L88 on the Block
Quality Corvette at Mecum
Larry Jewett - January 12, 2014 10:39 AM
From 1967 to 1969, Chevrolet built only 216 of what would become known as the Holy Grail of Corvettes, the L88. Production peaked at 116 cars in 1969, including this expertly restored L88 convertible.
In 1977, the car was discovered in Knoxville, Tennessee, by Bryan Cooper, promoter of the Knoxville Corvette Expo for 36 years, and former Corvette dealer and noted authority Paul Kitchen, who was also credited as one of the early contributors to the classic Corvette collector’s lodestar, the Corvette Black Book by Mike Antonick. The pair took the car to Cooper’s shop, where they promptly dropped the gas tank to retrieve the all-important tank sticker that would reveal its specifications in detail.
With its provenance confirmed, the car was eventually purchased in November 1987. Joe Cheeks and David Love, partners in collector car specialists Automania in Three-Way, Tennessee, placed it in careful storage. In February 2012, it was delivered to renowned Corvette and muscle car expert Roger Gibson, who performed a no-expense-spared frame-off restoration, making extensive use of NOS parts. It took some 5,100 hours of work. Nineteen months and over $242,000 later, the car emerged in its present as-factory-original state, coated in correct LeMans Blue with a matching Bright Blue interior and Black vinyl auxiliary hard top.
The L88 convertible’s precious tank sticker is but one piece of its documentation, which includes NCRS Shipping Data Report showing delivery to Stafford & Cannon Chevrolet in Liberty, Kentucky and Documentation Validation Service records for the tank sticker, two three-ring binders containing a comprehensive photographic record of the restoration, copies of all receipts and a complete and detailed description of the work performed by restorer Gibson and his team.
Lot S163 will be sold on Saturday, January 25, at the Mecum Kissimmee Auction. Details can be found at www.mecum.com