If your name's Irwin, you might want to steer clear of today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Corvette. For everybody else, this well preserved throwback to the ‘70s offers vintage t-topping, but will the price make you feel its sting?
In the nearly sixty year history of the Corvette, there have been high points of execution, as well as nadirs. Today's survivor 1975 ‘Vette is a model that is neither extreme, but does represent a period of one of the marque's downward arcs. To begin with, out of concern over Insurance industry profits, new rubber baby buggy bumpers had replaced the tidy chrome blades that originally adorned the Stingray upon its debut in 1968. The facelift softened its aggressive appearance, but at the same time gave the Chevy 2-seater a more up to date visage.
The top was still a 'T' and the body was still Coke bottle shaped, but thankfully the lamentable squared-off restyle that closed out the C3's lifetime was still a few years away. Featuring canted front fenders and a flowing A-line, the C3 Vette still gave credence to its Stingray moniker, and it's not unreasonable to imagine the car skating along the road as its namesake does across the ocean floor. However, unlike the one that did in Steve Irwin, this Ray offers no threat of poisonous tail barb. Sadly, it doesn't present the prospect of an aggressive kick in the ass either, because by 1975 pollution controls had taken the Corvette's cojones and had locked them in a safe. The 8.5:1 compression 350 put out a meager 165-bhp that year, and that was despite a new HEI ignition system and 4BBL Rochester carburetor. The optional L82 offered 9.5:1 compression and 205-bhp, but this car's not one of the 2,372 L82s built in '75. It is however like 75% of the 38,468 Corvettes produced that year in having the TH400 3-speed automatic- great for cruising, not so much for highway heroics.
Another questionable aspect of this car is the color. Sure it's a nice shiny shade of black, and in fact the seller makes it a point to note how good the paint is, commenting on the reflections shown in it. The problem though is that there were ten colors offered on the Corvette in '75, and black wasn't one of them. The last negative on this car is the wheel/tire combination. The tires are Multi-Mile Grand Am Radial GTs, and the wheels look like they've spent some portion of their existence hanging on the wall at a Pep Boys. Now, Multi-Mile may make a damn fine tire - I don't know - but in this day and age, having radial imprinted on the sidewall in raised white lettering doesn't instill a cracker barrel full of confidence.
Okay, enough of the demerits, how about the positives? On the plus side, that unoriginal black does look pretty nice. And the black interior looks good with seats that appear to have been re-skinned, and a dash that boasts more dials per square inch than most contemporary competitors. The 165 horsepower that this car brings to the table may seem anemic, but back in the day Car and Driver managed to launch the Vette to sixty from a standstill in under 8 seconds, which is not horrible. Plus who's to say this car couldn't benefit from some inexpensive mods that, while making the air a little more lethal, makes the performance a little more ass-kickier? The under 90K on the clock means that it's not as worn out as an AARP-eligible hooker, and, as I noted earlier, those little roof-lets just pop right off there leaving nothing but the T-bar and blue sky between you and the overloaded digestive tracts of birds. Wear a hat. One of the most intriguing aspects of the car - and one that will be up to you to determine whether a pro or a con - is the price. The seller here is asking $4,900 for this shiny black Vette.
Now, a Benjamin-shy of five large is still a lot of scratch, but is it Corvette scratch? Sure, this car's not the most desirable of the breed, but it's still a pretty good looking car, and as the basic mechanical elements are bullet-proof should provide cheap, reliable transportation no matter what. But when you do the math, is it worth that?
What's your take on this half-blood prince? Is $4,900 a price that would make you want to swim with this stingray? Or, is that price make this Vette a fish out of water?
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