O Chevrolet The Corvette is widely considered to be the finest car to come out of the United States, and vintage examples are highly sought after by collectors. In production since the 1950s, the magnificent model has always remained special as the first American sports car. The darling of younger car enthusiasts is the mid-engined C8 Corvette, but for those looking for real gems, Chevy undoubtedly produced some of the most tempting and highly sought after 'Vettes in the 1960s – the golden age of america's performance vehicles. The Chevy model has had its ups and downs over the years; GM nearly gave up on it in the mid-1950s as sales slowed while the malaise era saw its horsepower numbers drop to an all-time low of just 165 horsepower.
The Chevy Corvette began to regain its glory in the mid-1980s and today has become a formidable sports car that can take on the best in the world. Still, rare Corvette classics from the 1950s and 1960s attract more collectors at auction than any other American car, including muscle cars. But even for the most dedicated collectors, getting these renowned and iconic American masterpieces is no longer a reasonable option without bottomless pockets. The proof is that these 10 Chevrolet Corvettes are already worth a fortune.
Chevrolet Corvette 1953 – $ 304,000
Few Corvettes are as rare as the debut model C1 Corvette from 1953; production totaled only 300 copies. All were made in Polo White and powered by a 3.9-liter inline six-cylinder 'Blue Flame' engine, generating 150 horsepower. Given their rarity and the general belief that the first example of anything usually holds value well, today its prices are quite high.
An example of condition #1 is valued at US$ 304,000 by Hagerty, a value often exceeded at auction. Car #003 was sold in 2006 for an unbelievable US$ 1.1 million. Also, in 2014, auction house Barrett-Jackson fetched $$ 660,000 for car #118 – a largely original convertible with only 9,260 miles on the odometer.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR2 1971 – $ 450,000
The ZR1 nickname has always been synonymous of the best performing Corvette of all generations. Intended for road and track, it always fit above the track-ready Z06. In 1971, Chevrolet debuted the Corvette ZR2 as a successor to the lesser-known 1970-72 ZR1 Stingray. Only 12 copies of this ultra-high performance were made, 2 of which were convertibles.
The 1971 ZR2 package cost just US $ 1,747, while bringing the same optional extras as the ZR1 package, albeit for the 454 LS-6 engine. As reported by Hagerty, they carry an estimated value of US $ 350,000 to US $ 450,000. In 2019, one of the two convertibles sold for around half a million.
Chevrolet Corvette L88 1969 – US$ 646,000
Within the realm of Corvettes, the L88 Corvette package is one of the “holy grails ". Only available from 1967 to 1969, the package made the Corvette a legend on the track. Chevy only made a limited edition of 116 exclusive L88 Corvettes for 1969.
Officially, it had to be rated at 430 hp, but in reality, it powered nearly 550 horsepower, allowing it to run a quarter mile in under 11 seconds. Today, owners should expect US$ 646,000 or more at auction (Hagerty).
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 “Tanker” – $ 681,000
The 1963 Chevy Corvette featured the iconic split rear window. It could be explicitly optional for on-track competition use with the Big Tank Z06 package, which brought freebies like a 360-horsepower L84 fuel-injected V8, a narrow-ratio 4-speed manual transmission, large anti-sway bars, better brakes, plus heavy shocks and springs.
A standout feature of the package was the large 36.5 gallon fiberglass fuel tank that minimized gas fill – a huge advantage in on-track racing. With the Z06 package only available for the coupe body style, only 63 1963 Corvette Z06 Big Tank Split Window Coupes were made. According to Hagerty, an example of a Concours condition is worth US$ 681,000.
Chevrolet Corvette L89 1967 – US$ 1 million
The 1967 L89 Corvette isn't a car you see every day, even at auctions. The optional add-on package for the C2 Corvette model was only available in the last year of the short-lived 2nd generation. The total number of copies sold with the L89 package was only 16, and its value today is estimated at US$ 1 million.
What exactly made the L89 option special? Larger exhaust valves increased the L71 V8's power by 25hp to 475hp, while the aluminum heads of the L89 package reduced weight by 75 pounds (34 kg) up front, with the L71 mill becoming lighter than the iron 327. Chevy casting. turned the base Corvette into a lightweight racing machine.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Pininfarina Rondine Edition Concept – US$ 1.6 million
The Rondine Corvette concept by Italian design firm Pininfarina, commissioned by Chevrolet, made its debut at the Paris motor show in 1963. It then resided at the Pininfarina Museum until 2008, when it was first offered and probably the last time for sale, reaching an impressive US $ 1.6 million.
It was designed for maximum simplicity and functionality. Featuring prominent Pininfarina design elements of the time, it remained reasonably easy to identify as a Corvette. The unique bodywork was based on a 1963 C2 Sting Ray chassis, designed to be lighter and more aerodynamic looking. The Rondine concept has a 327cid/360hp V8 mated to a 4-speed transmission and power brakes.
Chevrolet Corvette ZL1 1969 – US$ 2 million
Only two people checked the box on the order sheet for the 1969 ZL1, making it the rarest production Corvette ever. And there's a good reason; it was very expensive. The ZL1 option, replacing the L88 big-block V8, added an extra $$ 6,000 to the C3 Corvette's $$ 4,781 base price. And that's without air conditioning or radio included being a track-only machine.
Not that buyers could listen to the radio anyway, with the ZL1's 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) all-aluminum engine putting out 430 hp with a gut-wrenching roar. But those were only on paper figures; Dynamometer tests showed it to be capable of producing 585 hp. Practically a unicorn among collectible Corvettes, it has an estimated value of US$ 2 million.
1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible Rebel Racing Car – US$ 2.86 million
Among racing Corvettes, this is one of the most popular and acclaimed racers. At its peak, it claimed GT class victories at the Daytona and Sebring races (same year) and claimed an IMSA championship. The feats are even more impressive considering that unofficial, self-funded amateurs performed it without factory support or major sponsorship.
The Florida amateur race team's livery isn't to many people's political tastes, but it did strike a blow at a rival Corvette racing squad whose car also featured a stars-and-stripes-themed design. In 2014, it raked in an insane US$ 2.86 million at auction for Barrett-Jackson, thanks to its famous racing status.
Chevrolet Corvette L88 1967 – US$ 3.25 million
The 1967 Corvette L88 package model has greater pickup capacity than the other L88 package years because it was the last model of the legendary C2 with a more attractive body style. It came with the most powerful engine for the 1967 model year, producing 560 hp using 103-octane race fuel. Proof of its priorities for action was the exclusion of radio and air conditioning equipment.
According to records, it is the rarest L88, with only 20 ever produced. Neither were announced. The Hagerty Price Guide value for a 1967 Chevy Corvette L88 Convertible in #1 Condition is $$ 3.25 million – a value surpassed by an example sold for US $ 3.85 million.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport – US$ 6-8 million
The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, codenamed “Project Lightweight,” was the first model to bear the name “Grand Sport”. His main intention was to beat the legendary Shelby Cobra and represent the USA in international racing competitions. While initially 125 units were supposed to be built for race homologation, only 5 were made in secret as GM became stricter with its factory-backed racing ban.
They are ranked as the most valuable of all Corvettes made, with an estimated value of US$ 6 to US$ 8 million. The '63 Grand Sport was powered by a 377-cubic-inch V8 made of aluminum, chosen primarily for weight savings. Engineered to the nth degree, its 550 hp power surpassed that of most big blocks at the time.