The first year C3 Corvette is a unique beast. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe ‘68 convertible is even more so, owing to its base model status. Let’s find out if its price appeals to your base instincts.
Kaiser once dusted off the Jeepster concept and reintroduced it more than a decade and a half later as the Commando. Seeking to go that marque one better, the seller of yesterday’s 1969 Jeep Jeepster Commando claimed it was garaged for 30 years and then brought back to life. That rejuvenation included an engine rebuild, fresh brakes and new tires. Now ready to rock, it’s offered for sale $12,500.
Fully 70 percent of you would jump at that Jeep at that price, earning it a solid gold Nice Price win.
Okay, pop quiz time: what mechanical aspect does yesterday’s Jeep and today’s 1968 Corvette convertible have in common? Yes, we will accept “leaf springs” as that is true, both cars have them in back, with the Vette’s being a single transverse unit. The answer we were looking for however, was a three-speed stick-shift transmission.
That’s right, both of these ‘60s icons rocked fewer gears than you probably had on your first Schwinn. That may seem “so-what worthy” when it comes to the Jeep, but it’s an interesting bit of historical cheap-assery when you’re considering the Vette.
The ’68 Corvette is interesting in a lot of other ways too. The C3 model was supposed to debut in ’67 but teething troubles pushed that back a year to ’68. Based on the problems many owners of that first year’s models had, it’s safe to say Chevy could have left it in to bake even a little longer.
Features unique to that first year include pushbutton exterior door latches, smaller 7-inch wide wheels, and the omission of the Stingray badge on the front fenders. Inside, the ignition switch on the ’68 sits on the dash instead of the steering column, the steering wheel is larger than those of later years, and the vital map pocket on the dash is MIA.
What the ’68 does share with the other early (say pre ‘74) C3s is super sexy good looks. These sit on a slightly modified C2 platform but with a rocket-sleek body that’s very much a production-ized version of Larry Shinoda’s 1965 Mako Shark II show car.
This one, in polar white is still just as sexy, even if it is presently rocking a different wheel at each corner. Those will just unbolt and get tossed, and how much could a nice new set of (7-inch) steelies cost, really?
The paint is said to be fairly new and the chrome seems to be decent condition. There’s some jankiness to the body panel fit, especially with the driver’s door. That, or the seller snapped his pics with both hood and door ajar. Still that hood looks like something you might want to roll around on in lingerie, even if you’re a fat fifty-year old dude, it’s just that slinky.
Underneath the slinky hood lies a 327 CID V8, probably offering up 300 gross horsepower. I say probably because we don’t get to see the engine—a private seller major faux pas—but it is expected that it’s the entry-level engine seeing as it has the base three-speed stick. According to this production breakdown, out of the 28,566 Corvettes sold in 1968, only 326 carried the three-speed stick. That makes it both rare and some sort of Scotsman’s badge of honor for originally being the cheapest way into a Corvette’s driver’s seat.
That driver’s seat is a little grody here so bring a towel if you intend to take a test drive. The radio is missing as is the carpet, and the whole space looks like it needs some TLC or maybe a BFG and then a do-over. Also, that steering wheel looks to be off of a later car.
The car comes with both soft and hard tops, so that’s a plus. That hard cap was a $231.17 option when new. The seller says the car runs and drives, and it seems to come with a clear title. In a little bit of hyperbole, the seller also describes the car’s condition as “excellent” in the Craigslist ad. That’s so cute.
The price is a cool $19,500 which may seem aggressive considering where chrome bumper Vette prices are these days, but then you have to weigh the advantages/quirks of this being a ’68 model and the lack of cogs in its fun box. Well guess what, that just what you’ll need to do right now!
What is your take on this oddly kitted Corvette and that $19,500 price? Does its inherent sexiness outweigh both price and quirks? Or, is this a C3 that’s priced to make you say See you later?
H/T to fauxshizzle for the hookup!
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