- 1 of only 116 L88s built in 1969
- Documented with its original tank sticker and Protect-O-Plate
- Bloomington Gold Special Collection participant in 1988 and 2008
- Factory equipped with the M22 “Rock Crusher” four-speed manual transmission, 4.56 Positraction rear end, K66 transistorized ignition, and J56 heavy-duty brakes
- Among the most desirable and valuable high-performance automobiles of the era
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1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible
In the Corvette realm, factory options and engine displacements can take an example to a whole new stratosphere and price range, and this 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible is the perfect example of that. Intended to be a high-winding street legal competition car built for maximum performance, the L88 Corvette was largely misunderstood by the public at its time of arrival in 1967, making them among the rarest Corvettes to come across today. As 1 of only 216 L88 Corvettes built during the model’s three-year production run, this example is even rarer, as it is 1 of just 116 examples produced in 1969.
The introduction of the L88 caused equal amounts of excitement and confusion among potential buyers with Chevrolet actively discouraging orders from anyone but professional racers with established relationships in Detroit. Cryptically designated as an “off-road vehicle” with a laughably conservative 430-horsepower rating and stiff pricing ($1,032 by 1969), the L88 appeared to the casual observer as being less powerful at twice the price of the readily available 435-horsepower, “Tri-Power” RPO L71 engine package. Even the exotic aluminum-head L89/L71 427 engine was less costly and seemingly easier to obtain at your friendly local Chevy dealer. However, the L88 was sold short to the public, as it produced well over 500 horsepower in reality and was the most powerful Vette one could acquire.
The incredible power delivered by the L88, and the Corvette’s outstanding handling and uncanny balance made these thinly disguised racing cars capable of using every bit of the L88 engine’s monstrous output. According to conservative test results, the L88 Corvette was more than capable of breaking the 150-mph barrier straight from the showroom floor. According to Tony DeLorenzo, one of the most successful Corvette L88 racers in the period, a 155-mph straightaway blast at an early race was sufficient to deter his dad – a GM marketing executive at the time – from attending his races for the next two years. With proper gearing, stickier tires and some basic tuning, plus a competent driver, 11-second elapsed times in the quarter mile were easily achieved with the L88.
For 1969, a total of 38,762 Corvettes were produced, accounting for just 0.003 percent of all production, the L88 was the rarest Vette one could lay eyes on. According to its NCRS Shipping Data Report, this example was built on December 9th, 1968, at the Saint Louis, Missouri plant. After taking ownership, the original owner, a resident of the state of Michigan would embark on a 6,000-mile round trip to Alaska in the spring of 1969. Upon his return to Michigan, this L88 was sold to an amateur race car driver and was used as a drag car. The third owner would take ownership in 1986 and shortly after commission a body-off-the-frame restoration, including sourcing a period-correct replacement engine, which is documented with photos and would be completed in 1988. Once completed, to no surprise, this Fathom Green L88 was invited and displayed in the prestigious Bloomington Gold Special Collection, one of the most exclusive invitations a Corvette can receive. Under the same owner, this 1969 L88 Convertible was invited back in 2008 to be displayed in the Bloomington Gold Special Collection as part of the L88 Invasion.
Aside from the desirable 500-plus horsepower 427-cubic-inch L88 V-8 engine, factory options and features are extensive with this example, as confirmed by its original fuel-tank sticker. Options include the M22 “Rock Crusher” heavy-duty four-speed manual transmission, F41 special performance front and rear suspension, J56 heavy-duty brakes, K66 transistor ignition, 4.56 Positraction rear-end, A82 headrests and a factory heater. In addition to its black factory-fitted soft convertible top, this Corvette was also ordered new with a desirable color-matched Fathom Green C07 auxiliary hardtop.
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