CORVETTE HOLY GRAIL

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A PAIR of L88 Corvettes, a coupe and a convertible, is being offered together with an estimated package price tag of AUD$1,877 million.

Rarity and desirability ensure the L88 sits at the top of the Corvette pecking order with only 216 produced from 196769. As well their Tuxedo Black paintwork is one of the most sought after colours in the 'Vette palette.

The convertible was bought new by Corvette L88 racer Tony DeLorenzo from his racing sponsor Hanley Dawson Chevrolet.

DeLorenzo competed in the SCCA championship and notched up 22 consecutive wins in an Owens-Corning Fiberglas-sponsored L88 with racing partner Jerry Thompson.

The convertible is one of two 1969 L88s to be finished in the black on black combination and one of a handful used on the road as the L88 was considered impractical as a daily driver as the heater, radio, power accessories and air conditioning were deleted and with no fan shroud it had a tendency to overheat in traffic. It also required a diet of aviation fuel to run it.

DeLorenzo sold the convertible to his friend Curt Wetzel, a German who flew for Pan Am. Wetzel raced the Corvette in Europe where he was virtually unbeatable. In a fit of frustration, a Porsche racing team bought the car to remove it from competition. However, the car returned to the track under the ownership of Hans Hirt of Switzerland. Hirt owned the car for 12 years before selling it to Joe DeMesy of Dallas, Texas, who delivered it to the Naber Brothers of Houston in 2004 for a body-off restoration.

Since being returned to its factory-original state, the restored L88 has collected numerous awards. In 2005, it earned a place in the Bloomington Gold “Great Stories” Special Collection where DeLorenzo was reunited with the car after 36 years; later that year, the car earned NCRS Top Flight honours.

It followed that up with Bloomington Gold certification, Chevy Vettefest Gold Spinner and Triple Crown laurels in 2006, and in 2007, the car was inducted into the Bloomington Gold Hall of Fame. In 2008 and 2018, the car was displayed at Bloomington Gold for the L88 Invasion and L88 Explosion Special Collections.

This very special L88 convertible was also featured in the L88 Showcase at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals held in November 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.

The coupe's original owner left it at the dealership for a lengthy period before arriving to collect it with a flatbed trailer. It was loaded without any pre-delivery inspection as the owner intended to simply ‘put it away’.

Since then it has travelled just over 2000 miles and is one of just 116 produced in 1969, the final year of production. It wears a black interior, rally wheels and Firestone blackwall tyres and its engine has lateproduction open chamber aluminium heads. Bolted to it is a Muncie M22 Rock Crusher four-speed manual and a Positraction rear end.

After a painstaking restoration by the Naber Brothers of Texas the coupe was awarded both Bloomington Gold and NCRS Regional Top-Flight honours in 2004. It was then invited to the 2008 Bloomington Gold L88 Invasion and 2018 L88 Explosion Special Collections, further adding to its accolades.