A few weeks ago we told you about an exceptional 1967 L88 Corvette Coupe scheduled to cross the block in Mecum’s inaugural Seattle auction
Anytime an L88 Corvette is scheduled to be auctioned it is worth the trip, if not to bid but just to drool. As we reported Mecum will be auctioning an impeccable 1967 L88 that might just shatter the current world’s record. And now if that weren’t enough Dana Mecum has decided to make this an L88 “double feature” adding a third generation L88 to be sold Saturday, June 14th. This one is a documented and restored 1969 Fathom Green coupe with 15,480 miles which are believed to be original.
L88 Corvettes are arguably the most desired of all Corvettes and it’s the second generation L88′s that command the highest prices and as we reported Mecum will be selling an exquisite example of a 1967 L88 the same day that this third generation L88 is scheduled to cross the block. There were only twenty second generation L88′s produced, all in 1967. The rarity of the second generation L88s insure they will remain at the pinnacle of Corvette desirability and prices.
But third generation L88′s have been appreciating exponentially and we predicted that we may soon see a production third generation L88 (without a competition provenance) break the $1M barrier. A few weeks ago we questioned whether Worldwide Auction’s Riverside Gold L88 offered in their Houston Auction would be the barrier breaker but it sold privately for an undisclosed price and several requests to Worldwide to obtain the selling price was met with unreturned phone calls. But at Barrett-Jackson an L88 convertible survivor came close to shattering the million dollar ceiling in January when it sold for $880K.
Though the L88 being offered in Seattle is not a survivor like the Barrett-Jackson example, it has been treated to a full quality restoration, is documented and has the original tank sticker. However like the Barrett-Jackson L88, it has been verified by the highly respected retired chief judge of the NCRS, Roy Sinor, and comes with a letter verifying the car and states, “Original documented L88 that is complete including a numbers matching correct engine.” It includes an appraisal from Sinor who judged the L88 to be a 94 point car in 2005.
In 1968 and 1969 there were 196 third generation L88′s produced, 80 in 1968 and 116 in 1969. Prices for strong #2 condition C3 L88′s consistently now command $450K to $550K, while only a few years ago the same cars were being sold in the $250K to $350K range. But #1 condition C3 L88′s are much more difficult to find and the few that have come to market recently have skyrocketed and are getting a lot of attention among knowledgeable collectors and authorities. An original #1 condition C3 L88 survivor can get 50 to 75% more than the same car in #2 condition and 10 to 25% more than a number 1 fully restored concours condition C3.
At Mecum’s January auction in Kissimmee we have some comparisons that illustrate those values when three third generation L88′s crossed the block. An excellent restored but beginning to age 1969 Fathom Green coupe was hammered for $510K. It had been fully restored almost 25 years before and though showing some age was holding up well though not concours. The second L88 hammered sold was a #2 condition, original surviving 1968 coupe that had been reunited with its original engine, in desirable Cordovan Maroon and hammered at $530K. The third and the best of the three was a 1969 LeMans Blue L88 convertible that had undergone a recent $240K restoration. Though it was a #1 condition car in concours condition it was a restored car as opposed to an original survivor. It was bid to $735K, about 10% below the survivor sold at Barrett-Jackson, but did not meet the seller’s reserve.
The upcoming C3 L88 being offered in Seattle is an overall strong example as illustrated by its ratings. It is rated 9 out of 10 in the areas of paint, chrome, chassis, engine compartment, interior, brakes, and body panels. The engine is numbers matching and rated at a 7. Overall Mr. Sinor judged this car to be a 94 point car in 2005, almost nine years ago. During those nine years, though well maintained, time does take a toll, and as a result this example would not likely score that high if judged today. That is not to discount this excellent example and aside from a few very minor flaws the only other issue which may hold this L88 back slightly may be the color. Fathom Green is not the most desired color but as we just illustrated another Fathom Green example sold for over $500K in January. Another Fathom Green L88 was snatched up by well known Corvette expert Terry Michaelis at Barrett-Jackson’s January 2013 Scottsdale auction for under $300K. That L88 may have been the best bargain in recent times being the last documented Corvette L88 to be produced and a real bargain. Just eight months later at Mecum’s September Dallas auction Michaelis turned down a bid of over $400K for his bargain buy L88.
So in all likelihood, though this is an outstanding, documented example, we don’t believe this will break the $1M ceiling, nor surpass the $880K price paid for the Barrett-Jackson survivor. In all likelihood the C3 L88 “barrier breaker” will need to be a concours condition, fully documented, all original survivor. In any event this isn’t all bad, it might be too much to see two Corvette records shattered at the same auction?
Rick Tavel writes about automobiles with an emphasis on Corvettes and the hobby in general. You can see his website at Corvetted
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