When you’ve got one of only 116 1969 L88s ever made, you’ve obviously got a prize Corvette.
Add in an impressive frame-off restoration, mix in a very interesting racing heritage, and you’ve got the makings for one very, very desirable Stingray.
Just how desirable?
How about a Corvette that fetches $680,000 at the recent Mecum auction in Dallas?
That’s what this triple black L88 convertible brought.
This Corvette has a lot of heritage, having been purchased new by one of the top Corvette racers of the 1960s, Tony DeLorenzo.
DeLorenzo was no stranger to the Corvette L88 as he had dominated SCCA racing in a 1967 L88 and later shared 22 straight wins in a pair of Owens-Corning Fiberglas-sponsored C3 L88s with his racing partner Jerry Thompson.
DeLorenzo apparently liked the Corvettes so much that he special-ordered this triple black L88 to use as his daily driver from his racing sponsor, Hanley Dawson Chevrolet. It turned out to be one of only two L88 convertibles in 1969 that carried this wicked-looking paint, interior, and top color combination.
Of course, this was no ordinary daily driver. Perhaps it took a race car driver to appreciate its stripped-down brutality as owners had to take the L88 with no radio or heater, no power accessories or air conditioning, and no fan shroud (which led to chronic overheating in traffic), and then had to use aviation-grade gasoline.
It was basically a race car in street clothes, created by Zora Arkus-Duntov to get around the corporate ban on racing. The L88 wasn’t cheap even in its day as the option added $1,032.15 to the convertible’s $4,438 base price, nearly $600 more than the L71 option that was actually rated 5 horsepower higher than the L88’s obviously underrated 430hp.
Photo Credit: Mecum/D.Duckworth
Still, this raw brutality was of no concern to one of the greatest Corvette racers who ever lived. DeLorenzo drove this L88 daily after he added some custom touches to match his Owens-Corning-sponsored racer, including chromed Kustom exhaust headers and side pipes, FIA-spec Plexiglas-covered headlight assemblies, fender flares, and a urethane bumper.
Eventually, in December 1969, DeLorenzo sold the L88 to his friend Curt Wetzel, who used it to dominate racing throughout Europe. Eventually, the Porsche factory even bought the car to keep from having to compete against it. The next owner, Hans Hirt of Switzerland, returned the car to the track during his 12-year run as owner before he sold it to a Dallas man who had a frame-off restoration done in 2003 by the legendary Naber Brothers.
The restored L88 is a big hit at Corvette shows nowadays, where it’s instantly recognizable from his European license plate signed by DeLorenzo. It was placed in the Bloomington Gold Special Collection and earned NCRS Top Flight honors in 2005. The next year, it earned Bloomington Gold, Chevy Vettefest Gold Spinner and Triple Crown awards and was named to the Bloomington Gold Special Collection in both 2007 and 2008.
No wonder that this car brought such a high price at the recent Mecum auction!
Tony DeLorenzo’s Personal Triple Black 1969 L88 Corvettes Heads to Mecum Dallas
Bloomington Gold Benchmark 1967 Corvette Heading to Mecum Dallas
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