30 Hard Years of Storage: 1973 Chevrolet Corvette (2024)

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We have all suffered through that phase where we wanted a particular project car and ended up grabbing the first grubby example we could at a price that should have been seen as a sign of impending doom. Or, we have seen a car down on its luck about to be junked, butchered, or parted out, and purchased just to save it. Well, this 1973 Chevrolet Corvette is the automotive equivalent of the Bat Signal shining into the clouds for situations like this. At the low end of its value and in a condition that could charitably be called “rough,” this Corvette desperately needs a good home and someone to bring it back to its glory. Is this mild custom fresh out of thirty years of storage a bargain at the $3,750 asking price or a down payment on years of misery and bankruptcy?

As usual for a Craigslist ad, the seller is a little short on details. We are told that this 1973 Chevrolet Corvette is all original from front to back and has just 78,000 miles on the odometer. It is currently a non-running project car that has a “Burt Reynolds color scheme.” Yes, that is in the ad. The additional statement that it has been sitting around for thirty years goes a long way toward explaining its rather moldy and rough condition.

Despite what we see at first glance, there may be some cautious cause for optimism for this Corvette. First off, 1973 is one of those odd transitional years for Corvettes. The front end was changed to a more crash-resistant design to satisfy Federal regulations. Gone was the brutish but handsome chrome front end that the car had worn since its 1968 redesign. Chrome bumpers were still out back in 1973, but would be gone a year later. Values for 1973 Corvettes are down in comparison to earlier years for this reason. However, they do sell for more than the 1975-1976 Corvettes that follow them. 1973s are also unusual enough to attract attention at car shows for those Corvette fans who know what they are looking at.

Speaking of shows, this car has the look of an early 1970s mild show car. The very dark brown (maybe black?) paint with contrasting gold is not a factory color combination. The gold may have been painted over the original color and the mag wheels are certainly not stock either. Yet the combination is oddly pleasing and eye-catching in its way. Too bad you can’t polish this car’s finish back to acceptability. When you look closer at the rest of the car, you see such positives as good chrome, and vinyl seats that may spiff up enough to be presentable after a lot of mold and mildew cleaner, and a general absence of the butchery that many of these Corvettes endured back then at the hands of neighborhood-level George Barris wannabe customizers.

Above is a picture of the engine compartment. While there are problems such as a busted fan shroud and some non-standard equipment, chances are that this is the original engine. Looking as close as possible to the plate on the center console, this is likely the mid-range 350 cubic inch V-8 with 250 horsepower. The car is equipped with an automatic transmission and power brakes, and it likely has power steering as well. I do not believe it was originally equipped with air conditioning. If any readers can tell despite the obvious lack of a compressor, please let us know in the comments.

Make no mistake. A lot of folding money will need to be parted with to make this car as nice as it was back in the day. A new nose will be needed along with a back glass. Add to that the incredible number of parts and pieces that you inevitably need to replace on a car like this. Still, this forlorn Corvette has a certain charm to it that makes it hard to walk away from. Hopefully, one of our readers will take pity on it and cart it home for some much-needed TLC.

If you are short on seed money to start a Corvette project, but long on ambition and optimism, then this 1973 Chevrolet Corvette may be your starting point. This former 1970s mild custom is fresh out of a rather challenging long-term storage situation and can be yours for just $3,750. It is currently for sale on Craigslist in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

30 Hard Years of Storage: 1973 Chevrolet Corvette (2024)


How much is a 1973 Corvette worth today? ›

Vehicle Valuation Analysis
BodystylesMedian Sale

What is the rarest 1973 Corvette? ›

1973 was the year for the first Off Road Suspension RPO Z07 produced and today it is considered a very rare production Corvette as only 45 were produced. From 1968 to 1972, Corvettes were known as “chrome bumper” cars. However, in 1973 the Corvette dropped one its chrome bumpers for the front “rubber bumper”.

What is special about a 1973 Corvette? ›

For 1973, the Corvette received a new nose treatment on both the coupe and convertible models. The nose was longer (by about two inches), slightly heavier (by about thirty-five pounds), and featured a steel bumper that was covered by deformable urethane plastic that was matched to the body color of the rest of the car.

How many 1973 Corvettes were made? ›

1973 Corvette Production Numbers

In total, 30,464 Corvettes were produced for the 1973 model year, representing an increase of 3,460 over the 1972 Vette. Of those 30,464 cars, 25,521 were coupes, and 4,943 were convertibles.

Did 1973 Corvette have a 454 engine? ›

The 454 cu in (7.4 L) LS-4 big-block V8 engine was introduced in 1973 to replace the LS-5. It delivered 275 hp (205 kW) and 15% of the cars were ordered so equipped. “454” emblems adorned the hood of big-block equipped Corvettes.

How fast can a 1973 Corvette go? ›

“The combination of the stiffer spring rates and roll rate, along with those super Firestone Sports Racing tires, allowed 135-136 mph without trying. Utterly fantastic when you realize both Corvettes had identical powertrains.”

What year was the bad Corvette? ›

What year Corvette is the least desirable? There were many problems with the performance of the Corvette in 1953, 1975, and 1979, getting listed as the worst years.

What car was called the poor man's Corvette? ›

“It's called the 'Poor Man's Corvette,' and I was poor,” says Laurie of her first Opel GT.

What year is the Corvette the most sought after? ›

The 1969 Corvette ZL-1 is perhaps one of the rarest and most highly sought-after 'Vettes ever made. You could say that it is a true automotive unicorn since only two of these beasts were ever built. But the ZL-1's rarity isn't the only thing that sets it apart.

How big is the gas tank on a 1973 Corvette? ›

Fuel Gas Tank 20 Gallon Gal for 70-74 Chevy Corvette.

What is the difference between the 73 and 74 Corvette? ›

For '73 the nose received the soft-bumper treatment; by '74 both ends of the car had the energy-absorbing systems. That makes the '73 models the only ones with soft front and metal rear bumpers. The new bumper lengthened the car overall by 2 to 3 inches, but it added less than 40 pounds to the Vette's overall weight.

What colors did 1973 Corvettes come in? ›

Exterior Colors
927Dark BlueBlack, Dark Red, Midnight Blue, Medium Saddle
954Blue-GreenBlack, Dark Red, Dark Saddle, Medium Saddle
947Elkhart GreenBlack, Medium Saddle
952YellowBlack, Dark Saddle, Midnight Blue
6 more rows
Apr 28, 2021

What was the base price of a 1973 Corvette? ›

The coupe rear window was also no longer removable. Prices increased slightly to $5,561.50 for the base coupe and $5,398.50 for the convertible. As horsepower dwindled to 190 bhp for the base model, Chevrolet concentrated on sound deadening material to cut interior noise a claimed 40 percent.

What Corvettes to stay away from? ›

Later model 2003 and all 2004. If you want a fifth generation buy a 1997–2002 or an early model 2003. The later 2003s and many 2004s had a fuel tank issue and if it hasn't been repaired and you can't repair it yourself, it's extremely expensive because you have to remove the rear end to get to the tanks.

How much horsepower does a 1973 Corvette 350 have? ›

1973 Corvette Powertrain Specifications
Order CodeStandardLS4
Displacement (cid)350454
Fuel Induction System4-Barrel Carburetor4-Barrel Carburetor
Horsepower180 @ 4,000275 @ 4,400
Torque270 @ 2,800395 @ 2,800
10 more rows
Apr 28, 2021

How much is a C3 Corvette worth? ›

A: The average price of a Chevrolet Corvette - C3 is $35,593.

What is the resale value of a Corvette? ›

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Value - $54,345-$104,333 | Edmunds.

Is an old Corvette worth it? ›

A 1953 model might be worth more than a current model, but its worth decreases significantly if it's in poor condition. However, many Corvette buyers seek lower-priced vehicles intending to restore them to higher quality. Your Corvette is worth much more after a significant restoration project.

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