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When a Matching Numbers Corvette is Anything But…

by Keith Cornett on December 14, 2007

1963 Split Window Coupe CorvettePart of my motivation in writing this blog is to help buyers, particularly first time Corvette buyers, learn more about the specifics of buying Corvettes before making the plunge. I do that through posts like this week’s very appropriate Decoding a Corvette’s V8 Casting Numbers and Engine Stamps as well as trying to constantly reinforce the mantra of “Knowledge is Power When Purchasing Corvettes”. Too many times buyers make the plunge first, only to find out they have been taken for a ride. To illustrate this point, I bring you this Corvette that was advertised earlier this week on a well-known classified ads website. Here are the details:

Rare 1963 split window Corvette rebuilt 327 10 over, 202 dart camel back heads, 292 cam solid lifers, rebuilt 2 speed power glide w/2800 stall converter, rebuilt 348 rear balanced drive shafts, knock off rims new red line tires, new brakes, renewed dash, original paint riverside red, black interior . many extra parts to many to list Extremely Nice, Show Ready. Matching Numbers with original colors. Original AM-FM Wonder Bar Radio. California car , Automatic Trans, Power Brakes, Power Steering. At this time it has a 1966 engine in it I have the 1964 engine ready to rebuild to make # matching car and the true knock off rims and red line tires for more info or pics Call or E-mail or $55,000.00 or make offer must see great car.
I sent the seller an email as I was confused if he meant he had the 1963 engine instead of a 1964:
Just a quick question about your 1963 Corvette for sale. You say you have a 1964 engine ready to be rebuilt to make it a matching numbers car. Did you mean it is a 1963 engine? If so, was it the original engine? Any history or documentation with the Corvette?
The seller responded back with the following:
It has a 66 engine in it now I have the block heads and casting # right not built yet never got around to it so you could get it done any way you would like or I could have my guys do it for you I just put the 66 in to drive it and to sell it easer if the buyer can drive it also here it run. call me on my cell if you want any more info but if you want a 63 you really got to see this one.
1963 Split Window Corvettes can be an excellent investment and this one is obviously well taken care of. In fact, this Corvette has awesome curb appeal that is ready for show or go. Advertised as a California car, it features comfort options like an automatic transmission, power brakes, power steering and an AM/FM Radio. The wheels are beautiful and who can resist the rebuilt drive train. But throwing around terminology like matching numbers is exactly why buyers need to be educated. When you set out to buy a house, what is the one thing you always have done before purchase? You have it inspected. Buying a classic Corvette should be no different. I do not think the seller is out to purposely misrepresent this car as he’s obviously stated in both the ad and the email that it has a 1966 engine. But stating that a 1964 engine can turn this 1963 into a matching numbers car because the casting and head numbers match is just incorrect. What often happens is that while this seller is being honest in telling us that the Corvette has a non-original motor (NOM), future owners selling this Corvette may not be so forthcoming, and that leads to the second point of the question I asked: “Any history or documentation with the Corvette?” Since there was no response to that question, I have to assume that there isn’t any. At $55,000, the car is priced appropriately for a NOM ’63 Coupe. Unless you don’t care about owning a non-documented Corvette with an NOM, then you should immediately walk away from a Corvette like this. Despite its NOM status, this Corvette is a stunner and will be sold to someone. However, it will never appreciate in value like a documented split window coupe and it will be harder to sell when that day comes. Knowledge is power… Related:
Decoding a Corvette’s V8 Casting Numbers and Engine Stamps
Seller of Fake L88 Caught by Corvette Community Technorati Tags:
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Friday’s Featured Corvettes For Sale

by Keith Cornett on December 14, 2007

If you are looking to make a deal on a new or classic Corvette before the holidays. this is probably the last week to do it. Below we are featuring six of the over 500 Corvettes available at our classified ads website, www.VetteFinders.com.

1960 Corvette Convertible For Sale 1967 Corvette Coupe For Sale 1974 Corvette T-Top For Sale
1960 Convertible
$55,900
1967 Coupe
Email for Price
1974 T-Top
$13,500
 
1996 Corvette Coupe For Sale 2003 Corvette Hardtop For Sale 2007 Corvette Convertible For Sale
1996 Coupe
$15,990
2003 Z06
$34,000
2007 Convertible
$49,995
Selling Your Corvette? Now is the time and VetteFinders.com is the place to reach more qualified Corvette Buyers. Corvette Classified Ads are only $25 and run for 3 months. You can post unlimited photos and you have access to make any changes at any time.
Source:
VetteFinders.com Related:
11/02/07: Friday’s Featured Corvettes For Sale Technorati Tags:
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Decoding a Corvette’s V8 Casting Numbers and Engine Stamps

by Keith Cornett on December 11, 2007

Back in September I wrote about how documentation was the must-have option when buying a classic Corvette. That article focused on mostly the paper trail: dealer invoices, build sheets and tank stickers. Today the focus is on the engine and the clues available for verifying authenticity. While the term “Matching Numbers” in its simplist form is various serial numbers and codes located on key parts and their relationship to a particular year of Corvette, it’s the engine block that is the most important part of the matching numbers equation. Unfortunately, as Corvette values rise, so do your chances of buying a Corvette with altered numbers being passed off as an original. As my favorite mantra goes when purchasing a Corvette, knowledge is power, and the more you can learn about documenting a Corvette prior to purchase, the less likely you will get burned with buying a Corvette of questionable lineage.

A series of codes and stamps are located on the engine block that will allow you to identify it as being manufactured specifically for a Corvette. There are dates of manufacture and the engine’s original application if you just know where to look. As the year’s progressed and engine options increased, the numbering and casting system obviously changed and became more specific. For the examples provided, I will be referring to the 327 ci 300 hp small block V8 in my 1966 Corvette.

Chevrolet Smallblock V8 Casting number and engine stamping locations 1966 Corvette 327 ci V8 Engine Casting Number 1966 Corvette 327 ci V8 Engine Stamp

Casting Numbers
The casting number is a sequence consisting of raised numbers that was cast into the engine block when it was made. What’s a bit tricky here is that casting numbers on Corvette blocks can also be found on other engine blocks made by GM. Casting Numbers are important to the engine documentation process because certain numbers were used for Corvettes and some were not. Also, the numbers are specific to the size of engine in the Corvette. 283′s, 327′s and 427′s all had their own casting numbers specific to individual years, so for the process of documenting a Corvette engine, the casting number will be used to confirm that that block was used in a Corvette and that it was available during the same year the Corvette was manufactured, and finally, it was unique to a specific engine size. The casting number on Chevy V8′s is located on the drivers side of the engine where the block is connected to the bellhousing. It can be a bit hard to see with the ignition shielding in place but the numbers are fairly large. The casting number on my 1966 is 3858174 which is identified as a 327 ci V8 block. That block casting number was also used in 1964-67 passenger cars including the Chevelle and Camaro as well as Chevrolet trucks.

Casting Dates
The cast date symbolizes the date of manufacture of the block. Dates are coded beginning with a letter representing the month. Letters began with “A” for January through “L” for December. The next section of digits represents the day of the month and is either 1 or 2 digits in length. The final single digit represents the year. Corvette casting dates only show the single digit for the year. If the block contains two digits for the year, then it was a block manufactured at the Tonawanda engine plant and therefore is not a Corvette block (Corvette engines were almost exclusively built in Flint, Michigan). Cast dates on small block V8′s can be found on the passenger side of flange where the block is connected to the bellhousing. I found this number difficult to locate. On 1965-67 big blocks, the cast date is located on the passenger side of the block where the starter is attached. The cast date on the block in my 1966 is “E 5 6″, which decoded stands for May 5, 1966. If you are trying to document an engine, the casting number would confirm the size of the engine and its intended recipient, and the date code would confirm that the block was used in Corvettes.

Engine Stamping
Engine stampings evolved in the early years of the Chevrolet V8 engine. In 1955-56, it was simply a continuous serial number, but one that didn’t match the serial number of the Corvette. It was then followed with F for Flint, where the Corvette engine was manufactured and then the year (F55 or F56). The final two letters indicated the original application of the engine. Application Codes usually indicated engine size, type of fuel delivery (Injection or carburetion) and transmission. As engine options grew, so did the number of application suffix codes. In 1957, the serial number was dropped and instead the stamp contained the letter F for Flint, a three to four number sequence for month and day of assembly and then the two letter engine suffix code. Beginning in 1960 the stamp included the serial number of the car it was installed in. The 327 engine in my Corvette contains the following number sequences: 6122891 F0518HE. Decoded, the first sequence is 6 for the year (66) and then the VIN sequence of 122891. The second stamp decodes F for the Flint Plant, May 18 is the engine assembly date and the HE suffix code stands for a 327 ci 300 hp with a manual transmission.

So there you have the basics of decoding engine numbers for the purpose of documentation. Please note that there are some exceptions to the information contained above. In 1965 it is said that there was a shortage of 327 blocks from the Flint plant, so Chevrolet used some engine blocks from Tonawanda. Those engines would have a T instead of F on the stamp, as well as the full year in the cast date. There are several publications that contain a breakdown of engine codes and sequences. The NCRS also provides a publication that details how engines were stamped and therefore, may help you identify restamped engines.

Related:
The Must-Have Option When Buying A Classic Corvette
Five Factors That Drive Corvette Values – Options

 

In 1965, as in previous years, General Motors and Chevrolet were touring the country showing off their latest products to the masses at car shows and the company-sponsored motoramas.

Marketing was concerned that the Corvette, in its third year of the fabled midyear body style, might be looking a bit aged and so they set out to create a display that became a mechanical marvel.

Selecting a 1965 Corvette Coupe from the assembly line, the car was shipped to a specialty display making company where it was fully disassembled and then operated on to create the one-of-a-kind Corvette display we see in the video.

Mounting the body to elevator arms, the coupe would rise off its chassis, exposing the car’s running gear. The frame was painted in bright yellow while the engine, transmission and other mechanical parts were finished in red. Cutouts were created to display the inner workings of the car. A series of motors would operate moving components of the car allowing visitors to see exactly how the 375 horsepower fuel injected 327ci was powered.

After its life on the show circuit, whereabouts of the car were unknown. It was found in South Africa in the mid ’90′s and returned to the United States where is was purchased a short time later by Al Wiseman.

This 1965 Corvette is unique in many regards, especially considering the fact that it contained the last of the fuel injected engines. With only 4 miles showing on the odometer, it truly is a time capsule.

Back at the auction, bidding was steady and deliberate and finally the last bid of $640,000 was called. With the addition of the 10% buyers commission, total price of the 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Cutaway Autorama Display was $704,000. The buyer of this unique Corvette was Detroit’s Showdown Muscle Cars.


Source:
RM Auctions

Related:
Video: Matched Set of 1953/2003 Corvettes sell for $390,500
Video: Zora’s 1955 Corvette Sold By RM Auctions for $134,750

 

Here is something that you don’t see everyday and in the words of the auctioneer, it’s probably something that will never be duplicated! We’re talking of course about the matched set of Corvettes that was sold at Saturday’s RM Auctions Al Wiseman Collection in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Al had a 1953 Corvette with the serial number of #39. When the 50th Anniversary Corvettes were produced in 2003, Al lobbied GM quite hard for about a year and was successful in buying serial number #39, which was doing duty as a test mule. Topping off the collection was a commemorative 1953 Corvette pedal car from Pedal Cars USA produced to celebrate the Corvette’s golden anniversary. This unique Corvette pedal car also is number #39 in its series.

The 1953 Corvette has been in Al’s collection for around 5 years and has just completed a full concours quality restoration. Al was no stranger to 1953 Corvettes. Back in 2002 he teamed up with Chip Miller of Carlisle Productions to restore serial #158. That Corvette, dubbed “Restoration Celebration”, was restored to better than perfect condition and the proceeds from the sale of that car were donated to charity.

Interestingly, the sale of both of these 1953 Corvettes ended up in the hands of the same buyer…Terry Michaelis of Proteam Corvettes.

And while the buyer and seller of both 1953 Corvettes remained the same, what has changed in the last five years is the prices commanded for the first year of America’s Sports Cars. #158 was purchased for $170,000 in 2002 while 1953 Corvette #39 brought in $390,500 just five years later.

Yes, this auction of the 1953 Corvette had the bonus of a serial numbers-matching 2003 50th Anniversary Corvette Roadster, as well as the kids commemorative pedal car, but it was the 1953 Corvette that drove this sale home.


Source:
RM Auctions

Related:
Video: Zora’s 1955 Corvette Sold By RM Auctions for $134,750

 

RM Auctions was in the Tampa Bay area this weekend to auction off the collection of antique and classic cars belonging to noted automotive collector Al Wiseman. Included in the auction was this very significant 1955 Corvette Roadster that belonged to Zora Arkus-Duntov, Corvette’s first Chief Engineer.

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#3 Corvette C6.R For Sale. One Owner, Low Miles…

by Keith Cornett on November 15, 2007

The #3 Corvette C6.RAs our primary focus is bringing you unique information about Corvettes that are for sale, here’s an ad that appeared on the American LeMans website: Pratt and Miller Corvette C6.R #3 Race Car
Driven by Johnny O’Connell, Jan Magnussen and Ron Fellows
Price: $650,000.00 SKU: #***CORV5504

Corvette Details: No bling but much zing. Special everything, including things we can’t tell you about. 1 owner, 1 seat. Low miles, but driven very fast. Always garaged. Never driven on public roads. Cared for by loving owners, cursed by the competition. One of only a few. Available only in Velocity Yellow. Championships and Drivers not included. Only for sale because Ms. Pratt said it is time to clean out the garage. Yes this is really for sale. For more information please call or email. Specifications: Chassis 005 that raced in LeMans (finished 2nd in class) and in the 2007 American LeMans series.
575 Horsepower, 6000-rpm redline
7-liter small block V8
2425 lbs hydoformed steel chassis with composite body
Longitudinal front engine, rear wheel drive
Tunable to the low drag demands of LeMans or the high downforce requirements of Mosport.
I don’t know what’s funnier, the verbage of the ad which includes “Ms.Pratt said it is time to clean out the garage.” or the fact that the ad is in a shopping cart format, which allows you to add the car to the shopping cart basket (only after selecting yellow in the drop-down box) and then checkout. The only follow up questions I would have as a buyer is if I can get a CarFax report and a Bad Boy Vettes repaint
Source:
American LeMans Merchandise Related:
Racing Fans – Buy Your Own Corvette C6.R Racecar Technorati Tags:
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The 1953 Corvette Convertible1953 Corvettes continue to fetch big money at collector car auctions around the country. Over the weekend, a 1953 Corvette hit the auction block at Hilton Head’s Concours d’Elegance and sold for $440,000, a figure that ties the high price set earlier this year for the first year mark at the McMullen auction in Detroit. The selling price includes the 10% Buyers Premium. The Hilton Head auction was gaveled by the Worldwide Group. With 1953 Corvette prices up sharply compared to 2005 and 2006, collectors are striking while the iron is hot. Only two 1953 Corvettes were sold at auction in 2006, including the #003 Corvette which changed hands for $1,080,000 at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale. So far this year, seven 1953 Corvettes have hit the market, with six resulting in sales. Here are the sales results for 1953 Corvettes for 2007:

Auction Model Price Result
       
Hilton Head 1953 Corvette $440,000 Sold
Mecum St. Charles 1953 Corvette $225,000 High Bid
Bloomington 1953 Corvette $283,500 Sold
Bloomington 1953 Corvette $296,625 Sold
McMullen 1953 Corvette $440,000 Sold
WW – Seabrook, Tx 1953 Corvette $396,000 Sold
Barrett-Jackson (Scottsdale) 1953 Corvette $298,350 Sold
       
  Total Sales: $2,154,475  
This year alone, over $2 million dollars has been generated on the sale of six of these first year Corvettes. The strong results has pushed the Corvette investment market into a new era where being the first Corvette is now on average more valuable than fuelies or big blocks. This trend all but guarantees that we will see more 1953 Corvettes come out of the shadows and into the auction paddocks in 2008.
Source:
Island Packet
The Worldwide Group Related:
Auction Results: 1953 Corvette Sells for $440,000 Technorati Tags:
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Friday’s Featured Corvettes for Sale

by Keith Cornett on November 2, 2007

There is a change in the air as Fall seems to have finally arrived. If you’re looking to get behind the wheel of your favorite sportscar, now is the time and VetteFinders.com is place. With over 500 Corvettes for sale, from C1s to C6s, you’re sure to find the Corvete of your dreams. Below is just a sampling from our bi-weekly “Featured Corvettes at VetteFinders.com” email newsletter, representing a Corvette from each generation:

1960 Corvette Convertible For Sale 1964 Corvette Coupe For Sale 1980 Corvette Coupe For Sale
1960 Convertible
$79,999
1964 Coupe
$54,990
1980 Coupe
$8,900
 
1991 Corvette Convertible For Sale 2000 Corvette Coupe For Sale 2008 Corvette Coupe For Sale
1991 Convertible
$17,900
2000 Coupe
$27,900
2008 Coupe
$41,500
Selling Your Corvette? Now is the time and VetteFinders.com is the place to reach more qualified Corvette Buyers. Corvette Classified Ads are only $25 and run for 3 months. You can post unlimited photos and you have access to make any changes at any time.
Source:
VetteFinders.com Related:
10/19/07: Friday’s Featured Corvettes For Sale Technorati Tags:
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ProTeam Corvette to Host NCRS Technical Seminar

by Keith Cornett on October 30, 2007

The Protect-O-Plate from my 1966 CorvetteThis coming Saturday, November 3rd, ProTeam Corvette will host NCRS members from four states for a day-long seminar on trim tags, Protect-O-Plates, documentation and the decoding of these items. As documentation plays an important role in pricing and valuations, the morning seminars will focus on what ProTeam calls Chevrolet’s predictable measure of each car and the missteps and omissions that occurred along the way. An afternoon seminar is also planned that will address the cylinder case and its perceived importance on originality. The hands-on session will center on the every day exceptions, aberrations, corrections, errors, do-overs, misapplications, and general conundrums associated with factory production. NCRS Master Judge Al Grenning will be the instructor for the day-long event. Grenning is a Senior Bloomington Gold Restoration Workshop Instructor, Division Director for Numbers and Tags – Bloomington Gold Certification as well as being a member of the National Corvette Certification Board & National Corvette Survivor Board. His research includes: the “Master Pad Library” containing many thousands of Corvette engine pad photographs and co-authorship of the “NCRS Authentication Library, Vol. 1″, the result of extensive research on 1963 to 1967 midyear trim tags. Additional research includes midyear Protect-O-Plates, trim tags and a large comprehensive photocopy library of St. Louis Corvette production documents. The seminar will serve to spread the Corvette gospel through education about the cryptic history and factory anomalies of America ‘s true sports car. Any questions about this and future seminars, contact Terry Michaelis at ProTeam Corvette.
Source:
ProTeam Corvette Related:
The Must-Have Option When Buying A Classic Corvette Technorati Tags:
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