Classic Classified: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe L89 427
From: Cars & Parts, June 1979
Price then: $14,000 invested ($47,400 adjusted for inflation)
Price now: $49,700 - $143,000
Approximate dollar difference: $95,600
Annual rate of return: 3%
“Corvette 1969 L-89 T-top, 435. Ground up restoration, over $14,000 spent on restoration, rally red, Indy Pace wheels with matching redline tires, absolute flawless concours condition, must be sold. Best offer cash or trade (need new Olds or pickup in diesel). Other trades considered.”
This is quite the leap the seller is making, and it’s a leap in the wrong direction. The car in the 1979 ad features the L89, which is a big-block V-8 with Tri-Power and aluminum cylinder heads—one of the most desirable engines fitted to the C3 Corvette. Meanwhile, the seller suggests a partial trade for the now-infamous Oldsmobile designed 5.7-liter diesel, an engine so weak that the only way to smoke the tires would be to actually light them on fire… an engine so unreliable that it damaged America’s view of diesel car engines for years. Why such a trade was suggested is a mystery that not even the energy crisis can explain. In hindsight, selling an L89 Corvette to buy a diesel Oldsmobile is the automotive equivalent of letting Bernie Madoff handle your investment account. L89 Corvettes have averaged steady appreciation over the years, and a good example is easily a six-figure car. The same probably can’t be said of this seller’s next purchase.