- Highly original example of the final C2 Sting Ray coupe
- Handsome original color combination with black stinger hood
- 427-ci V8 engine
- Single Holley 4-bbl carburetor
- 390 hp at 5,400 rpm
- 4-speed manual
- Displays less than 50,000 original miles
- 2007 Bloomington Gold Survivor Award
- 2015 NCRS Second Flight Award
- Accompanied by original jack, spare wheel and owner’s manual
- Offered with original tank sticker and important documents
|Vehicle:||1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/390 coupe|
|Number Produced:||8,504 (all 1967 coupes)|
|Original List Price:||$4,588|
|SCM Valuation:||Median price to date, $90,200; high sale, $783,000|
|Tune Up Cost:||$500|
|Chassis Number Location:||Cross brace under glovebox|
|Engine Number Location:||On block in front of right cylinder head|
|Club Info:||National Corvette Restorers Society|
|Alternatives:||1957 Corvette 250-hp Fuelie, 1963 Corvette 300-hp L75 coupe, 1968 Corvette 435-hp L89 convertible|
This car, Lot 25, sold for $83,600, including buyer’s premium, at the Gooding & Company auction in Amelia Island, FL, on March 11, 2016.
Here’s a question: Would you rather have an authentic Civic War flintlock or a made-for-a-TV-reality-show replica? How about a 1963 Cobra roadster or a continuation-series car? A three-minute ride on Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or a trip through Silverton, CO, behind a real steam locomotive? It would surprise me if most people didn’t instantly choose the Real McCoy in all cases. And why not? Real is as good as life gets.
That brings me, in my usual roundabout philosophical way, to the Corvette shown here, which Gooding sold at no reserve for just shy of $84,000 at Amelia Island in March.
The car was presented as a substantially original 1967 L36 big-block (390 horse) Corvette, painted in attractive Marlboro Maroon and equipped with a black interior, a 4-speed transmission, a Positraction rear axle, tinted windows and a still-useful-today AM/FM radio.
All in all, this was a desirable package when first sold at Daniels Chevrolet in Colorado in March 1967 — although that said, it was hardly top of the line, as above it on the roster lived four more powerful 427 engines. Numerous additional options were also available that year, including air conditioning, power windows, power steering and power brakes — none of which this car had. But it was desirable nonetheless. After its Rocky Mountain years, the Corvette migrated to owners in Kansas and finally Illinois.
Owning its past
This is exactly how I’d want to find a Sting Ray — nicely equipped in an attractive color combination, low miles on the clock, substantially original and lovingly preserved. There is adequate evidence to support this one’s quality bones, including a fair chunk of its ownership history and especially a recent NCRS Second Flight Award to go with an earlier Bloomington Gold Survivor Award, described as a “certificate of historic preservation.”
However, it isn’t really this Corvette’s paint or interior — which presented very well in the catalog — that earn my respect here. What has my attention is the restraint shown under the hood by this car’s past custodians.
There sits the Turbo-Jet engine, boisterously orange as Chevy motors were in the day, with its big chrome air-cleaner lid and hulking valve covers unapologetically announcing big-block power. But key here is this car’s obviously original components, which carry their age with distinction.
Chipped paint on those huge bread-loaf valve covers? Consider those as beauty marks. Rusty patches on the iron intake manifold? Hoses and thermostat gaskets leak sometimes, and besides, it rains in the Rockies. Oxidized fasteners and brackets, and vintage-looking wiring, further added to this car’s authenticity. Parts that have clearly been replaced, such as the upper radiator hose and clamp, were done per OE spec. Nicely played.
If you say it, prove it
The above praises aside, some wording in this car’s auction literature makes me wonder just how original this car actually is.
For instance, the catalog description says the car retains “a majority of the factory paint.” What’s a majority? 50.1 percent? Maybe I’m being pedantic here, but photos of the car clearly show that the passenger’s side door paint differs from that of the right-front fender.
Another question has to do with the car’s mileage (the odometer shows 49,223). In one place the auction copy says that when the car was purchased by a Colorado couple in 1977, “the odometer displayed 38,850 miles.” And that now, it “currently displays less than 50,000 original miles.” The words “displayed” and “displays” leaves room for conjecture that the mileage cannot be fully authenticated. Fortunately, though, a lube sticker dated 1971 in the driver’s door opening shows 18,726 miles, suggesting the car traveled about 4,700 miles per year during its early life.
Further, the auction copy says the Sting Ray is “is believed to retain its important original mechanical equipment” and interior. Well, I can “believe” in Martians and Sasquatches, but that doesn’t make them real. And so again, the descriptions of this car leave room to debate what is actually original and what isn’t.
Not helping matters was that this ’67 Sting Ray was presented in the auction copy as a “Stingray,” a name that, as every certified Corvette geek knows, did not appear as one word until the 1969 model year. And finally, absent from the catalog presentation were under-car photos and information about the mechanical condition of key components, such as engine compression, gearbox and differential, brakes, etc. What were buyers to assume? I’d necessarily hope for the best while assuming the worst.
The price is right
The reason I mention the above points is not because I don’t like this car. The 4-speed C2 coupes are truly my favorite vintage ’Vettes, and the features, condition and stated pedigree of this one are genuinely exciting. I assert the above points because the car did not meet its pre-auction estimate of $90,000 to $120,000, and academically, I have to wonder why.
ACC’s 2016 Pocket Price Guide pegs ’67 L36 coupes at a median of $90,200, so perhaps the $84k selling price of this example was market-correct. But it may also mean that buyers didn’t think this one was all that convincing as a Survivor. In either event, a sale price below both the existing median price and the estimate range at a major auction suggests there isn’t much hope for a huge upside on this one. As such, I’ll call this Sting Ray fairly well sold.
(Introductory description courtesy of Gooding & Company.