Rides from the Readers: 1972 Chevrolet Corvette

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1972 Chevrolet Corvette coupe mountains
Robert Defraeye

Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, tips@hagerty.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.

Today’s featured vehicle is a 1972 Chevrolet Corvette. This year marked only incremental changes for the C3, though the very next model year would usher in the era of “rubberized” bumpers on each end; 1972 marked the last year for the trim chrome bumpers. Overall you’d need to be an eagle-eyed Vette fan indeed to distinguish between this model year and the two preceding ones. Mechanically, the big news for ’72 was a standard positraction rear, the withdrawal of the LS6, and the downward tick in horsepower ratings thanks to the adoption of SAE Net calculations.

This particular Vette belongs to reader Robert Defraeye, who bought the silver coupe when he was 21 years old. The changes Chevy rolled out for the 1973 model year (chiefly the bumper treatment) convinced him that the ’72 was the best choice, but over the years, he determined that some mild improvements were in order. “My father’s 1967 Chevrolet Impala with a 327 cu-in, 275-hp could beat my Corvette,” he writes. “How embarrassing is that?”

Today, the car boasts a full body-off restoration to its original silver paint and a few tasteful upgrades under the hood: a competition roller cam, an Edelbrock intake and carburetor system, and high-compression pistons (10:1 vs. the original 8.5:1). Ceramic headers allow the rejuvenated powerplant to breathe.

Before the restoration, which was completed in 2011, Defraeye racked up nearly 250,000 miles in his beloved Vette between 1972 and 1991, crossing Canada and the U.S. half a dozen times. The Vette’s visited the Redwoods in California, Daytona Beach in Florida, and the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Today, he and his wife wind around the Rocky Mountains in the Vette—only on nice days, of course. We couldn’t approve more.

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