Editor’s note: This is the third in a 30-day sponsored series featuring cars to be sold January 23-31 during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction.
A total of 216 L88 Corvettes were produced during 1967-1969 as what was essentially a factory racing option, powered by the 427/430 horsepower V8 and heavy-duty four-speed transmission. The L88 package for the Corvette included all the ingredients to allow the everyday driver to destroy any potential competition at local track events, while the pros were able to dominate the 12 hours of Sebring, 24 hours of Daytona, FIA GT and the SCCA A Production Competition.
Besides the 427 and the four-speed, the L88 boasts a Positraction rear, heavy-duty suspension, heavy-duty power brakes, a special cooling system and a raised fresh-air induction hood.
This particular L88, one of 116 examples built in 1969, is well-known among Corvette historians. After being custom-ordered by the son of a wealthy Kentucky tobacco family who decided not to take delivery for personal reasons, the car ended up in Tennessee.
The promoter of the Knoxville Corvette Expo, Bryan Cooper, bought it in 1977 and in turn offered it to Corvette authority Paul Kitchen, which is when the two dropped the gas tank and found the all-important tank sticker. Removed for safekeeping, the sticker remained with Kitchen when the car was sold again, but it was reunited with the vehicle in November 1987. (Recently, David Burroughs and his “Prove It” process were employed to scientifically verify the sticker’s authenticity.)
The car was placed in storage for almost 25 years, until February 2012, when it was delivered to restoration expert Roger Gibson, who performed an all-encompassing frame-off restoration totaling 5,100 hours in a 19-month period.
This spectacular machine has been returned to its as-built state with correct Le Mans Blue paint and matching bright blue interior, with a black vinyl auxiliary hardtop as well.
The extensive use of NOS pieces and preservation of original components combined with a carefully executed driveline restoration, including the open-chamber head L88 engine (underrated at 430hp) and M22 aluminum-case 4-speed. In October 2014, this meticulously restored and detailed rarity commanded a high 98.1 score in Top Flight NCRS judging.
The car comes with several signed documents noting its past history, including one from the original intended buyer, two three-ring binders showing the work done by Gibson with accompanying receipts, an NCRS shipping report and NCRS validation service. It also comes with the “Prove It” report and the original tank sticker.
Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Anniversary Scottsdale Auction, January 23-31 at WestWorld of Scottsdale, will feature over 1,400 vehicles, most selling at No Reserve. For information on becoming a bidder, visit Barrett-Jackson.com/bid or call 480-421-6694.