1967 L88 commands $2.7M, second-most ever for a Corvette at auction
Chevrolet wrapped up the second-generation Corvette with a bang. Before the third-generation debuted for 1968, the 1967 Sting Ray received some one-year-only visual updates including a center-mounted reverse light, new canted louvers in the fender, and the fantastic “stinger” scoop for big-block models. The 427-cubic-inch engines available also included the powerhouse L88, first unleashed in 1967 and widely considered among the greatest big-blocks Chevrolet ever installed in a Corvette.
Consequently, the five highest prices brought for Corvettes at auction are all L88-powered, including this most recent addition to the top five list: a one-of-one 1967 L88 in Sunfire Yellow, a mellow color that belies the power under its hood.
The $2,695,000 price paid for this highly-documented and painstakingly restored coupe, at Mecum’s Glendale 2021 event over the weekend, places it behind the red-on-red 1967 L88 coupe that brought $3,850,000 at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction back in 2014 as well as the $3.4 million from an L88 convertible sold at Mecum’s 2013 Dallas event. Hagerty valuation specialist John Wiley noted that it was just two percent less than the #2(Excellent) value of $2,750,000.
The L88 Sting Rays bring such impressive prices partly because of their scarcity. Just 20 were built for 1967. It also was the most hardcore Corvette you could buy in 1967. Checking the box for the L88 engine meant the buyer would get aluminum cylinder heads, a solid-lifter cam, and forged pistons that bumped the compression ratio to 12.5:1. The rest of the rotating assembly included forged rods and crankshaft, kept in check by four-bolt main caps. All of the parts worked in unison to create the fire-breathing L88 that was vastly underrated at 430 horsepower.
Chevrolet built each L88 Corvette with the parts to help make the most of that tire-churning thrust. When a buyer checked the L88 engine option it also added the following: F41 suspension, a Positraction limited-slip differential, J56 heavy-duty brakes with vacuum assist, a heavy-duty Harrison aluminum radiator, and most importantly, the legendary Muncie M22 four-speed manual transmission. What didn’t the L88 didn’t offer? A heater or a radio; This was not the Corvette for cruising.
This car was a no-sale at Mecum’s Indianapolis auction in 2018, where it received a high bid of $1.7M. With this impressive showing at Mecum in 2021, many Corvette fans would argue this marvelous L88 finally found the buyer who knew its worth.