Looking for a chrome-bumper C3 Corvette that you can drive every day?
You might want to check out this 1972 Stingray currently up for sale on craigslist.org out of the San Ramon area, which is east of San Francisco.
Originality is the best way to describe this blue coupe, which includes the matching-numbers LS5 454/270 horsepower big-block engine that still resides under the hood. With the original 4-speed manual transmission still intact, this car could provide a lot of low-tech fun for a new owner.
By the way, horsepower ratings decreased across the board in 1972 because of mandatory emissions-lowering tuning.
The seller describes the car as “not a trailer queen” but points out that it “has always been garaged and pampered” so it remains “in excellent condition inside and out” despite being nearly a half-century old.
Indeed, he claims it could even be an everyday driver if desired as it “starts right up and is very dependable.”
While this Stingray retains its brutish 454 engine – one of just 3,913 produced that year at an extra cost of $294.90, it does include its share of options that make it more refined, like power steering, power disc brakes, tilt and tele steering column, and the original AM/FM radio.
There should be plenty of life left in that big block, too, as the car is believed to have covered just 58,450 miles during its lifetime. If you’re still worried, the seller notes that he can put you in touch with a long-time vintage Corvette specialist who has just serviced the car “to give you an unbiased opinion.”
The fiberglass body, meanwhile, appears to be holding up well, and overall the paint is still shiny, though we did notice a few chips on the doors where inconsiderate drivers have dinged it over the years.
The seller notes that the car had not been detailed before the pictures were taken for the listing, and we believe it would have shown much better if he had waited until an ongoing check-up with a mechanic had been completed. Still, the blue leather seats seem to be in acceptable condition, as do the instrumental panel, console, and door panels.
Perhaps most importantly, this California car shows no signs of rust underneath.
With the Corvette taking on a more refined GT philosophy through the rest of the third generation, this one represents the end of an era in many ways. The ’72 marked the end of the line for several C3 trademarks, including the front and rear chrome bumpers, removable rear window, and the pop-up windshield wiper door. Only three engine choices were available, the smallest number since 1956, with the standard 350, the small-block LT1, and the big-block LS5. We owned a ’71 LT1 for a couple of years, and while it definitely can’t match the current refinement of the C8, it was still a very enjoyable car in its own way.
About the only thing we’re not sure about with this ’72 is the asking price, which we believe to be way too high at $44,950, considering that it’s not in perfect restored condition. Indeed, we found several other examples well below $30,000.
It’s interesting to note that when this car was new, the LS5 wasn’t available for sale in California because Chevy didn’t have time to complete emissions certification of the engine there. California had imposed limits on oxides of nitrogen not applicable to the 49 other states, and while Chevy knew it would indeed pass the testing for California, they decided to drop the LS5 from testing anyway due to a lack of manpower to certify every engine/car combination, especially considering the anticipated low sales figures for the 454. For the performance-minded, however, the 454 does generate a whopping 70 more horsepower than the standard 350 (but only 15 more than the LT1).
Finally, we’ll leave you with a “back in the day” comment about the ’72 Corvette from then race-car driver Tony DeLorenzo: “You can’t get a better overall performance car. I’d be hard-pressed to find a better car for the money than the ‘Vette. It’s just an incredible automobile.”
Does that remind you of any other Corvettes, like, say, the current C8?
Corvettes on Craigslist: One-Owner 1974 Corvette 454 for $17,500
Corvettes on eBay: Goodwood Green 1967 Corvette Survivor with 35K Miles
Corvettes on Craigslist: Nostalgic 1973 Corvette Drag Racer