It’s not often that someone has the chance to buy a genuine piece of automotive history, with complete documentation since new to prove its heritage.
But that’s what bidders at the upcoming RM Auction in Phoenix, Arizona will have a chance to do on January 18, 2013.
Being offered is one of only 80 L88 Corvettes manufactured in 1968, and RM can trace the history of the most powerful Corvette of the muscle car era back to the original owner.
The car features the legendary 427 L88 engine that produced a massive 540-hp and delivered 0-60 times of 4.2 seconds and 0-100 runs under 10 seconds. This example earned a Bloomington Gold certification in 1988 and is an NCRS Top Flight Award winner. L88 expert Tim Thorpe recently gave the engine compartment a $16,000 refreshening.
It goes without saying that this is a numbers matching car, one of the few L88s left that still has its original motor.
The L88 was the crown jewel in the “big block” Mark IV engine program that began with a 396 V8 in 1965. Next came the 427 in 1966, basically a 396 with a larger 4.25 bore, an 11:1 compression ratio, and an advertised 425-hp.
Chevrolet wasn’t satisfied with that, however, and came up with the L71 in 1967, a 427 with three two-barrel carburetors that made 435-hp. Another engine came in the form of the L89, which featured aluminum heads and was essentially an option for the optional L71 engine. That same year, Chevy went one better with the L88, based on the 427 but with 12.5:1 compression and a single Holley four-barrel carburetor that delivered 560-hp.
With a new body style being offered in 1968, the L88 returned, with 80 people opting for that engine despite its nearly $1,000 price tag.
One of those buyers was the father of Carl Schettler of Salt Lake City, Utah, who gave it to his son as a college graduation present. As required for all L88s, the car has the M22 “rock crusher” four-speed manual transmission, the J50/J56 heavy duty power four-wheel disc brakes, a 4:11 positraction rear end, the F41 special purpose suspension, an N11 off-road exhaust, and a transistorized ignition. The car listed for $5,589, confirmed by both the original order for the car and the tank sticker. The original owner’s manual is also still with the car.
Schettler sold the car to a college friend in 1971, then got it back sometime between 1973 and 1974. Over the next three years, the car passed through three owners in Alaska before Bob Fattore sold it in 1987 to “Corvette Mike” Vietro. The current owners bought it in 2008 and have continued to remain careful stewards of this Corvette, one of only 216 L88s made from 1967 to 1969.
In the 1988 Bloomington Special Collection, the car earned 99.0 points out of 100. NCRS documentation from Oct. 23, 2012 verifies the authenticity of the tank sticker.
The black interior was restored to original in 1987 by Nabers Brothers.
RM’s Arizona auction will be held on the grounds of the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa on Saturday, January 18th. Visit www.rmauctions.com for more information and to view selected lots.
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