1968 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray L88 Convertible
$475,000 - $575,000
RM | Auctions - AUBURN FALL 29 AUGUST - 1 SEPTEMBER 2019 - Offered from the Jim Mangione Collection
- Offered from the Jim Mangione Collection
- One of just 80 L88 Corvettes produced for 1968
- Classic combination of British Green over saddle
- Well-documented example
- Restored by marque expert David Walters
The third-generation Chevrolet Corvette carried the seafaring theme of its predecessor into a new muscle-car era. Based on the Mako Shark II that General Motors paraded around in 1965, the new Corvette had far more pronounced wheel arches and a lower-slung shape than its predecessor. Coupes lost the sloping rear glass seen in the second-generation Corvette in favor of a smaller vertical pane ensconced by buttresses that sloped toward the Kamm-style tail. An optional hardtop for convertibles echoed the look.
Power underhood came from a host of small-block and big-block V-8s that started from a healthy 300 horsepower and rocketed skyward from there. After making a brief appearance as a competition engine in the last year of the outgoing body, Zora Arkus-Duntov ushered into production the L88 427-cubic-inch V-8. Officially Chevy denied that the engine could be ordered for street use and said it was intended for racing. That was the company line, at least. In reality 80 Corvettes fitted with the high-compression engine—far more powerful than its 430-horsepower factory rating suggested—snuck out, only a pair of which were campaigned. The race-derived engine was the brainchild of Zora Arkus-Duntov and had earned its stripes in endurance challenges at Sebring and Daytona.
The new Corvette was slippery, fast, and was even praised by contemporary media for its handling prowess. With the L88 V-8 underhood, the Corvette could vault to 60 mph in an astounding 4.2 seconds and needed just four more seconds to reach triple digits. Just eighty 1968 Corvette L88s were built.
Finished in its classic factory-specified British Green Poly over a saddle vinyl interior, this 1968 Corvette convertible’s visual elegance almost masks its underhood punch. Swing open its hood with its functional scoop, and the 427-cubic-inch L88 V-8—assembled in Tonawanda, New York, and fed by a Holley four-barrel carburetor—comes into view.
This well-documented example was delivered new to Harte Chevrolet in Meridian, Connecticut, optioned with hard and soft tops, rally wheels, and a mandatory radio and heater delete. It has remained under the careful watch of Corvette enthusiasts for five decades. The car was restored by David Walters and remains one of the finest extant.