When you’re dealing with “an exceptional car,” sometimes you can sell it for “an exceptional price.”
That’s the way a Hagerty official sums up the $610,000 (plus buyer’s commission) someone just paid for a museum-quality 1969 L88 Corvette – nearly $200,000 above the estimated value of $425,000 in the current edition of the Hagerty Price Guide.
This was no ordinary L88, though.
Only 116 such 1969 cars left the St. Louis factory with the monstrous 427 V8 engine developed at the urging of Zora Arkus-Duntov to go around GM’s racing ban. The big block motor had the rare open-chambered aluminum heads designed to increase airflow and decrease the compression ratio to 12.0:1, a performance camshaft, and a four-barrel Holley carburetor that produced 430 horsepower, supposedly five less than the 427/435 L71 (wink, wink).
Other performance-enhancing features of this car include a numbers-matching Muncie M22 rock crusher four-speed manual transmission, 4.11:1 Positraction rear end, heavy-duty suspension, power disc brakes, and transistor ignition.
This highly original coupe, coated in the highly desirable Tuxedo Black paint, is about as good as they come – having earned numerous prestigious awards between 2005 and 2016, including four NCRS Top Flight Awards, two Bloomington Gold Certifications, a Bloomington Gold Survivor Certification, MCACN Concours Gold and Triple Diamond Certifications, and others.
Legendary Corvette restorer Kevin Mackay even maintained the L88 and transported it to events, but surprisingly, when it came time to sell it, the car was offered at no reserve on Bring a Trailer. Of course, maybe that’s why interest on BAT – as well as the price – skyrocketed because bidders knew the car would eventually have a new owner, if they just outlasted everyone else.
The seller had acquired the car in 2020 from its ninth owner, who had owned it for six years. The history can be traced back to the original owner who ordered it on Feb. 12, 1969 and took delivery on June 29 at Jack Sullivan Chevrolet in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The sale included extensive documentation, including an album of photos taken by the original owner early in the car’s life, as well as a log of all nine previous owners and the original bill of sale showing the price of the car to have been $6,733.85, including $1,032.15 for the L88 engine. But the original owner received a discount of $1,033.85, some $1.70 more than the cost of the L88 engine!
But Hagerty’s Greg Ingold, HPG assistant editor, says the high price for this ’69 alone is not enough proof to suggest that the L88 market is shifting. “The L88s that have come to live auction haven’t had motivated buyers or sufficiently motivated sellers,” he says, noting the “no-sale” on a pair of L88s offered at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction last month.
The recent sale of this ’69 L88, however, “certainly has our attention,” Ingold says, “but it will take another price-guide-breaking result to move the needle.”
One more thing: Be sure to watch the interview with Mackay on Bring a Trailer at this link.
Bring A Trailer
[VIDEO] Corvettes for Sale: No Reserve Black/Black 1969 Corvette L88 Coupe
First 1967 Corvette L88 Sells for $2.5 Million at Mecum Kissimmee
[VIDEO] Mecum Shares the History of the ‘Ultimate’ 1967 Corvette L88 Racer