A few L88 Corvettes have surfaced around the country in the past few months, but it would be hard to beat this well-documented 1969 example that will be auctioned off during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction to be held Jan. 23-31.
Starting in February 2012, restoration expert Roger Gibson spent 5,100 hours over the next 19 months to bring this historically important Corvette, one of just 116 examples made in 1969, back to the condition when it was first built in St. Louis.
The car had been in storage for almost 25 years prior to the restoration but now boasts of a fresh coat of Le Mans Blue paint with its matching bright blue interior and black vinyl auxiliary hardtop.
Gibson used lots of NOS parts and preserved original components when possible during the restoration, which of course included extensive work on the open-chamber head L88 engine, which basically turned the car into a racer when coupled with the M22 aluminum-case 4-speed transmission, Positraction rear, heavy-duty suspension, heavy-duty power brakes, a special cooling system and a raised fresh-air induction hood.
In October 2014, all the work paid off with a score of 98.1 in Top Flight NCRS judging.
The son of a wealthy Kentucky tobacco family originally special-ordered the car but decided not to take it for personal reasons. It wound up in Tennessee before being purchased in 1977 by Bryan Cooper, promoter of the Knoxville Corvette Expo. He then sold it to Corvette expert Paul Kitchen, and the two men dropped the gas tank and discovered the tank sticker for verification. Kitchens kept the sticker when he sold the car, but it was returned to the next owner in November 1987. Recently, David Burroughs and his “Prove It” process scientifically verified the sticker was indeed authentic.
The new owner will receive that all-important tank sticker and other impressive documentation of the car, including a letter from the original intended buyer, NCRS documents, and two binders that follow the restoration by Gibson.
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