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1968 Corvette Convertible matching-numbers 427/4-speed *SOLD*


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*SOLD*

 

Before I go any farther here, I'm going to let you skip ahead and check the price. Go ahead, I'll wait...

 

Back? OK, so now you know this isn't a trailer queen. This '68 Corvette isn't even the kind of car I prefer to represent, because it needs some TLC, maybe quite a bit. It's a study in contrasts, but I have to admit that the more time I spend with it, the more I like it. First, the big stuff: matching-numbers L36 427/390, factory 4-speed, factory Rally Red convertible, two tops, and holy cow, does it run! It gets all the big stuff right, and that's why I agreed to put it in my showroom. It was owned by a gentleman in PA who sadly passed away a few years ago, leaving his beloved red Corvette to his young daughter. Daughter and widow dutifully kept the car until the daughter was 18 and she could decide what to do with it. Ultimately, she decided that someone else should care for her father's Corvette because it wasn't a car that she could drive, both because of its condition (running rough and no brakes) and because it's a manual steering and manual brakes car, so it's pretty manly. Thus it came to us.

 

We spent a lot of time and effort getting this roadster back into shape. We started by installing a new master cylinder and front calipers, so it stops well now. Once we were able to drive it, we spent some time tuning it up, and while at first it was grumpy and down on power, today all 390 horses show up ready to party. And partying is all this Corvette wants to do. I've taken it on a few test drives and I've never driven another car that begs to be bad as much as this one does. The L36 is pretty docile with a hydraulic cam, so it idles well and doesn't get fussy, but when you lean on it, you can hear that giant carburetor sucking in cubic yards of air. If you push through the hitch in the accelerator that tells you you're cracking the secondaries open, well, you'd better be sure it's aimed where you want it to go, because it takes off like it's been launched from the deck of the USS Nimitz. At that point, the nose goes up, the noise from behind turns into a baritone howl, and the tires scramble for traction. Yeah, I totally understand why guys love big block 'Vettes. The faster and harder you drive it, the better it works and the hardware feels virtually indestructible. I haven't abused it, but it feels like it'll take anything I dish out and hand me back an empty plate asking for seconds.

 

The fiberglass is in good condition but the repaint is only fair and it's got some age on it. We spent a lot of time cleaning and detailing the car after its long slumber, and the results are pretty good, certainly presentable, but it's not a show car. The chrome is all original and most of it is either pitted or just worn, so plan on starting there. The weather-stripping is also pretty much shot, so you'll need to replace most of that to get it really tight, but I'll admit that there are almost no squeaks and rattles and the superstructure feels quite robust, rare for an open 'Vette, particularly one from initial C3 year 1968. None of the vacuum stuff works, no headlights and no wiper door at the base of the windshield, so that should be on your list of things to address, too.

 

The interior is decent, and I bet the seat covers are original. There's a rip that was repaired decades ago but otherwise they're presentable and the foam underneath isn't totally crushed, so there's no need to replace anything immediately. The carpets are undoubtedly replacements and in good shape, and the door panels are decent, too. The gauges are haphazard: tach works, speedo doesn't and looks like someone painted the numbers with White-Out. Oil pressure gauge works, fuel gauge works if only to tell you when it's empty, and the temperature gauge has about a 10-degree sweep between ice cold and operating temperature, which might just be a sending unit thing. Shockingly, the clock works and every time I walk past this car in the shop, I hear it reliably ticking away. There's a later AM/FM/cassette stereo that uses a speaker box in the rear deck and it sounds decent, but you won't care after you hear the engine. And the top is fairly recent and looks pretty good with a clear rear window. It also includes a factory removable hardtop that's in OK condition but will need to be restored if you want to use it regularly.

 

No idea if the engine has been rebuilt, but I have personally verified that it's the original, numbers-matching L36 427/390. It doesn't look to have been modified beyond the addition of an HEI distributor. Carburetor is a big Rochester, not an aftermarket Edelbrock, the intake is stock, the cast iron manifolds are stock, and there's plenty of evidence of proper maintenance over the years. We did the usual stuff like plugs, wires, fluids, etc., but to be honest, the thing that did it the most good was simply getting it back on the road and putting some miles under the tires. The clutch is robust and doesn't chatter and it feels like it has tall highway gears in it, because it'll cruise along at 40 MPH in 2nd gear and with plenty of room left on the tach. Suspension is reasonably comfortable despite the Corvette's reputation for a buckboard ride and the brakes have been serviced. The Rally wheels aren't original, since they're staggered 7s and 8s, and they wear BFGoodrich radials with lots of life left in them. The chassis is crusty and grimy, but I don't see any major issues that should scare anyone away from using it as intended.

 

Yes, this is a project, but it's not a basket case. I would make the argument for a rolling restoration, because the car can be enjoyed right now and you'll have a few easy weekend projects and a few bigger jobs to tackle over the winter. But the DNA is strong because it's a matching-numbers 427 Corvette convertible in bright red with two tops and a 4-speed, and that, my friends, is the good stuff. And at only $24,900, you get an A-list piece of fantastic plastic with plenty of upside to pay for your sweat equity.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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