By now, you’ve probably memorized most of the Corvette story. From Zora Arkus-Duntov to the Mako Shark, to the bailout years, each of the now seven generations has its own key moments and cast of characters. At this point, the third generation of Corvette accounts for the middle section of that story and, looking back, is a remarkably appropriate car to hold that place. If you’re looking for a single C3 representative to add to your collection, options don’t get much better than this investment grade 1968 Corvette. It’s a numbers matching L89 427ci/435hp car backed by a four-speed and all the best performance options. An original California car documented from day one, there are no mysteries regarding its past and, best of all, it remains largely unrestored. The car has earned NCRS Top Flight honors and carries it’s original tank sticker and window sticker among other original paperwork. If you’re series about authentic Corvettes, this C3 belongs in your garage!
The window sticker shows the car left GM’s St. Louis, Missouri assembly line in the following configuration:
•4-speed close-ratio manual transmission
•Aluminum cylinder heads
•Power disc brakes
•Full transistor ignition
•Special off-road exhaust system
•F41 performance suspension
•F70x15 2-ply white stripe tires
•Posi-traction axle / 3.70 gears
•435hp Turbo-Jet V7
Grand total: $6,308.70
Factor in inflation and that’s comparable to roughly $42k by 2013 standards – not bad for this kind of performance. Of course, the casual observer would never know just how potent this car really is. Thanks to the Silverstone Silver paint, this C3 stays low-key despite the big numbers under the hood. While the rest of the car is original, the paint is not. Sometime in 1983, a previous owner decided to paint the car black. That misstep was corrected in 1994, when the car was returned to its factory-given hue. The top coat fronts an all original fiberglass body that shows absolutely no signs repair. That original look has served the car well on the show circuit. The numerous judging sheets included in the sale rarely deduct anything for the exterior – certainly a key factor in achieving Top Flight status.
The ’68 Corvette marked a radical redesign which brought several aspects of the 1965 Make Shark II concept to life. This C3 carries plenty of original pieces to accent its authentic look. To the front, a familiar C3 cross-flag emblem combines with a bright chrome bumper and a small black chin spoiler to frame a natural combination of clear parking lamps and stainless-trimmed grilles. Above that bumper, a scooped, chrome-trimmed, and “427” branded hood sits just beyond the pop-up headlights. The glass presents well, framed by clean stainless and malleable weather-stripping. The side profile hosts amber corner markers at both ends with little more than the traditional Corvette gills and “Stingray” badging finishing off the side view. At the rear, dual round taillights offered some signature styling from their place above a split rear bumper with a chrome-trimmed license plate recess in the center.
Tilt the hood forward to find an impressive centerpiece – the legendary L89 427hp/435ci big block. The foundation is a rare 3916321 casting number block with an A11 (January 11th) casting date. The assembly stamp decodes as T (Tonawanda) 0508 (May 8thh) IU (L89/4spd) while a partial VIN confirms the block’s authenticity. The piece is topped by aluminum heads and an aluminum intake with a trio of Holley two-barrel carburetors. While the horsepower gains were marginal over the L71, the weight savings went a long way towards creating a better balanced driving experience. As a California car, this Corvette shipped with a smog system that remains in place today, spinning alongside the alternator while the water pump pairs with a single fan and an OEM radiator to keep the big block cool. The K66 transistor ignition is tucked away under the chrome ignition cover which, when paired with the chrome air cleaner assembly and valve covers, gives the engine compartment a nice finished look. Cast iron heads, correct decals, and host of factory-installed ancillary components do a great job at communicating just how authentic this bay really is.
Shine a light under this Chevrolet and you’ll find an unrestored undercarriage complete with rock solid floors and vintage hardware. Behind the big block, the original close-ratio Muncie M21 4-speed still delivers authoritative shifts, authenticated by its May 7, 1968 build date and a matching VIN derivative. From there, power spins down the driveshaft toward a posi-traction axle with versatile 3.70 gears. As tempting as it is to upgrade these cars, the suspension holds steady with its stock F41 suspension. Up front, a double A-arm front suspension absorbs the bumps while an independent rear with lateral leaf springs keeps the rear in check. Push this Corvette through the corners and you’ll appreciate the surprisingly light manual steering paired with tough J50 power disc brakes. One unique aspect of the undercarriage is the optional N11 ‘off-road’ exhaust system which looks the same as the standard setup but offers better sound and performance. At the corners, 15-inch rally wheels with ‘top hat’ centers and beauty rings meet the road through a fresh set of F70-15 Firestone redlines, rounding out the vintage look.
Between the doors, a well-preserved interior offers space for two with plenty of vintage style. At the ground level, nicely aged door sill plates anchor clean black carpet protected by rubber floor mats with the cross-flag emblem. The transmission tunnel is crowned by a tapered console that makes room for heater controls, an ashtray, and a chrome shifter while further back, power window switches frame the emergency brake handle. Slide into the captain’s seat to admire the large factory speedometer and tachometer. The duo is supplemented by a group of smaller gauges in the center of the dash that keep an eye on fuel, water temperature, time, oil pressure, and battery output. Below, the original AM/FM radio still pulls signal, voicing those transmissions through a speaker in the dashboard. A three-spoke steering wheel tops a non-adjustable column while a trio of stainless-trimmed pedals hang below, waiting for input. Overhead, removable T-tops open up the space, adding another great feature to an already desirable car.
This Corvette comes with all sorts of paperwork to back up its originality. For starters, its original window sticker, tank sticker, and purchase order are all included. There’s also copies of registrations, inspections, and other state paperwork.
With its original L89 tri-power 427cid V8, Muncie four-speed manual transmission, killer list of options, and easy-to-live-with interior, this is both a fun and comfortable car to own and drive. With countless original pieces and a great vintage look, it’s also a great conversation starter with a very bright future in the collector marketplace. Early C3 lines are some of the best and this is a great living example of that design. Don’t miss the opportunity to add this document L89 Corvette to your collection today!