The Chevrolet Corvette That's Worth Over 90 Times Its Original Cost Now

Chevy Corvettes have never been a budget-oriented car. Compared to other high-end performance cars of the same caliber, they are a relative bargain, but the Corvette is not an everyman car in the same way that a Ford Mustang is. Still, when it comes to American performance, the Corvette is the way to go. 

The third generation Corvette, dubbed the C3, was in production from the 1968 model year all the way until 1982. From the mid-'70s until the '80s, C3s were hampered by emissions-strangled engines with low horsepower ratings and tired styling. Arguably, late C3 models were some of the worst 'Vettes ever made. 

Early C3s are a different story entirely and are often included in the conversation about the best American cars ever produced. After all, the Corvette wasn't picked by astronauts for no reason. There is no shortage of late-'60s and early '70s Corvettes for sale and prices range from relatively inexpensive to six-figure prices. 

But the real king of the third generation Corvettes is the Corvette L88. Chevy only made 216 L88 Corvettes over three model years. Just this week, a nicely preserved 1969 L88 Corvette sold for an astronomical $631,000 at auction. For comparison, a new L88 Corvette cost $6,500. 

The secret performance 'Vette

L88 Corvettes were developed for racing and equipped with a 427 cubic inch V8. It was actually developed discretely as General Motors' corporate policy didn't allow for competition-focused vehicles. The power rating was understated by the factory and the engine was supposed to be relegated to "off-road" use (via Bring a Trailer). In addition to the monstrous engine, the L88 'Vettes came with a rear sway bar and heavy-duty suspension. 

Much like the racing-focused Dodge SRT Demons and Porsche 911s of today, the L88 took the saying "less is more" and ran with it. Factory Corvettes with the L88 package didn't include power steering, air-conditioning, or a radio. It was a serious performance machine. L88s also sported a decal near the gear shift lever stating the 103-octane fuel was required. 

With its rarity and insane specs, it's no wonder L88s command such high prices at auction. In an age where every performance car gets dozens of teasers and entire press conferences, it's odd to see a car that took a more hush-hush approach.