In 1967 Mr. R.H. Pohl was looking for a hot new car, the best performer he could find. His neighbor and friend was G.M. general manager Ed Cole, who recommended one machine above all others: the Corvette L89. Pohl took the advice, and Cole placed the order for the car, which was delivered to Frank Diver Chevrolet in Wilmington, Delaware, in May, 1967. Although it arrived without fanfare, employees recall that it was accompanied by more special handling instructions than anyone had ever seen, all of them directly from Ed Cole. The car also came with a lofty price tag of about $6500.00, enough to bag a 427 Cobra or an E-Type Jaguar.
The L89, of course, was like no other street Corvette. Only 16 came off the assembly line with that RPO, which began with the L71 435 HP Tri Power 427, a $437.10 option, and added a pair of aluminum high-flow heads from the famous L88 for another $389.65. The result was a true power rating somewhere north of 475 HP, and a better front-rear weight bias than the cast-iron 327 Vette. In addition, Pohl's Corvette was generously outfitted by Cole for the ultimate driving experience, with finned wheels, F41 suspension and a 3.55 Positraction rear end. That gear ratio would enable a top speed of 142 mph, a figure backed up by Pohl, who reported having seen 135-140 on the speedometer.
A February, 1986 Auto Week story described the car as then belonging to Phillipsburg, NJ Ford dealer Mark Kenyon. It was subsequently offered on consignment by a dealer in Pompano Beach, FL, from whom it was seized along with the rest of the inventory by the federal government in a law case. It was later recovered from a government asset sale, and then restored in 1996 by D&M Corvette in Downer's Grove, IL.
This eminently collectible L89 Corvette is accompanied by extensive documentation including copies of the original paperwork and Protect-O-Plate. Of special note is a letter dated 1982 from first owner Pohl answering a questionnaire about the car from Don Nicita of Wyckoff, NJ, who had just purchased it and wanted information for its records. Among other things Pohl confirmed the following:
Finally, asked if there was anything else Nicita should know about the car, Pohl answered that it was the last of the great hi-performance Corvettes, which had been killed off, in Pohl's blunt words, "by the round heads at the EPA."
While it has since been joined by a new generation of superb high-performance Corvettes, the L89 will always be the greatest road-going Corvette of its time, with this gorgeous Goodwood Green treasure carrying particular stature as the car ordered by Ed Cole himself as "the ultimate".
The Ed Cole car has been expertly restored to Concours condition, with no detail spared in its renewal. Having driven the car in both traffic and on the open road, this writer can attest not only to its wonderful presentation but also to its outstanding manners and performance. Its present owner is a passionate car guy whose reverence for this particular Corvette immediately surfaces every time he discusses it, for reasons that become more numerous and evident the closer one gets to this unique and excellent piece of Corvette lore.
- 1967 Corvette Coupe L89, "The Ed Cole Car"
- Specially ordered by GM General Manager Ed Cole for friend and neighbor R.H. Pohl
- L71 427/435 HP engine factory equipped with L89 aluminum heads
- 4-speed manual transmission
- Finned aluminum wheels
- Goodwood Green with Saddle leather interior
- One of only 16 L89 Corvettes built in 1967
- Documentation includes copies of paperwork and Protect-O-Plate
August 15, 2009
MARENGO, Ill. - The 1967 Corvette L89 Ed Cole car sold for $205,000 when it crossed the block at Mecum's first Monterey auction at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Monterey, Calif., on August 15, 2009. The price was the highest paid out of nearly 20 Corvettes that were sold at Mecum's auction. Equipped with a L71 435 HP Tri Power 427 and L89 aluminum heads, this Corvette boasts more than 475 HP, and is one of only 16 manufactured in 1967. It was special ordered by former General Motors general manager Ed Cole.
Photos, descriptions and other information on this page are provided by the consigner to Mecum Auction and have not been verified by Mecum Auction.