How would you like to buy a brand new 1978 Silver Anniversary Corvette today?
Yes, we know it’s been 38 long years since any new 1978 models were sold by a dealer, but this one up for sale on eBay right now is quite possibly the closest thing you’ll ever find to a new one these days.
The bids have already run up to $23,100 and quite naturally haven’t met the reserve, but the auction goes on through May 28. How high will it go?
But what’s so special about this 1978 Corvette in the first place?
Well, it was purchased new in June 1978 by Paul Adams and immediately put into storage with just 4.1 miles on the odometer.
“The flatbed backed up to the garage, they rolled it off, he fogged the engine and put it up on blocks, and that’s where it spent the next nearly 38 years, virtually untouched,” says Chip Lamb, collector car dealer and veteran auctioneer.
“It has never been dealer prepped – the wax crayon markings from the factory are still on the tires, front bumper, rear taillight. The hood release still has a cardboard cover, the hubcaps are in a bag, the horn button and contact are loose, the carpeting is still covered in cardboard, [and] the seats [are] still wrapped in plastic.”
The car has the highly desirable L82 engine, as well as a bundle of other options since Paul Adams bought the car at dealer invoice through his brother-in-law, Emery Bart Smith Jr., a GM regional sales representative in Fredericksburg, Va.
The options include power windows, power locks, removable glass roof panels, electric rear window defogger, air conditioning, sport mirrors, cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering, 60-series white-letter tires, a heavy duty battery, an AM/FM stereo with a built-in CB radio, dual rear speakers, aluminum wheels, the Convenience Group and the popular FE7 Gymkhana Suspension package, which included the a heavy duty front anti-sway bar, springs, shocks, and a rear anti-sway bar. FE7 was available on 1974 to 1982 Corvettes.
The sticker price topped out at $13,658.21, but Mr. Adams was able to buy it for just $10,400 plus tax, title, and other fees.
In case you recognize the name of Paul Adams, yes, he is the one who was an early National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) Judge and was on the Bloomington Gold Certification board and a vendor of C1-C3 Corvette parts from the 1970s-90s.
Sadly, Mr. Adams didn’t really get to enjoy his new Corvette. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the late 1990s and passed away in 2009.
“His brother John stated to me the other day that I was possibly the first person to ‘slam’ the hood since 1978 as I prepared it for its journey in the trailer,” Lamb said.
Whether his foresight to put away the car for a future collector to enjoy was a wise investment remains to be seen, though a similar car with a whopping 9 miles on the odometer sold for $37,100 (including the auction house’s premium) back in 2010. We’ve got to believe this one should go for more than that.
After all, the original MSRP climbs up to $50,000 in today’s dollars, which is still less than you can buy a new 2016 model for – though we’re inclined to believe a lot of progress in automotive technology has been made over the past 38 years!
Says McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, the world’s largest provider of collector car insurance and publisher of the Hagerty Price Guide:
“Many of the Silver Anniversary cars were put away when new as they were among the first of the ‘Instant collectible’ car craze that started in earnest with the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible. There was a time where it would be unusual to attend a few collector car auctions and NOT see an under 100 miles example. Those days are gone, but there are still occasional ultra low mileage examples that show up once a year or more.”
According to Hagerty, the market for 1973 to 1982 Corvettes is down 4.5 percent over the market peak in 2006, but since then, the special editions like this Silver Anniversary are up 12 percent since then and the 1978 Pace Car replicas are up 22 percent.
They definitely don’t get any more original than Mr. Adams’ car.
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