Sold at $3,200,000
Highest Corvette Sale Price Recorded
Larry Jewett - September 09, 2013 10:24 AM
What is believed to be the highest price paid for a Corvette happened this weekend at the Mecum Auction in Dallas, Texas. Lot 123, part of the Buddy Herin, stole the show with the multi-million dollar bid.
The 1967 Corvette L88 convertible, purchased new at Lyman Slack Chevrolet by Jim Elmer of Portland, Oregon, is one of 20 L88 Corvettes produced in 1967. Elmer bought the car to race; he made his first pass with the new car fresh out of the box at Puyallup Dragway in Puyallup, Washington, running a scorching 11.47 with the sole additions of exhaust headers and seven-inch slicks. That set the tone for the car’s extensive drag racing career, which first made headlines when it captured the A/Sports class win at the 1967 Indy Nationals. Elmer ultimately ran a best of 11.12 at 127.45 mph, but soon after his Indy win, he damaged both the transmission and the rear end, only to have his warranty claim rejected when he showed up at the dealership with the car in full competition trim, including sponsorship decals and elapsed time stickers on the windows!
Unwilling to pay the costs of repair, Elmer sold the car to his friend and fellow racer Rob Robinson in February of 1968 for the princely sum of $5,000. In partnership with local GM parts man Clayton Cotardi, Robinson campaigned the car in NHRA A/Sports through 1968 and 1969, running all the popular West Coast venues - Irwindale, Half Moon Bay, Woodburn, Seattle, Puyallup and sometimes in Boise, ID. Described by Robinson as “totally impressive for its era” and “in a class of its own”, the car consistently ran between 11.1- and 11.3-second times at 125-130 mph and placed among the top five in NHRA national points standings.
In 1970, Robinson returned the L88 to street trim. It was later purchased by well-known Corvette restorer Tim Thorpe who began restoring the car before selling it to Buddy and Nova Herin in 1998. The Herins turned to the Nabers Brothers of Houston to complete the restoration in the factory color combination of Marlboro Maroon with Black stinger and soft top, adding Kelsey Hayes finned aluminum bolt-on wheels and non-DOT Redline tires. In the process, Buddy Herin found that the color sold as Marlboro Maroon did not match the hue he had seen on unpainted original cars, so he reached out to DuPont to produce a paint that correctly matched the original factory color; that formula has been adapted by the National Corvette Restorers Society in its restoration guidelines. Still retaining its mostly original interior, this L88 convertible is presented in its full glory, including the L88 427/430 HP engine, M22 “Rock Crusher” 4-speed manual transmission, 4.11 rear end, J56 heavy duty brakes and J50 power brakes, factory side exhaust and F41 Special Suspension; it is also believed to be the only 1967 L88 convertible to retain its original body panels. Winner of a Regional NCRS Top Flight award in 1997, it was also a participant in the 2008 Bloomington Gold L88 Invasion. Documentation for this rare first-year L88 convertible included the tank sticker, vintage racing photographs and time slips, including the first one issued after its maiden run at Puyallup Dragway.
(Information provided by Mecum)