If you’re looking for originality, uniqueness, and rarity, then this 1967 Corvette COPO convertible might be for you.
In case you’re not familiar with COPO, it stands for Central Office Production Order. Basically, it allowed Chevrolet top dogs and a few dealers to order new vehicles with special features not usually found on the ordinary production vehicles.
This particular Corvette is one of only five known to be painted with Silver Pearl exterior paint and a red interior, a combo not available to ordinary folks.
Our favorite non-original L88 Shriner Corvette is back on the market again. The 1967 “L88″ Shriner COPO Corvette crossed the block at Mecum’s St. Charles auction on Saturday where it reached a high bid of $80,000 but failed to reach its reserve price. Longtime readers of CorvetteBlogger may recognize this as the same car whose listing on eBay in December 2005 was pulled after the Corvette community challenged the sale as a real-deal L88 Corvette.
Some Corvettes are famous and some are infamous. Two years after Corvette enthusiasts rose up and cried foul which resulted in a botched eBay auction, the Shriner L88 Corvette makes an appearance at Barrett-Jackson and sells for $176,000.
In December 2005, this Corvette was being sold on eBay as an original 1 of 20 L88 Corvette. Unfortunately for the seller of the car, the son of the Corvette’s original owner had an extensive history on the car as the 1967 roadster was 1 of 13 Shriner Parade Cars that were all originally equipped with small blocks. Click here to read our original post: Seller of Fake L88 Caught by Corvette Community
Fast forward to 2009 where the L88 Corvette resurfaces, only this time the Shriner history was embraced. Here is the description from the Barrett-Jackson catalog:
Originally a base motor 300 and upgraded to a 427cid/430hp engine although it is now equipped with an L88 package. Documented as 1 of 13 Shriner COPO cars with a correct L88 driveline. Also features radio delete, correct carb, distributor, etc.
So the same Corvette advertised two years ago as an original 1 of 20 L88 Corvette was today offered as a documented 1 of 13 Shriner COPO Corvette with a correct L88 driveline. Diligent research of the Corvetteâ€™s history would have undoubtedly revealed her checkered past. Read what enthusiasts are saying about the car on CorvetteForum.com
During the 2009 Barrett-Jackson auction, SPEEDTV took a commercial break and came back to coverage with the Shriner COPO Corvette already on the block and bidding at $140,000. The Corvette gaveled for $160,000 and with commission, total price was $176,000.
Seller of Fake L88 Caught by Corvette Community
[VIDEO] 1990 Corvette “Active” ZR-1 Sells at 2009 Barrett-Jackson
[VIDEO] 1989 Corvette ZR-2 Sells at 2009 Barrett-Jackson
2009 Barrett-Jackson Corvette Auction Preview
The great thing about being involved in the Corvette hobby is that there is always something new to learn. For example, you may have heard of a COPO Corvette – which stands for Central Office Production Order, an ordering mechanism designed to allow certain customers (usually dealers) the ability to order non-standard components together. Usually with Corvettes, COPO orders had non-standard colors or interiors, or was ordered with some special options, or no options like radio/heater delete for racing. Another type of order was called the SO – Shop Order – which usually originated from the Chevrolet Engineering Center or the GM Styling Studio. The third and less common was a variation called the F&SO – Fleet and Special Order.
Well, that last one was news to me. Just last week at the Bloomington Gold show, there were a few examples of COPO Corvettes and styling cars that went through the auction. Today though I got a preview of the next Corvette Magazine issue and writer/photographer Richard Prince has a great article detailing a F&SO 1967 Corvette that was built for one of the great Corvette salespeople of 1950’s and ’60’s – Bob Wingate.
When you’re the top Corvette salesman in the country for 5 years running, opportunities from the manufacturer come your way. And in 1967, that opportunity came in the form of a 1967 Coupe outfitted with a 427/435 engine, 3.55:1 Positraction and a Wide-Ratio M20 Four Speed, along with American Racing’s Torq-Thrust Alloy Wheels with Blue Streak tires. The Corvette was painted in Goodwood Green with a white racing stripe and had the six taillight modification that was popular back then.
Bob drove the Corvette all over the western United States promoting Chevrolet products. He did some drag racing and autocrossing in the Corvette, and when the 1967 model year was coming to a close, Bob sold the Corvette and was allowed to keep the proceeds as his bonus.
The kid that bought Bob’s Corvette blew the original engine within a few months, and a few months later was involved in a wreck on the I-10 that totaled the car. Or so Bob thought.
Fast forward twenty-five years later. A Southern Californian named Bob Radke buys a project car and although he didnâ€™t know it at the time, it still had the tank sticker. And unlike all other tank stickers Radke had seen, in the upper right hand site in the box marked COPO/F&SO there was a number in it.
Through diligence and hard work, Radke was able to track down Wingate (he was listed in the phone book!) and from there a bond was formed as Radke set out to restore the Corvette. After 7 years, the Corvette has been restored to its former glory. I love these kinds of stories and the article is very written with awesome photos to boot!
The full article can be found at: Corvette-Mag.com
Photo Credit: Richard Prince
You got to love Corvette people. They are the backbone of this great hobby and it’s great to see them rally around a cause. What’s the cause you ask? After spotting an apparently fraudulently represented 1967 L88 Corvette for sale on eBay, the message boards on both the CorvetteForum.com and NCRS.org started lighting up with news and information about this Corvette and its checkered history.
The 67 Corvette in question was listed with a reserve on eBay December 21st. The description lists the car as a real L88 Corvette – one of 20 in existence. The ad also has 17 photos showing different angles of the car, engine pad stamps and documentation including the dealer bill of sale and protect-o-plate.
As word spread of the L88 Corvette’s eBay listing, details slowly emerged that put the originality of the car into question. First, many users on the Corvette Forum started sharing photos of the stamped engine pad from the L88 and comparing those with other known L88’s and big block Corvette engines. The eBay L88’s stamp looked straight and flawless. The etchings were shiny as well and looked nothing like the other examples being shown.
And then came a post from GL Anderson whose father was the dealer that received the Corvette from the St. Louis factory and drove it in parades with the Shriners as one of their Patrol Corvettes. GL says when his dad picked up the car, it was originally a 350 small block and that everything the about the ’67 being represented as an L88 is false.
“Well he only got maybe 3 things right in his eBay ad. He did talk to me, it was sold to a William Neeck and it is a 1967 Corvette. Not only was it a 350hp small block car when produced and we picked it up at the factory, but it was also my Fathers Shrine Corvette Patrol parade car. Since my dad was the dealer and also in the patrol he never had to license his Shrine car but rather drove it on a dealer plate. The first true owner would have been Mr. Neeck. There are several photos out there showing the 67 Shrine cars and members standing by their car. I can point out that exact car in the pics. It had a blue interior from the factory. Everything about it being an L88 is a fake. The buyers invoice is fake, I don’t know about the repair order so maybe he got 4 things right. He came to me in the early 90s and wanted me to back his story about the supposed L88. I told him no way. By the way I was 21 in 1967 and between my twin brother and I put several thousand miles on that exact car. As to paperwork no I don’t have the factory invoice but I do have other documentation on that car. I don’t hang out on other Corvette boards but if anybody wants to know the truth, let them know it is a fake. I will be happy to provide the documentation I have and point out a number of errors he has made in his paperwork, but only to someone I trust won’t take that info back to him so he can do a better job next time.”
Gar Anderson, GL’s twin brother also was heard from. Gar had accompanied his father to the St. Louis plant when the cars were picked up in person. He said the documentation pictured in the listing is a fake as well. He said the seller tried to get Gar and his brother to collaborate with him on trying to sell this car as original, but Gar refused.
“The car is a complete fake. It was originally one of the Order of Shrinerâ€™s cars. All were white with blue interiors and all were small blocks. The L88 option wasn’t even available until January of 1967. This car was built in October of 1966. GL Anderson is my twin brother, and he and I were very involved with Anderson Auto at the time. The Ebay seller tried to minimize that fact. As a matter of fact, in 1967, my brother and I purchased our grandfather’s Buick, Pontiac and GMC dealership which was located across the street from Anderson Auto. Although we were in college and owned the Buick store, we continued to work at the Chevy store. If we would have sold a real L-88, you’d think we would be helping the seller, not trying to stop him.”
So being Corvette people and not content to just let an apparent fake be sold to an unsuspecting buyer, GL went to eBay and posted an auction that would show up if someone was searching 67 Corvettes and L88’s. The item for sale was a photo showing the Shriner cars being picked up at the St. Louis assembly plant. (See Photo) In the photo GL claims that his Dad is shown standing next to the Corvette in question and has other documents that will prove the Corvette is a fake.
So did the Corvette sell? In the closing minutes of the auction, the bid jumped from $185,000 to $450,000. While speculation was that the seller upped the price to save face, the high bid was placed by another Corvette guy to make a point:
“I bid on it knowing it was fake. Mainly I did it just to cost him some more money or at least the hassle of getting a refund through eBay. I figure if he wants to misrepresent the car then he deserves to have to spend some extra money and/or effort on his advertising. If the seller actually expects me to buy the car he will first have to present evidence which proves the car is not one of the Shriner’s cars. If he can do that then I’ll gladly pay his reserve price.”
What can we learn from a story like this? If you are going to clone a ’67 L88 Corvette, advertise it as such. Otherwise, seller beware! The Corvette community can and will police itself whenever possible.