Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction - Friday, August 18, 2006
$250,000 - $300,000
Chassis no. 194678S408790
From the Personal Collection of "Mr. October" Reggie Jackson, an orignal Berger Chevrolet 435bhp, 427cu. in. engine, Muncie M-22 "Rock Crusher" four-speed transmission, steel ladder frame, four-wheel independent suspension with front upper and lower A-arms, rear upper wishbones and transverse leaf springs, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98"
In 1968, Chevrolet introduced the new "Stingray" body style of the Corvette - a design that was so well received, it would continue without major changes until 1982. By the 1970s, however, the Corvette became emasculated by virtue of having to be fitted with more power-sapping emission devices. As a result, the 1960s Corvettes, particularly in big block engine form, have become extremely sought-after.
In 1966, the big block engine option was introduced with conservative horsepower ratings. A variety of upgrades followed, including the L89 equipped 427 cubic inch option in 1967. This was Chevrolet's aluminum cylinder head option, intended to put the Corvette in the winnerâ€™s circle. Although power was stated to be 435bhp with the L71 427 equipped Corvette, there is little doubt that the power plant put out well over 500bhp.
The L89 aluminum-head option cost $832.05 which included the "normal" L71 engine in 1968. Its performance was outstanding â€“ zero to 60mph in 4.2 seconds and zero to 100mph in 8.0 seconds. From Randy Leffingwell's book, Corvette-Americaâ€™s Sports Car, he writes, "The engine...was underrated at 435 horsepower to confuse amateurs and to keep the engines off the streets and out of the hands of those unaware of its true potential." Just 624 L89-equipped Corvettes were built in 1968 with this mighty, over-500 horsepower engine, making it one of the rarest Corvettes ever.
To order an L89 Corvette, one had to first find a Chevrolet dealer who knew his way around a COPO (central office production order) form. Some of these dealerships have become legends in the muscle car world providing factory built cars for their customers that they simply could not get elsewhere. Some would take these special cars one step further by adding their own decals and special paint to distinguish their COPO cars as being something out of the ordinary.
Berger Chevrolet, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, took a different approach than many other high performance dealers. Although Berger did a few conversions, they specialized in factory super cars, which made up nearly 20% of their sales. Although the performance market died in the mid 1970s, Berger Chevrolet is still in business at its original location on 28th Street in Grand Rapids.
The Corvette offered here is a stunningly original COPO car from Berger Chevrolet with a fully restored L89 427 V8 engine mated to a four-speed close-ratio transmission. To cope with the power, the Corvette has a heavy-duty suspension and the ultra high-performance 4.11:1 posi-traction limited-slip differential. This rare Corvette is beautifully finished in its original color â€“ Cordovan Maroon and maintains its original black interior. In addition it still retains its original tires, wheels, and trim rings.
Complete with the Berger Chevrolet sticker on the triangular air cleaner, this Corvette is an outstanding example and is being offered from the private collection of Mr. Reggie Jackson. For those looking for the ultimate in high performance big block Corvettes, this 1968 L89 Corvette is one of the fastest production automobiles of the era and would make a stunning and exciting addition to any collection.
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