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C2 Corvette

Yes, Barrett-Jackson is finally here and we’re celebrating by watching wall to wall coverage of the super bowl of classic car auctions. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually considered the bargain nights, but here is a 1966 Corvette convertible that we believe was well sold.

This Corvette (Lot # 464) features a 327 ci 300 hp base engine with several rare options. Just 8.7% of 1966 Corvettes were equipped with the two-speed powerglide automatic transmission and only 12.7% came with factory air conditioning. The Corvette was finished with the most popular color in 1966, Nassau Blue (6,100) and features a black interior. The matching numbers Corvette is said to have undergone an extensive frame-off restoration.

I feel for the commentators though as it’s tough enough to talk on live television without occasionally getting something wrong. So for today’s trivia question, take a listen and leave a comment with what you think was incorrectly described during this auction.

For a list of Corvettes going through the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, check out our Corvette auction preview.

Sources:
Barrett-Jackson.com
SpeedTV.com

Related:
2008 Barrett-Jackson Corvette Auction Preview

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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

 

Holiday Traffic Brings Corvette Fans Together

by Keith Cornett on November 26, 2007

Charlie's 1965 Nassau blue ConvertibleThe Thanksgiving holiday found me driving a rented GMC Acadia from Tampa to Southeastern Kentucky for our annual family reunion. Friday kicked off the second leg of our trip as the family and I journeyed down I26 in South Carolina, picking up I95 on our way to Savannah Georgia. The round trip is about 1,800 miles and offers a lot of time for reflection. Seeing a couple of old cars including a first gen Mustang and a cool candy apple red Oldsmobile 442, I lamented the fact that you don’t see many C2 Corvettes on the highway anymore. Then I came across Charlie and his 1965 Corvette Convertible. Settling in behind the Nassau Blue 1965 Convertible, I set the cruise to 75 and kept a respectful distance. It was in the mid 50′s on Friday, a bit chilly for top-down driving as you can see. And because of the chill in the air and my six year old sleeping in the back seat, I decided against putting down the windows to hear the sound emanating from the side exhaust of the blue Convertible. The feeling of driving a midyear Corvette down a highway is something that can’t easily be explained. It’s just one of those things that has to be experienced for yourself. Seeing Charlie made me wish I was on a road trip in my 1966 Corvette, driving down the highway on my way home from what must have been a cool adventure. I snapped a couple photos of the 1965 Convertible and then made my Savannah exit, leaving Charlie to continue on by himself, never knowing a Corvette brother-in-arms was in that white GMC that tailed him for those few miles. Monday morning came and I was reviewing the photos from the long weekend. Seeing that the 1965 Corvette had a Florida vanity plate, I decided to see if I could track down the driver. Looking first to see if he was a member of any of the forums, I struck gold on my first attempt with the Corvette Forum and sent Charlie the following message:

Charlie: Very nice 1965 Corvette. I was lucky enough to fall in behind you for about 20 miles on I95 in South Carolina just before the Georgia border. I was driving a white GMC SUV. Send me your email and I will forward you a couple of photos I took. Keith
aka keith@vettefinders on the forum…
Charlie responded back within the hour:
Keith: I remember a white SUV that stayed with me for a while. It was a beautiful day and I was feeling good. I was headed home from Thanksgiving with my family in Charlotte. I spent the night in St. Augustine and the next morning I stopped at the Turkey Rod Run in Daytona. Too many cars to see in one day. I had to be home in Ft. Lauderdale by Saturday night.
I sent Charlie the two photos I took of him in his Corvette, both from the rear as he headed down the highway. Turns out he was on the final leg of an extended road trip which took him and other members of the Sting Rays Corvette Club up to Deals Gap North Carolina for a run on the Tail of the Dragon. Charlie’s Corvette is ideal for highway driving as he dropped a Tremec 5-Speed into it during the second restoration. You can see the former barn car for yourself on page 80 of December 2007′s Corvette Fever Magazine. We passed a couple of more emails during the day and I suggested the two of us meeting up in January at the NCRS Winter Regional in Kissimmee, Florida to say hello. Charlie, I was tired and bored from the long ride and then I saw you and your beautiful Corvette driving down the road. Thanks for allowing me to tag along! Related:
A Corvette Thanksgiving Technorati Tags:
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V7 Twin Turbo Corvette Concept Makes SEMA Splash

by Keith Cornett on November 1, 2007

V7 Twin Turbo Corvette Concept Makes SEMA Splash

For months we’ve been watching the progress on American Supercars 1963 split window inspired Mid-engine Corvette Concept called the V7 Twin Turbo and finally the car was ready for its introduction at SEMA. The concept is an engineering marvel, boasting an LS1 with twin turbos in a mid-engine layout. On the dyno, the V7 churned out 1,067 horsepower and 980 pounds of tourque.

READ MORE →

Mecum’s High Performance Auction in St. Charles, Illinois last weekend was definitely the place to find some rare Corvettes. We already detailed the auction’s top Corvette seller, a low-mileage one owner 1969 L88 Corvette which sold for $446,250. The second highest sale from the October 5-7th auction went to a very special 435 hp ’67 Coupe which sold for $393,750. You know a Corvette is special when it’s known throughout Vettedom by a nickname. The Black ‘N Blue 1967 Corvette earned the name due to its Tuxedo Black exterior with the Bright Blue Stinger hood. What? You haven’t seen this color combo before? That’s because only four documented ’67 Sting Rays are known to share this very rare exterior color combination. This particular Corvette was restored by Houston’s famous Nabers Brothers, who also restored ProTeam’s Last Sting Ray. Featured options include the L71 427 ci/435 hp Tri-Power engine, factory side mounted exhaust, a close-ratio Muncie M21 4-Speed and 3:55 gears. Although not original on 1967 Corvettes, this Corvette has “Blue Line” Goodyears mounted to the factory original bolt-on wheels.

The Black 'N Blue 1967 Corvette The Black 'N Blue 1967 Corvette The Black 'N Blue 1967 Corvette
The Corvette’s original color was changed early in its life. Luckily, fate would lead to an inspection of the original trim tag by Corvette Hall of Fame member Dan Gale, which revealed the rare factory code 900 Tuxedo Black and Bright Blue stripe combination. Today the Corvette, with its Code 415 Bright Blue Leather interior is correct and outstanding in every detail, earning a Bloomington Gold Certification, NCRS Top Flight and the Chevy Vette Fest Triple Crown Award. A check of prices for 1967 Corvettes sold at auction against Keith Martin’s Corvette Auction Results Database shows we have a top 10 Corvette based on the selling price of $393,750. Truly a beautiful and unique 1967 Corvette Coupe.
Source:
Mecum Auctions Related:
Auction Results: Record Sale of 1969 Corvette L88 at St. Charles Technorati Tags:
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1963 Split Window Corvette Featured in PGR4 Commercials

by Keith Cornett on October 8, 2007

The story of these videos is that a section of streets in downtown Los Angeles was closed for a commercial shoot for the Project Gotham Racing video game. The commercial features a Tesla Roadster, a Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren, a Ferrari F430, a Yamaha motorcycle and our favorite, a 1963 Split Window Coupe Corvette. The cars were driven by professionals, but were “supposedly” driving in a manner that was to reflect the skills of everyday drivers. In other words, there were several near misses in the intersection and at one point the Ferrari (unintentionally, I believe) hit the retaining wall. (note: If the player asks you to click here to view more videos in the playlist, just reload the page)

Watch these videos and then tell me driving like this wouldn’t be a blast. That Sting Ray’s exhaust reverberating off the downtown walls of is awesome!
Source:
YouTube.com Related:
1958 Corvette Featured in New Viagra Commercial and Website Technorati Tags:
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Rare Pininfarina Corvette Heading for Barrett-Jackson

by Keith Cornett on October 2, 2007

We are about 100 days out from January’s Barrett-Jackson’s Collector Car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona and details are beginning to emerge about some of the “talent” that will be hitting the auction block. Corvettes are always well represented and that should remain the case despite plans to cut back the number of vehicles from around 1,200 to 1,000.

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Sunday Afternoon Tradition: Washing the Corvette!

by Keith Cornett on July 8, 2007

In my view, there’s nothing better than wrapping up the weekend with a car wash for my Corvette. After a week of work and even more work around the house on the weekend, the car wash gives me a chance to play with the Corvette and get her ready for the next time she’s out.

I’m not an obsessive car washer, but I do have my routine down pat. Like a surgeon, I get everything I need from wash to dry ready to go before a single drop of water touches the paint. I’m not really committed to any one product or brand when it comes to detailing products, so no product pitches today. However I am interested in trying Adam’s Polishes when its time to wax again, but that is a blog post for another time.

I’m not going to bore you the details of how some guy washes his Corvette. However, I will share with you something I learned a while back that makes drying a wet car, especially a black car, a piece cake. Your neighbors will laugh at you because this technique totally fits the image of the compulsive car washer.

I wash a section at a time (hood, driver’s side, rear) and then rinse. But when I rinse I always go back and rinse all the sections I washed previously so that when I finish the last section, the whole car is still very wet. Then I pull out my trusty Toro leaf blower and keeping it about 12 to 18 inches from the body, I blow the water off the car, starting with hood and working my way down and to the rear. Black cars are very susceptible to showing water spots, but the blower removes most of the water before it can dry. It’s especially good at getting water from under the emblems and around the lights and exhaust bezels. When I have about 75% of the water off the car, I then finish drying with a couple of microfiber towels.

Washing a 1966 Corvette Convertible Washing a 1966 Corvette Convertible Washing a 1966 Corvette Convertible

Using a blower as part of the drying process you’ll save time and effort and you will use less towels. And best of all, no more water spots!

If there are any C2 Convertible owners out there, I’d especially like to hear how you wash your rear deck where the top folds under. I’m always paranoid that I’m going to soak the interior.

Got any good car washing tips? Let me know!


Related:
Upclose and Personal With the Indy 500 Corvette Pace Car

 

Flickr Photo of the Day: 1965 Corvette Coupe

by Keith Cornett on July 1, 2007

From the Flickr Corvette Pool.

1965 Corvette Coupe
Photo Credit: jryle79
1965 Corvette Options and Facts There were 23,564 Corvettes produced in 1965. Production was split between 8,186 Coupes and 15,378 Convertibles. Base Price for the Coupe was $4,321.00 while the Convertible model was priced slightly less at $4,106.00 6 different engine options available:
     327 ci 250 hp
     327 ci 300 hp (L75)
     327 ci 350 hp (L79)
     327 ci 365 hp (L76)
     327 ci 375 hp (L84 – Fuel Injection)
     396 ci 425 hp (L78) 8 Exterior Colors Available:
     Nassau Blue was most popular at 6,022 (26%)
     Tuxedo Black was the rarest at 1,191 (5%) How to Spot a 1965 Corvette:
The 1965 and 1966 both have three vertical vents behind the front tires. But the 1965 Corvette’s grill was unique to the C2 generation. Horizontal grill bars were changed to black, but the outer trim is bright. The 1966 Corvette’s grill is referred to as an egg crate because of its mesh design. The only logo on the 1965′s hood is the center-fixed Cross Flags. The 1966 Corvette has the Corvette Sting Ray script logo in the front right corner. Highlights:
The big block 396 ci 425 hp engine made its debut in March 1965, a mid year addition which required the need for a new hood with a center bulge. The ’65 Corvette was the last year of the fuel injected engine until the Cross Fire Injected engines were introduced in 1982. 1965 also marks the first year that four-wheel disc brakes were included as standard equipment. A power antenna was also standard. The instrument cluster was restyled with black flat faces and the center dash area where the radio was located was painted rather than vinyl covered.
Source:
Flickr.com
Corvette Black Book Related:
Flickr Photo of the Day: 1959 Corvette Technorati Tags:
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