1969 CHEVROLET Corvette 427 Targa CoupeView vehicle description
Following the C2 was never going to be an easy task for Chevrolet, but it’s fair to say the C3 not only matched the hype of the C2, but also exceeded it, thanks in part to its even more exaggerated styling which is certain to turn the heads of anyone on the street.
Modelled after the Mako Shark II concept of 1964, the C3 generation Corvette was based upon the existing Sting Ray, and remained visually very similar to the concept upon which it was based, though it was adapted and slightly ‘softened’ by GM’s Hollis and Haga.
Underneath, the chassis, fully independent suspension and disc brakes were carried over from the C2, along with the manual transmissions, available in both three and four-speed, whilst the automatic option was upgraded to a Turbo Hydramatic three-speed item, as opposed to the two-speed Powerglide seen in earlier Corvettes. Both small and big-block engines were available, mostly in 350 and 427 cubic inch formats.
Interestingly, despite GM keeping the lid on their new design, the reveal was eventually spoilt by Hot Wheels releasing their range prior to the cars launch, containing an authorised ‘custom corvette’ model, which was near-identical to the ‘68 MY Corvette.
Built in 1969 at GM’s St Louis plant, this C3 Corvette 427 was out-shopped in ZQ4 trim, and was originally red, before being re-sprayed into the striking 984 Daytona Yellow you see before you during a restoration later in its lifetime, but more on that in a moment.
Equipped with the four-speed manual gearbox and L36 big-block motor fitted with a Rochester four-barrel carburettor producing 390bhp and 460 lb/ft of torque, this was a real ‘drivers car’ of the period, especially with its non-assisted steering, close gear ratios and heavy clutch, making every journey behind the wheel of this C3 a raw, visceral driving experience.
Purchased by a South Carolina-based gentleman during the early 2000’s, the car was extensively overhauled and restored between 2005 and 2016, with a lot of work having been carried out by the then-owner and his brother, with a view to returning the then-forlorn Corvette back to its full glory.
As part of this restoration work, the car was entirely stripped, with the engine and transmission being rebuilt, the entire interior renovated (after initially being chucked in a skip, then retrieved by a distraught owner!) and any issues with the electrical, cooling or on-board systems attended to and rectified, with a no-expense-spared approach to the restoration, which culminated around 2015.
It was during this restoration that the car was stripped from its original red and re-sprayed in 984 Daytona Yellow, a move which we reckon was absolutely the right one, as the aggressive profile of the C3 looks simply stunning in yellow, particularly with the T-tops removed.
Notably, the restoration was carried out with a view to preserving as much of the car’s originality as possible, utilising existing parts and refurbishing wherever it was safe to do so, as opposed to using NoS or pattern parts, though there were some areas where this was, naturally, unavoidable.
During the restoration, the frame was re-aligned, a new fuel tank and lines fitted, and any other safety-critical components worked over in a methodical fashion, with the resulting work taking around 10 years to complete, thanks to a mixture of a laid-back approach and numerous workshops spending time with the vehicle.
Interestingly, the car was purchased by the above owner on 81,845 miles, and sold on only 81,915!
Following the culmination of works, the car passed to another US-based owner, before being imported into the UK during April 2016 (at a cost of £3,257 for the transportation alone) and subsequently being registered with the DVLA, with all required HMRC fees and duties paid, with the date of UK registration being only a couple of months ago in November 2021.
Now, having been correctly imported, registered as a historic vehicle and ready to use on English roads, this absolutely jaw-dropping American icon has come up for sale with us here at The Market via a well-known trade seller, making this an exceedingly rare opportunity to obtain a C3 that is virtually fresh from its restoration, and ready to simply jump in and drive with all of the hard importing work and documentation being already completed by someone else - their loss is your gain!
On the Outside
Resplendent in Daytona Yellow, this 1968 C3 Sting Ray coupe is in strong condition, and remains as arresting to this day as we imagine it was back in 1968.
The now-iconic lines of the C3 remains in excellent shape, with no noted indentations, damage or impacts spoiling the lines of this 60’s muscle car, nor any noticeably mis-aligned panels, with both doors and the bonnet - or should that be hood - opening and closing with ease.
Not only is the bodywork excellent, but so too is the paint, which is striking and rich throughout, with no unsightly scuffs or damage to report, beyond the odd stone chip which is to be expected from a high-performance car such as this.
Looking closer, there are some small patches of bubbling that are incredibly hard to see, scattered around the body such as above the near side headlight, trailing edge of the rear body ‘scoop’ around the drivers edge of the bonnet, and above the offside rear window. That said, we do want to re-iterate all of these patches are incredibly hard to notice unless you’re looking for them, and none have broken the paintwork, suggesting this is a paint reaction issue more than anything else, especially since the bodywork is, of course, fibreglass!
There are also some light ‘ghost’ marks visible on the rear section and roof, though these would likely polish out with a decent detailing and do not appear to be too deep. Finally, the fuel cap does not latch down correctly.
Other than the above, we found very little in the way of flaws with the exterior of this C3, with all of the chrome trims, bumpers and badges present and correct (with numerous parts looking like they’ve been recently replaced) and only some light usage patina on typical areas such as the recessed door latches, window surrounds and side badges, along with some more significant patina on the recessed hood vents, though this is largely hidden in regular use.
All four wheels are wrapped in matching Avenger G/T tyres, and are free from any unsightly marks or kerb rash, though there is some signs of surface corrosion visible behind the chrome ‘lip’ of the wheels upon close inspection.
On the Inside
Whilst the Corvette has never been the last word in luxury, we can’t help but feel that in today’s world of over-engineered interiors, carbon-fibre inserts and overbearing assistance systems, the simple, driver-focused black vinyl interior of this C3 seems like a very appealing place to spend time.
The good news keeps coming, as the interior was entirely refurbished and overhauled during the restoration process, and as a result presents like new throughout, save for a few areas of delightful age-related patina on the chrome details, badges and dial surrounds, which only adds to the character that oozes from this C3 in every area.
As far as we could tell, all the dials are working correctly, and the pop-up headlamps are also fully functional, though the right-hand-side lamp sometimes requires some gentle assistance to complete its cycle. Typically, however, the vacuum-operated wiper door is inoperable, though this is a common fault on C3 Corvettes, and there is plenty of aftermarket and enthusiast knowledge and assistance available on the subject.
Elsewhere, we can find virtually no signs of wear-and-tear on the seats, door cards or carpets, and even high-traffic areas such as the shifter, steering wheel and dashboard are in excellent shape, showing only some very light usage marks consistent with a car that has recently (in terms of mileage) been restored.
In fact, so minor are the issues that we found, that the two stand-out problems are that the driver’s sun visor does not fold up correctly, and the carpet around the base of the driver’s seat is slightly curled, though this is hidden in day-to-day use. Remarkable!
The appeal of the Corvette has always been in its everyman performance, and this 427-equipped C3 is no exception, especially coupled with the engaging four-speed transmission.
Starting with ease and settling into a characteristic rumble that signifies just how powerful this 7.0-litre V8-equipped muscle car really is, the whole time you’re behind the wheel this ‘Vette is a sensory overload, but in the absolute best way possible.
Pulling away, the clutch and gearshift are both impressively direct and reassuring, though it should be noted that the un-assisted steering is heavy at low speeds - this is not a car for the faint of heart!
On the road, the shift between gears is impressively tight, but we did find that at lower RPMs in third the car appears to have a misfire and would buck, with several backfires noted during our test drive. This, we’d suggest, is not likely to be a big issue, and could simply be down to its lack of use since the restoration work was completed, or perhaps just a signal that a slight carb adjustment and tune is required.
The engine itself presents well within the cavernous bay of the Corvette, with numerous chrome fixtures to ‘dress up’ the bay.
During our inspection, we noted a very slight pooling of oil below the left-hand (driver side) valve cover, though this could simply be due to a perished seal, and was, in our opinion, minor. Otherwise, there were no signs of any untoward issues that we could see, though the block, ancillaries and bay would benefit from a few afternoons in the garage with some cleaner and elbow grease to bring them back to showroom-fresh condition.
Underneath the car, the chassis looks to be in remarkably good order, in keeping with the car’s limited use. There were no signs of any concerning corrosion that we could see, with only the most minor of surface ‘bloom’ noted on exposed components, in keeping with the car’s condition and mileage.
Despite being registered as a historic vehicle, the car currently has a valid MoT certificate until 21 December 2022, with no advisory items noted.
The history for this Corvette is extensive, there’s certainly no doubt about that. Pop the kettle on and take a look through all of the documentation, which has been photographed and is available for your viewing pleasure below.
In terms of highlights, there is extensive documentation from the latter days of the US restoration, with significant levels of invoices and correspondence between the then-owner and Corvette Central, details of the interior restoration, a hand-written history of the car’s time in the US, and numerous invoices for parts and sundry items.
The ex-owner states the engine was rebuilt at a cost of $4,500 by Hamm’s machine shop of Newbury, SC, though there is no invoice for this work.
In terms of UK-based history, the V5 is present showing 0 former UK keepers, numerous documents and invoices relating to the shipment of the car from the states, HMRC and DVLA invoices and registration documents, and the current MoT certificate.
What We Think
Arresting looks, incredible performance and a driving experience few other cars of the period can match, this is a true driver’s car, and a fantastic example of how high-performance motoring looked during the 60’s and 70’s in America, which makes our meek little British sports cars of the era look rather boring indeed!
This 1969-built example is pretty fresh from its restoration, having barely turned a wheel in the years since. Complete with a rebuilt motor, refinished interior, respray in Daytona Yellow and any known issues attended to whilst in the States, all this C3 needs is a new owner, perhaps some minor tuning and it’ll be ready to terrify your neighbours and passengers alike.
One for the drivers and the enthusiasts, this is an opportunity not to be missed by any self-respecting muscle car enthusiast - good luck!
Viewing is always encouraged. This particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays between 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
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