Corvettes ever made, regardless of the model year.

Based on the big-block 427 that Chevrolet offered in the Corvette and its full-size cars starting in 1966, the L88 arrived in 1967. Featuring a race-spec cam, high-flow aluminum heads, and competition-grade internals, the V8 sent 430 horsepower to the rear wheels, as much as the ZL1. It was slightly less potent than the 435-horsepower L71 and L89, but the L88 was built with racing in mind.

The massive lump found its way into only 20 Corvettes during the 1967 model year. In 1968, when Chevy had just introduced the third-gen Corvette, 80 customers opted for the beefed-up powerplant. The L88 was retired after the 1969 model year when 116 units were sold.

Come 2023, the L88 is one of the most desirable and expensive C3 Corvette ever built. It's right up there with the ZL1, ZR1, and ZR2, all of which were sold in minimal numbers and fitted with rare options. So I can't help but get excited when such a rare gem emerges into the light after years and years in storage.

And this Corvette spent quite a lot of time in darkness because it was parked in the late 1970s. That's about 45 years off the road, enough to turn any classic into a pile of junk. This one got lucky, though, as it took almost a half-century of storage like a champ.

Sure, the car has been taken apart and repainted twice, but the shell is in top-notch condition. And according to the previous owner, it was never crashed. How did it end up like this? Well, the Vette was dismantled in preparation for a new paint job. Apparently, the owner got tired of the blue paint and wanted to finish it in black. But life got in the way, and he never got around to doing it.

Some 52 years after he bought it, the second owner decided it was time to let it go and contacted the folks over at Horsepower Depot. His choice is far from surprising, given that our hosts have built and drag-raced quite a few L88 replicas over the years.

The Chevy has since been parked in their garage and unlike the L88 clones stored next to it, it will get a rotisserie restoration to original specifications. It will also be repainted in its original green color, so we're most likely looking at a future Concours d'Elegance winner. That's precisely the kind of news I want to hear about a barn-found L88.

But until that happens, check it out in its as-found condition in the video below. The previous owner also explains what makes it special and talks about the car's early years on the road and at the drag strip.

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