GM has long been a proponent of turbocharging, but one car that has never seen a turbo in its factory form is the Corvette.* According to the ad for today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Coupe, that almost actually happened. You'll need to decide the veracity of that claim, and whether or not this Vette's price blows.
Yesterday's 1978 Jeep M35 wasn't a Deuce and Half, and it didn't take long for you all to deduce that, while an audacious and mondo sick ride, its price was just as off the hook. That resulted in a 74% Crack Pipe loss for the Big Bird-esque truck.
Did you just recently fall off the turnip truck? Did you know that 'Gullible' isn't in the dictionary? Okay, I know that you didn't, and yes, it is - I looked it up. That means you will probably cast a skeptical eye on the claim that today's 1979 Chevy Corvette is a GM engineering prototype turbo.
It is true that GM was playing with turbos in the late '70s, as emissions controls and fuel economy standards had taken their toll on horsepower. At the time, the hottest Corvette was a 225-horse beast (195 in California) and nobody liked that. Adding a turbo and you could pump the L48 or its stouter cousin, the L82 to levels that were almost respectable.
This one however, doesn't make me think Mr. Goodwrench had anything to do with it. This is a Martin turbo kit, which is a draw-through design with both the 4bbl carburetor base and turbo ductwork cast into the manifold. That hooks up to a turbo that seems to be bolted directly to the left-side exhaust manifold. Whether or not the off-side gasses are sent over to help isn't clear.
These draw-through designs are dirt simple as you can just throw the carb right there on top. On the down side, you can't run an intercooler, and the fuel pulled through the turbo can severely shorten the life of its bearings.
I'll leave it up to you to decide if this car is actually a GM prototype, or if it's just a car that has a period-accurate turbo kit. For what it's worth, the rest of the car looks to be in decent shape, albeit in need of a good deal of work.
According to the ad the headlights work, but the poppers don't. The wipers gave up the ghost and so someone put a switch… under the hood? The carpet is crap, the paint is primer, and the odo says 27k which probably ain't right. Lastly, the tranny is a three speed slusher, so you'll have to boo-hoo that.
On the plus side, the frame doesn't look to be holier than thou, despite what appears to surface rust. The body is likewise straight and appreciably stock. This being a '79 it has the bubble back and the fold-down seats, so access to your carry-along goodies is pretty easy. Also, it has mirrored T-tops which are the '70s-ist T-tops to have.
The seller claims the car starts and 'drives down the road very well.' It's a 'no hit car' and ones with new tires, battery alternator and brake parts. All that, comes at a price of $4,800.
Now, $4,800 for a rare factory prototype with documentation would be a steal, no? This car doesn't come with any papers and the VIN isn't provided so we can't check that to verify the seller's story. Still, it's a seemingly solid Vette with a turbocharged V8, and that's got to be worth something.
You'll need to decide if this turbo-sporting Corvette is worth its $4,800 asking. What do you think, does it seem to make the grade? Or, is this Corvette's price blowing the deal?
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*I'm not including the Callaway cars as they were factory sanctioned, but not factory built.