Gems of Corvette History: Exploring Twelve Rare 1967 L88 Corvettes

Explore the captivating history and legacy of the rare 1967 L88 Corvettes showcased at the Bloomington Gold Collection. These iconic vehicles, with only 20 units produced and a mere 14 believed to exist today, offer a glimpse into automotive history. In a stunning display, twelve of these remarkable L88s graced the 2018 Gold Collection. Each bearing unique tales of racing triumphs, unfortunate mishaps, and enduring passion. Let’s delve into the extraordinary narratives behind these elusive gems, each carrying its distinct mark in the world of automobiles.

1967 Black L88 – Only Black Convertible:

VIN 194677S109097

Let’s start our journey with VIN 194677S109097, a significant piece in automotive history. Originally purchased by renowned race car driver Tony DeLorenzo from Hanley Dawson Chevrolet in Detroit, it now (2018) belongs to Charles Michael Ungurean.

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This particular vehicle holds a special place as the inaugural 1967 RPO L88 constructed, marking its distinction as the first L88 to triumph in a race and the sole black convertible of its kind.

Originally sporting a red stinger, the car underwent a transformation by Tony himself, adorning it with a Marina blue hue to harmonize with the Goodyear Blue Streak tires. Tony’s racing endeavors in the Central Division SCCA National races propelled this car to victory in its inaugural race at Wilmot Hills, WI. Notably, his achievements secured a qualifying spot for the SCCA runoffs at Daytona that year, where he finished second in AP, narrowly trailing Dick Smith’s 427 Cobra.

FEATURES:

  • The first and last production Corvette L88s offered together as one lot
  • The 1967 Convertible is recognized as the very first production Corvette L88 produced and is the only 1967 L88 Convertible to have been finished in Tuxedo Black
  • The car was campaigned by Tony DeLorenzo and Jerry Thompson in 1967 and it finished 2nd place in the 1967 Daytona Beach SCCA Runoffs
  • The 1969 Coupe is the last Corvette L88 produced and was built on December 4, 1969, the final day of production
  • A body-off restoration was performed by L88 specialist Jim Thorpe and the car retains its matching numbers 427/430 HP V-8 with aluminum heads and intake manifold

1967 L88 Meets Guardrail:

VIN 194377S110055

Presenting a distinguished 1967 Corvette L88 at the 2018 Bloomington Gold show, was owner, Philip Castaldo. This remarkable vehicle was originally acquired from Rosenthal Chevrolet, Arlington, VA.

The car holds a unique history; in September 1967, during an intense street race, John Wiggins faced an unfortunate incident, losing control and colliding with a guardrail, impacting the rear of this exceptional Corvette. This incident led to Wiggins’ hospitalization, and from his bedside, he made the decision to part ways with the damaged yet historically significant Corvette.

1967 L88 Race Car No. 9:

VIN 194377S113787

Enter the remarkable world of Harry Yeaggy’s prized possession, race number 9, a true gem once navigated by legends Bob Bondurant, Dick Guldstrand, and Don Yenko. This historic vehicle, adorned in Marina Blue and identified by the VIN 194377S113787, carries a storied past.

Notably, this C2 1967 L88 Corvette Stingray holds an exclusive claim as the sole Stingray to have graced the prestigious Le Mans track. Despite its impressive legacy, the race met a challenging fate when, on the 167th lap, a connecting rod failure forced an early retirement after nearly 14 hours of fierce competition.

Yet, amidst this setback, the L88 showcased its incredible prowess, achieving a groundbreaking class speed record of 172 mph on the Mulsanne Straight. The chassis, meticulously prepared by Guldstrand, and the powerhouse motor, crafted by Traco, underscore the engineering excellence embedded within this unparalleled racing machine.

Silver Pearl L88 Corvette 1967 Convertible:

Acquired in 2017, this exceptional piece found its new home at the Worldwide Scottsdale Auction, fetching an impressive $1,980,000. Among the limited run of 20 L88s crafted in 1967, only half emerged as convertibles, adding to the rarity of this particular gem.

Immersed in automotive lore, the Bloomington Gold program guide recounts the captivating tale of Jim & Scott Lynch’s 27-year pursuit to make this Corvette their own. Adorned in the exquisite Silver Pearl paint, this L-88 Corvette boasts a captivating legacy.

Detailed records from Worldwide Auctioneers shed light on its history, stating, ‘While retaining its original powertrain, the engine block underwent replacement during the mid-1970s—a common occurrence among L-88s due to their racing pedigree. However, meticulous attention ensures that the current engine block maintains complete authenticity, matching stampings, broached deck, date codes, and casting numbers.

1967 L88 from the Rare Wheels Collection located in Windermere, FL:

This extraordinary L88 Corvette achieved a historic milestone as the highest-priced production Corvette ever sold. At the Barrett Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, back in 2014, this marvel commanded an astounding $3.85 million, a testament to its exceptional value.

Distinguished by its unique red on red livery, this Corvette stands as the sole representative of its kind. Insights from a Fox YouTube video shed light on its intriguing past; the original owner’s affinity for drag racing, showcasing its prowess in quick quarter-mile dashes.

Having traversed through the hands of discerning collectors, it has found its place of honor in the coveted Rare Wheels Collection located in Windermere, FL.

L88 1967 Corvette with Never-Stamped Engine:

This 1967 L88 stands as a testament to rarity, boasting the distinction of being the lowest-mileage model in existence. Originally delivered by Alan Green Chevrolet to a Seattle rail yard, its journey took an unexpected turn when the new owner had intentions of transforming it into a dragster, yet the project remained unfinished.

For nearly a decade, this pristine machine lay dormant in a warehouse until 1975, having amassed a mere 11 miles on its odometer. Eventually finding its way to Lincoln Auto Salvage, it changed hands twice before catching the attention of Jim Krughoff and David Burroughs in 1985.

Under Burroughs’ meticulous care, the racer’s white paint and decals were removed, unveiling the original essence of this L88. Notably, a never-stamped L88 engine was discovered. Remarkably, the window sticker, a relic of its delivery, has remained intact, bearing witness to its untouched history.

With its original paint and interior impeccably preserved, this automotive marvel now finds its place in the museum of the fortunate new owner, C. Davis Nelsen.

1967 Ermine White with Black Interior L88 Coupe:

Within the impressive collection of Roger’s Corvette Center in Orlando, resides a cherished gem—a 1967 Ermine White with Black Interior L88 Coupe, personally owned by Roger Judski himself. In a noteworthy exchange, he traded a 1957 Corvette to secure this prized possession, which has held a special place in his collection since 1987. This iconic L88 stands as Mr. Judski’s personal favorite, a testament to his enduring passion for these remarkable vehicles.

1967 Factory L88 #92 Corvette Dana Racer:

Under the ownership of Kevin Mackay, this esteemed race car boasts a lineup of skilled drivers, including John Peter Hill, Rex Ramsey, and Ron Cassile. Initially sponsored by the renowned high-performance dealership DANA CHEVROLET in 1967, the car gained further backing from HARRY MANN CHEVROLET in 1968.

At DANA Chevrolet, racing luminaries Dick Guldstrand and Dale Armstrong supervised its drag race performance, assembling a team of acclaimed racers like Bobby Joe MacDonald. John Peter Hill, a seasoned racer, approached DANA seeking an L88, and it was Dick Guldstrand who facilitated the purchase, delivering the L88 to Hill in early May.

Immediately sent to the race shop for SCCA rule compliance, this L88 made its mark at Stardust Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, and Riverside CA under car #92. Co-driven by Rex Ramsey, Hill later garnered sponsorship from Harry Mann Chevrolet in Los Angeles, maintaining a consistent race number 92 throughout its competitive outings.

Only Sunfire Yellow 1967 L88 Corvette:

Bob Baker, a military enthusiast, acquired his prized L88 with a vision for drag racing. Spanning the West Coast during his military service, he continued his passion in the Midwest upon returning to his Kansas home. Notably, this L88 stands alone in its Sunfire Yellow coat, making it a unique specimen among the 1967 L88s. Today, this remarkable piece finds its home under the ownership of Mike and Kelly Vietro.

The Flying Dutchman’s 1967 L88 Corvette:

Dave Walters is the proud owner of a distinguished 1967 L88. Originally acquired by David Zeigler from Curtis Chevrolet in Washington D.C., this Corvette found its niche in the world of drag racing. Under Zeigler’s care, modifications including headers, larger tires, a Hurst shifter, and suspension tweaks transformed this powerhouse. Sporting the moniker ‘The Flying Dutchman’ in bold black lettering, it swiftly changed hands to Charles Wright, continuing its legacy on the racing circuit.

Over time, this iconic car transitioned through the ownership of six or seven passionate enthusiasts before finding its current custodian, Dave Walters. Walters took the reins in September 1979, embracing the heritage and story of this remarkable piece of automotive history.

1967 L88 DX Competition Convertible Corvette #89:

Presenting the remarkable 1967 L88 Competition Convertible under the ownership of Dana & Patti Mecum, this iconic racer saw Cliff Gottlob and Dave Dooley sharing driving duties. Assisted by a skilled crew comprising Jack Blatchford, John Wanko, and the twin Gottlob sisters, this Corvette left its mark in history.

According to the Registry of Corvette Race Cars, it thundered around Daytona in 1970 sporting No. 89, though its racing history saw multiple other numbers. Its incredible performance at the 1970 Daytona Race reached staggering speeds of up to 186 mph. Surprisingly dubbed ‘most likely to drop out first,’ this resilient machine defied expectations, securing a surprising second-place finish among newer, late-model cars.

Enduring a challenging moment in the 23rd hour, an oil line break left it devoid of oil, unable to be replenished due to racing regulations. Gottlob took a gamble, trusting the L88 to endure for another hour—and against the odds, it did! Crossing the finish line behind class winner Jerry Thompson, yet ahead of third-place Tony DeLorenzo, this Corvette cemented its legacy in a triumphant display of endurance and determination.

Only Black 1967 L88 Corvette Coupe:

After witnessing the sole black 1967 L88 convertible, our attention now turns to the singular 1967 black coupe—a unique gem in its own right. Constructed during the inaugural week of July, this stands as the final documented L88 produced in 1967. Proudly owned by Irwin Kroiz, this remarkable coupe holds the distinction of being the only one of its kind among its year’s L88 productions.

1967 Corvette L88: A Class Apart from COPO Tradition

In reflecting on the storied legacy of the 1967 Corvette L88, it’s crucial to distinguish its heritage from that of the COPO vehicles, which have their own place in Chevrolet’s performance lore. Unlike the COPO cars, which were essentially special orders through Chevrolet’s Central Office Production Order system, the L88 was an official, albeit extremely limited, factory option. This distinction underscores the L88’s unique blend of racing prowess and showroom availability. With its ferocious 427 cubic inch V8 engine, the L88 was not just a car but a statement of Chevrolet’s engineering excellence and commitment to motorsport. By understanding the L88’s specific historical context—offered openly to those who knew where to look, yet designed expressly for the racetrack—we gain a deeper appreciation for its legendary status. This model wasn’t just another muscle car; it was a pinnacle of performance that bridged the gap between the racetrack and the road, cementing its place in the annals of automotive history.

Conclusion:

The legacy of the 1967 L88 Corvettes stands as a testament to automotive rarity and unparalleled craftsmanship. From the inaugural model triumphantly raced by Tony DeLorenzo to the unique stories behind each vehicle, these twelve gems weave a tapestry of racing heritage and individual provenance. As they continue to captivate enthusiasts and collectors alike, these L88s remain timeless icons, preserving a chapter of Corvette history that embodies resilience, passion, and the pursuit of automotive excellence. Explore the rarities, celebrate the legacies, and cherish the remarkable journey of these twelve 1967 L88 Corvettes—a testament to the enduring allure of automotive history.

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