Corvette History Through Ads: Perpetual Emotion

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by Rick Tavel
Special to Corvette Forum

? 7-10-2013 All rights reserved, do not duplicate without permission.

 

The first year advertising for the new C3 concentrated on educating the consumer to the new features and styling of America’s sports car. In 1968, both the body style and interior were all new while the engine offerings, suspension and braking were carryovers from the 1967 Corvette. But the performance was not overlooked in the marketing of the car, although it was much more subdued than during the final years of the C2 production. And when this ad refers to ?all that energy under the hood,? they are most likely alluding to the most potent and powerful engine ever offered in a production car, the legendary L88.

The 427 cubic inch L88 was first offered as a regular production option on the 1967 Corvette and though officially advertised as producing 430 HP and 460 ft/lbs or torque, according to SAE the engine actually produced 550 to 570 HP and 460 ft/lbs of torque.  The compression ratio of the 1968 L88 was 12.8:1 and in 1969 12.9:1. The engine sucked in air through one massive 850 cfm Holley 4 bbl. carburetor.
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Only 20 L88s were ordered for the last year of the C2′s but eighty customers checked the L88 box and 119 more in 1969, the final year the mighty engine was offered as a regular production option. Of the total 216 L88 Corvettes produced less than half are still known to exist.
Today, L88s are highly coveted by collectors and bring in excess of $500,000 when one does appear on the market. This past January, Mecum’s Kissimmee auction saw a red L88 convertible sell for $550,000 and the legendary 1968 Owens-Corning L88 race car sold at Barrett-Jackson’s in Scottsdale for $1 million.
So with the revolutionary new body style, redesigned interior and the potent power plants under the hood there was a lot to keep the Corvette enthusiast in ?perpetual emotion?.