In the late-1960s, the Corvette was one of the “cars to beat” in varying racing series. It was also one of the few American cars that stood a chance against the likes of Ferrari , Aston Martin , and Porsche . One car, however, has topped every other Corvette throughout its lifespan: this is the 1968 Chevrolet L-88 Corvette Owens/Corning FIA/SCCA Racing Car with the chassis No. OCF/T.P.I. 002-68.
With its numerous victories in SCCA and FIA races throughout its life, particularly in the ’60s and `70s, this L-88 Corvette is often referred to as the most victorious racing Corvette ever. Now, documentation is scarce on some other Corvettes, so that is technically an unofficial title, but regardless, it is one accomplished piece of machinery.
After its retirement, this particular model was lost in the shuffle and wasn’t found again until its previous owner decided he had to have it. After hiring Corvette specialist, David Reisner, to find this classic `Vette, he finally met the Corvette he had been searching for. It was found at Road Atlanta when a colleague of Reisner overheard a racer claiming his `Vette as being an ex-Jerry Hansen and Owens/Corning car.
After all of this time and money spent searching for this car, it is now being presented at auction by RM Auctions in August 2012.
Click past the jump to read our full review.
After this Corvette’s current owner got a hold of the car in 1990, he hung on to it for about 10 years before deciding to restore it. The Owens/Corning Corvette was brought back to its original racing condition in 2000, and it still looks excellent today.
It features a white undercoat with red accents throughout, including on the hood, front lip, roof, trunk and the rear quarter panels. The number 12 is predominantly displayed on its door, hood, and trunk, and the advertisements are still affixed to the car, including the all important Owens/Corning insulation ad.
Unlike the Stingray Corvette that this model spawned, the headlights are not the pop-up variety. They are permanently fixed in the upright position on the front end with a plastic shield on each to lower drag. The massive side-exit exhaust appears to be powder coated white to match the rest of the exterior.
The L-88 Corvette boasts the same Coke-bottle shape that the Stingray `Vettes boast, and the color scheme really brings its arches over the front and rear wheels to life.
Overall, the exterior looks to be in fantastic shape and is ready to be shown tomorrow, if needed.
On the inside, it is very obvious that we are dealing with a race car here and not a luxury ride. Behind the black-rimmed steering wheel are all of your necessary gauges, including: water temperature, oil temperature, oil pressure, tachometer, amp meter, fuel pressure, and even an axle temperature gauge. As with many race cars, there is no speedometer, as you just need to know if you are driving fast enough to catch the car in front of you.
The center console boasts a plethora of buttons to press and switches to flip, in order to keep this beast running. The shifter looks in perfect harmony with the rest of the simplistic interior, as it boasts a chrome stalk and shiny black handle – nothing too fancy.
The seats are black vinyl, just as you would expect in a race car. The driver’s seat is a low-back racing seat, whereas the passenger seat looks to be a factory Corvette seat. Surrounding the driver and passenger is a large roll cage that keeps them protected in a rollover crash.
Surprisingly, the interior isn’t as gutted as you would expect of a race car. Upon a quick glance, it may even look somewhat stock, but a good investigation proves that it’s definitely not the factory setup.
Engine and Transmission
Under the hood of this monster lies a 427 cubic-inch V-8 engine that wallops the concrete with 685 horsepower at 6,600 rpm. This L-88 big-block engine mates up to a Muncie M-22 “Rockcrusher” 4-speed transmission. It gains the nickname “Rockcrusher” because of the god-awful grinding noise it make between gears.
RM Auctions doesn’t let us in on what axle is driving the rear wheels, except for the fact that it’s a live axle. Given the style of racing this car did, we would assume the gears would likely be in the 3.70-to-1 area.
Just like with the rear axle, RM Auctions left us in the dark about the L-88 `Vette’s 0 to 60 time, but with 685 ponies and likely in the neighborhood of 480 pound-feet of torque, we can safely place this classic Corvette in the 4-second 0 to 60 range.
Back in the 1960s, cars were built around the engine, with the suspension and amenities coming as an afterthought. This rang true in the racecar realm too. The front suspension is fairly advanced, as it is an independent wishbone design with coil springs. The rear suspension, however, is a dinosaur, as it boasts a live axle with a transverse leaf spring. The only semi-advanced items on the rear suspension are the adjustable Koni shocks.
Well, you have the most celebrated Corvette racecar in history, arguably, and it is in near-mint condition. Plus, you could fire it up, drive it to the track, and kick ass straight from the auction block. Yeah, this puppy’s gonna cost you a little bit. Okay, maybe a little more than that, as RM Auctions anticipates a final gavel amount of $950,000 to $1,350,000.
You’d better bring your big-boy wallet with you.
It’s a piece of racing history that was thought to be lost forever, plus it is the Corvette with the most wins... We absolutely love it. We could live without paying $1.35 million for it, but that doesn’t take away our love for this famous `Vette. If the stars align correctly on auction day, you could potentially snag this classic icon for around the $750K mark, as there is no true market value for a piece like this and buyers may be leery.
- 685 horsepower
- Awesome paint job
- Interior is acceptable as a daily driver
- Phew, that’s one expensive `Vette
- More specs, please!
- It’s not sitting in my driveway right now