Barrett-Jackson: A Corvette Seller’s Paradise

Barrett-Jackson: A Corvette Seller’s Paradise

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While some of the estimated 100+ Corvettes that will cross the Barrett-Jackson auction block during this week’s Scottsdale event are worth every penny of the high bids they will receive, many are not. Due to the shear amount of collector car money that is in Scottsdale this week, some Corvettes will go for prices no where near what they are worth, and that is the problem I have with this auction. I was expecting to see this sometime during this auction, but didn’t think it would be so obvious during the first day. Lot #70 is listed as a 1971 Chevrolet Corvette LS-5 Coupe. Here are the photos and description:

Nevada car, numbers matching, no rust, stock AM/FM, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes. SS disc brakes and lines, LS5 454/365 motor with roller rockers. Motor refreshed at 62,000 by John “Freight Train” Peters, a member of NHRA Hall of Fame, Jet-Hot coated headers, Micky Thompson valve cover, new radiator, M21 transmission, body stripped to glass and House of Kolor Candy Wild Cherry with silver base paint in September 2004, interior stock black vinyl, 5 new BF Goodrich TA tires, stock factory 3 piece side pipes, all new chrome and badges, all new weather stripping, new carpet and some new interior panels, new dash pad and clock. Factory build sheet. Selling price was listed as $54,000 (unofficially). Let’s look at the numbers. In 1971, there were 21,801 total Corvettes: 14,680 Coupes and 7,121 Convertibles. The LS-5 engine was selected by 5,097 buyers, that’s 23.4% of total production. The M21 4-speed transmission was selected by 2,387 buyers which made up 9.8% of production. Not what we consider a rare Corvette in terms of power plant and drive train. Other production numbers for this 1971 Coupe include factory air conditioning (11,481), Power Steering (17,904) and Power Brakes (13,588). The condition of this Corvette couldn’t even get you a Survivor award at Bloomington. Replaced valve covers and the non-original paint and color do nothing for collectablility. And take a look at the engine photo – other than the shiny air filter cover, the compartment is filthy. We place the value of this Corvette at $23,000. A $31,000 Barrett-Jackson difference. At some point this hot market we are in will correct itself and people who purchase these non-rare Corvettes at premium will be the ones holding the short end of the 4-speed stick shift. P.T. Barnum was famously quoted for saying “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Apparently in Scottsdale, they brought their checkbooks.
Senior Editor and founder of "Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle". I drive my dad's 1966 Corvette Sting Ray Convertible and call the Corvette Museum home.


  1. i know that 25% had 454 ls5 engine but how many came with the m21 trans in them seeing has the ls6 454 and the lt1 350 could be ordered with that trans how many ls5 454 engined cars are there out there? thats a question i want to know as i have one and would like to know how many 454 ls5 m21 tranny cars were actually sold

  2. also how did it come with factory air conditioning if it had the m21 close ratio tranny like mine as in the actual chevy corvette book you couldnt get air if you had the close ratio m21 trans with a ls5 or ls6 454

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