At first glance, one might think this is just another nicely restored big-block Corvette. But that perspective is to be significantly altered with the realization that this is a 15,000-mile original car that wears its original paint and interior.

Chip Miller was, and still is, widely considered one of the most influential innovators of the Corvette hobby for collectors and fans alike. He established Corvettes at Carlisle, and his private collection of low-mileage, unrestored, original Corvettes was hand-selected from more than 40 exceptional cars that he owned over the years. His cars were kept in climate- and humidity-controlled storage, where they were lavished with care and attention, and each was considered the finest of its type.

This rare L72 427/425 was originally delivered in 1966 to Sherwood Chevrolet of Montrose, Pennsylvania. By 1972, it had passed through just three appreciative owners and was in the care of Tom Denner. Chip Miller discovered the big-block coupe at the Cavalcade of Corvettes in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, and, after realizing how impressively preserved this car is, he purchased it for roughly $6,400.

After some time with the car, he became deeply attached to it and was heard to say that he would never sell the car. He held it in the same regard as his 1953 model and L88 and claimed, “There can’t be a nicer original ’66 interior on earth.” Over the years this car earned a long list of awards, from a Bryner Award of Excellence to NCRS verifications and, in 1989, it was included in the Bloomington Gold Special Collection—strong testaments to its high quality.

The only work that has ever been done to the car was a chassis-only restoration undertaken by Kevin Mackay. This was done after much deliberation and saw the body lifted off the frame, the chassis sympathetically restored, and the engine, suspension, and other mechanical components thoroughly detailed. However, only the frame was touched.

Miller was true to his word and never sold the car. It was purchased by Michael Schudroff from his estate, and has remained in his care ever since. To date, the car has covered 15,642 miles; the rare Milano Maroon paint is exceptionally nice, given its age, the saddle interior is nearly perfect, and the car looks fabulous with its teakwood steering wheel and goldline tires—three of which are original. The car even wears a Pennsylvania inspection sticker from 1975. It seems this car is equipped with F41 suspension, a Positraction rear end, 4-speed gearbox, and off-road exhaust—great options that further enhance its rarity and prestige.

The extensive file of documentation that accompanies this car includes the 1966 owner’s manual, accessory book, radio-operating instruction pamphlet, owner protection plan, countless articles about the car, judging sheets, receipts, photos of the minor chassis restoration, letters, correspondences, and awards. It is one of the finest big-block Corvettes to be found anywhere, and with its unblemished history, impressive provenance, and vaunted status in Corvette circles, it will be an astute addition for any collector of low-mileage or original cars.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1966 427/425 Coupe
Years Produced:1966
Number Produced:9,958 coupes
Original List Price:$5,475
SCM Valuation:$68,000–$125,000
Tune Up Cost:$350
Distributor Caps:$12
Chassis Number Location:Cross brace under glovebox
Engine Number Location:On block in front of right cylinder head
Club Info:National Corvette Restorers Society 6291 Day Road Cincinnati, OH 45252
Alternatives:1965 396/425 coupe 1965 327/375 FI coupe 1965–66 Shelby GT350
Investment Grade:B

This car sold for $143,000, including buyer’s premium, at the Gooding & Company auction at Pebble Beach, California, on August 16, 2009.

This is another unique piece of Corvette history to change hands at the Gooding auction, and it brought an amount in the current-market ’67 427/435 territory. In fact, Gooding’s suggested auction catalog value was even higher, at $160k–$200k.

The original owner just wanted to go fast

The original Pennsylvania owner probably had one thing in mind when he ordered this car: Go fast. The following options were checked on the dealer order form: maroon exterior, saddle vinyl, 427/425 (L72), quick take-off wheels (P48), goldline tires (T01), off-road exhaust system (N11), special suspension (F41), AM/FM radio (U69), and a teak steering wheel (N32). Transistor ignition (K66) and a close-ratio Muncie transmission (M21) were required with the RPO L72. The car was built December 18, 1965.

This Corvette was always maintained and lovingly cared for. Chip Miller bought the car and a trailer in 1972 for $6,400, selling the trailer for $400 to lower his overall cost.

Several years ago, Lance Miller sold his recently deceased father’s coupe at the first Carlisle Auction. Michael Schudroff of Carriage House Motor Cars in Greenwich, Connecticut, made it part of his vast collection of “cars that matter.” This ’66, and the 1963 Rondine Corvette he purchased a couple of years ago for $1.76 million at Barrett-Jackson (CM3, p. 36), were joined with 48 other of his post-war collector and special interest cars at Gooding this past August.

Between NCRS and Bloomington Gold, we have seen dozens of low-mile, original, and unrestored Corvettes. Ed Foss is probably the most notable collector of these Corvettes anywhere. He has 50, all with original paint, exhaust, drivetrain, and lots of paperwork. Lance Miller offered him this coupe several times before it was eventually auctioned off. The reason for the car not being part of the Foss Collection? “Too many miles,” Ed told me. “They have to have less than 10,000. I drew the line when I started collecting.”

The work changed the car’s value forever

Although this ’66 has been touted as “one of the finest unrestored Corvettes in existence,” I’m not sure that it is the case. Once cars have been taken apart, cleaned up, and put back together, they are no longer original. Far too many original Corvettes have undergone this process in the past.

In the late 1970s, Chip Miller sent his ’66 to Kevin McKay in Valley Stream, New York. There was a great deal of undercoating on the chassis, so McKay took the body off the frame, stripped it, cleaned everything, and reassembled the car. Although McKay’s work is the finest and his knowledge of these cars immense, it changed the collector value forever. Let’s face it, cars like this will be driven sparingly, mostly on and off the trailer for concours and car shows.

This coupe received a very early NCRS Flight Award (pre-1984), was invited to be a part of a Bloomington Gold Special Collection, and was the cover car for Vette magazine in March 1987. If this ’66 had a recent Bloomington Gold/Benchmark and/or Survivor Award, or recent NCRS Duntov/Bowtie Award, it might have pulled closer to the $160k–$200k that was hoped for.

In today’s market, cars with any stories suffer. In the not too distant past, many collectors paid way too much, and when the music stopped, there were no chairs to sit on. With this car, Corvette fanatics can (and have, and will continue to) sit long into the night arguing about whether the chassis should have been detailed.

One faction will maintain that, since the undercoat wasn’t applied at the factory, doesn’t the removal of it make the car more “factory-correct”? And the other will say that it should never have been touched. Still another group of collectors, those like Foss, may complain about the “high miles” on this car.

There is no right or wrong here, and the market has spoken. At this price, even though substantially below the low estimate, I believe this car brought all the money in today’s market.

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