Kissimmee, FL Auction
January 5-14, 2018
Estimate: $650,000 - $850,000
Produced on May 17, 1968, and delivered new to Nischan-Spalding, Inc., in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible—known in the Detroit area as "Thunder Buggy"—is a thoroughly documented example of one of the most legendary machines in Corvette history. Announced in the spring of 1967, Regular Production Option L88 was a comprehensive package of features headlined by the purest all-out racing engine ever offered in a Corvette. An aluminum-head, high-compression, solid-lifter beast better suited to the Mulsanne Straight than Mulholland Drive, the L88's brute power was such that Chevrolet made every effort to keep it away from the public; indeed, on those rare occasions when corporate literature acknowledged the L88 at all, it was coy at best and misleading at worst, quoting a rating of 430 HP at 5,200 RPM against the actual figure of approximately 560 HP at 6,400 RPM on 103-octane racing fuel. One of 80 produced in 1968, this Corvette L88 convertible has been in the care of dedicated and informed owners since new, eventually undergoing a sympathetic restoration by Corvette Corner in Houston, Texas, that retained the original matching-numbers L88 engine and driveline, and original black leather interior. The car was ordered new with Silverstone Silver paint, auxiliary hardtop and head restraints. It is equipped like all L88s, with K66 transistorized ignition, G81 Positraction rear axle (in this case, with 3.55:1 gears), a Muncie M22 "Rock Crusher" close-ratio 4-speed transmission, F41 Special Purpose suspension, J50 power brakes and J56 special brake system. As a 1968 model, it also features the last true 2.5-inch exhaust in the L88. In the rarefied world of L88 Corvettes, documentation trumps all, and this 1968 L88 convertible is as well documented as any, bringing with it the original window sticker, owner's kit, warranty book with Protect-O-Plate, dealer-inspection sheet, the original certificate of title, NCRS Top Flight certificate, Al Grenning/CCAS affirmation letters for the engine-stamp pad, trim tag and documentation, and an NCRS Shipping Data Report. As one of 80 produced, any 1968 Corvette L88 is rare, but when you consider this example's factory engine, documentation, optional equipment and stunning condition, this car belongs near the top of the L88 hierarchy.
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