In 1967, General Motors unleashed the third-generation of its crowd pleasing Chevrolet Corvette. It boasted big power, stunning visuals, and considering we’re still drooling over it today – long-lasting appeal.
However, strangely absent from Chevrolet sales material was one trim level, the L88, a car deemed a bit too extreme for its own good. And now over 40 years later, you can own one with a paltry 2,000 miles on the clock.
Set to cross Mecum’s Austin auction block on December 13, this immaculate black Corvette L88 comes from a time when automakers focused less on marketing committees and more on turning road cars into a proper racers.
Underneath its sculpted body, the Corvette L88 sports Chevrolet’s most potent engine of the day, a top-of-the-pile L88 427-cubic-inch V8, which churned out what Chevy claimed to be 430 horsepower, but was actually closer to 560 at its 6,500 rpm redline. The L88 cast iron block featured high compression, high-flow exhaust headers, a big Holley four-barrel carburetor, while the rest of the car fitted racing suspension and brakes. Racy indeed.
However, its race readiness earned it a reputation for being not the greatest driver’s car. L88s came from the factory without fan shrouds and became notorious for overheating in traffic. The lack of a choke meant idling became an endeavor until the engine reached proper temperature. And, of course, power steering, air conditioning, the heater and the radio were all omitted.
Though that’s neither here nor there, because once it got going, the L88 really put the power down. Chevrolet only offered the L88 package (priced around $5,470 in its day) for three years, from 1967 to 1969, and somewhat unsurprisingly didn’t sell many.
This one, a ’69 version, was one of just 116 sold in that final year. It sports a mere 2,000 miles on the odometer as well as a nicely finished restoration and all-original drivetrain. But you’d better start saving if you’d like to make it yours. A similar ’69 L88 sold a few months back for a staggering $680,000.