1969 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
- L88 430 hp, 427 cu. in. V-8; one of only 116
- M22 four-speed manual transmission
- Tuxedo Black over saddle leather upholstery with tan soft top
- Highly desirable last year of the L88
All it took was ticking the right option boxes to transform a 1969 Corvette Stingray from a boulevardier into a ferocious performer. It would be a disservice to say that the handful of 1969 Chevrolet Corvettes ordered from the factory with the race-derived L88 427-cubic-inch V-8 were accidental, of course. Those future Corvette owners who specified the ultra-high compression big-block engine with its aluminum heads, high-capacity four-barrel carburetor, bespoke induction, and domed hood knew exactly what they were getting into.
What they may not have known was that 1969 would be the final year for the engine that had proven itself on the track. Officially, the engineers, lawyers, and product planners at General Motors specified that the L88 engine was for track use, but it was street legal and ran on standard pump fuel. Chevy rated the engine at 430 horsepower, a very conservative figure for an engine that really put out closer to 600 horsepower, and didn’t bother to advertise its existence in its contemporary marketing material. The L88 debuted for the 1967 model year and required those dealers willing to order one to jump through a few hoops. Dealers first had to select the performance suspension, positraction rear differential, and the biggest brakes available to handle an engine capable of vaulting the Corvette from a standstill to a quarter of a mile in less than 12 seconds. A radio and an air conditioner were not available. The engine was meant for track use, after all.
At $1,032.15 on top of the convertible’s base price, the option was neither for the faint of heart nor the light of wallet. Of course, few L88 Corvettes found their way to racetracks. Most instead were relatively loaded up as coupes or convertibles, and they terrorized late-1960s pavement.
This 1969 Corvette L88 Convertible, with its color combination of Tuxedo Black over saddle leather upholstery, is well-known in the Corvette community and is an eminently drivable example. The car presents well, and it retains special-order charms such as a radio-delete blank plate, a chrome knob for its M22 four-speed manual gearbox, and the L88-specific hood. Only 116 examples of the L88 were built for the final year of one of the most legendary motors ever put in a Corvette. This fine example represents a unique opportunity to enter into ownership of one of the rarest and most desirable Corvettes, the L88.