The Corvette has been around for almost sixty years at this point, so you’d better believe there have been some significant cars built and sold during that time. In the past decade in particular, the collector car market took off, and many important cars traded hands and sold for vast sums for money. It can be confusing to try and keep track of so many different cars under the same moniker.
1962 Gulf Oil Corvette
Picture: Gooding & Company
There are some spectacular examples of legendary Corvettes changing hands in recent years, not the least of which was ’62 Gulf Oil Race Car. This particular car was originally sold for a few hundred dollars until the new owner realized its significance. It later sold for nearly $1.5 million. That is a significant sum of money.
Perhaps even more thrilling was a ’53 Corvette. It may not seem all that important (despite its rarity) until you realize that it was VIN # 003. This was the third Corvette ever produced! It sold in 2006 for over $1 million as well. We’ll let the rest of the list speak for itself.
1. 1963 Grand Sport (#2). $4 to $5 million. Fell short of RM reserve of approximately $5 million but within months it sold privately for approximately $5 million.
2. 1962 Corvette Gulf Oil Race Car. Sold at Gooding Auction at Pebble Beach for $1,485,000.00. Great historical car that dates this writer’s personal involvement when he sold this car in the 1970′s for a few hundred dollars as “thought to be” an old drag car out of his bone yard. Oh my!! What a few decades and doing one’s research means to significant Corvettes.
Yenko “Gulf One” Corvette
3. 1963 Corvette Z06 Yenko “Gulf One” Race Car. Sold at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction for over one-million dollars. Historical race car with driver present. Great presentation equals great results.
4. 1953 Corvette VIN #003. Sold in ’06 for over $1 million (Barrett-Jackson) and VIN #005 sold same year for over $840,000.00 (Mecum). In 2007, more 1953′s were sold at auction for over $400,000.00 (RM and Worldwide). Only 300 produced with maybe 50% to 60% accounted for. Every true Corvette collection should have at least one!!!
5. 1967 Corvette Coupe “The Last Sting Ray”. Over the top restoration. Over the top promotion by ProTeamCorvette.com of Ohio produced a $660,000.00 winning bid at Barrett-Jackson 2007. Significance is in the eye of the beholder but so much has been written and blogged about this car that can still be accessed at TheLastCorvette.com.
6. 1965 Corvette Cutaway Autorama Display. Sold at RM for over $700,000.00. GM Engineering display and a true marvel. If you never have seen this car, you truly are missing much. Sent to South Africa as an educational devise then reimported in the early part of the 2000′s decade. Neat!!!
One of just 216 L88 Corvettes ever made
7. The L88′s with only 216 produced over a three year span – 1967 (20) • 1968 (80) • 1969 (116). Any sale whether auction or private should be noted. Did Roger Judki pay over the top at Mecum in the earlier 2000′s when he paid $600K plus for the red 1967 12-mile coupe? Was the (BB) auction at Pebble Beach (8/08) for the 1967 L88 Race Car at $744,000.00 a good deal? A slew of 1968 to 1969 L88′s have sold at auction and privately for as high as $650,000.00. ie: 1968=$572K (8/09) • 1969=$446K (10/07) • 1969=$436K (6/08) • 1969=$413K (1/08) • 1969=$335K (1/06) • 1969=$323K (1/25) • 1969=$318K (6/09). The sale (auction) to watch is the 1967 black L88 ex-Tony Delorenzo race car at this year’s Mecum at Monterey auction.
8. The 1970-’72 ZR1′s & The 1971 ZR2′s. The ZR1 is basically a small block L88 where as the ZR2 is GM’s final C3 attempt to produce a big block 425 hp with L88 equipment. Very rare as only 53 ZR1′s were produced over the 1970 to 1972 production years and even rarer are the 12 ZR2′s produced in 1971. Example of auction results for the 1971 ZR2: $550K (Mecum 6/08) • $358K (BJ 1/08) • recent private sales for the 1970, 1971 & 1972 ZR1′s are $250K, $280K, and $100K in need of restoration.
9. GM Styling Corvettes. These are shop order cars that came out of GM Styling and some were done for the “Brass”, ie: Bill Mitchell, Harley Earl, Bunkie Knusen, etc. of which one of the most significant was/is the 1963 Harley Earl Corvette that recently sold for $980K at Mecum’s Spring Indy auction. Just Google Harley Earl and read the volumes of information of what this pioneer did for General Motors before bean counters and Wall Street took over. This is an era that will never be replicated I am sorry to say!!
10. The Original – Unrestored • Unmolested • Survivors that not only are original but also in a condition that they can compete on the show field where they were judged against a standard that they are as they were when driven out of the Corvette plant when new (within reason). These cars represent the most legitimate cars that exist as they are what they are and negate the need for documentation/paperwork (whether real or Memorex). One such example, a 1969 Silver 435 hp convertible with 6,200 actual miles recently sold at RM’s San Diego auction for $231K and many uninformed asked the question, “Why!” as they thought the car was a $100K to $125K car at most. I consider the purchase as “well bought” and in fact was the second to last bid missing this buy for a mere $5,000.00. At the end of the day and as people wake-up they will see that these objects are more than just a car. They are and will be antiques and, like art, will be best left alone. “An item is only original but once.” Please pay attention!