Black and yellow from the day a certain Craig Nelson bought the car in 1973, five years after the Corvette caught metal form, this lean, mean, environmentalists-eating machine sounds better than it looks. If you don’t trust my subjective opinion, click play on the video below and enjoy the cannonade.
The old-school race engine with V-belts is the legendary small-block that emerged one year before America’s Sportscar switched generations to the third iteration. Initially launched in 1967 with the inaugural Chevrolet Camaro, the 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) V8 quickly made a name for itself – and what a good name it was (and still is).
It’s so much better – at 450 hp, this engine puts out just as much as the famed engines of the day (remember the L88, the LS6, or the ZL1 and ZRs from the late sixties and early seventies). Not only does it fire big guns with every stroke of each of the eight pistons, but it can also corrupt angels to a second mutiny and convince Lucifer to become a monk.
Alternatively, if religion-bending analogies don’t do this classic missile justice, we can retort by saying this fantastic Corvette is perhaps Racer X’s daily driver (although it could very well replace the Shooting Star any day of the week, including race day).
Five years into its life, this 55-year-old Chevy met a pistonhead of glorious proportions who ditched the civilian duties of the car and gave it a racing destiny. So much so that he blew an engine while blasting flat out on the straightway at Elkhart Lake. The mishap at Road America didn’t take away one whisker of determination from the fast-paced owner, who rebuilt the ‘Vette and kept on going.
In 2019, the car passed to the current owner, the young man shamelessly exposing his denture in a broad smile when he puts his lead right foot on and plants it firmly on the loud pedal. This car and its young owner received an award at last year’s Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week. Zachary Klopack won the 30 Under 30 American category with the 1968 Corvette convertible yellow and black race car.
The ‘30 Under 30’ class of the Newport car show (a 2019 Jay Leno suggestion turned reality) is open to car owners ages 30 or younger who spend less than $30,000 on their vehicle (including restoration or modification). This leads us to conclude that this rapturous, thundering piece of General Motors engineering was a bargain with the thirty-large (or less) price tag.
The heavily tuned 350-CID V8 with its Mickey Thompson valve covers is the most epic two-barrel essence of loud, brutal, serious, mature, and American motoring craftsmanship. The burble at idle could single-handedly cure the EV craze out of the roads, and the short ratio gears sound sweet and tempting.
1968 was the year Corvette put on new clothes, 15 years and two generations after it dawned on Planet Sportscar. Incidentally, it was also the longest-running production stride of the iconic car. With 1982 being the final year of the third generation, the C3 Corvette marked a 14-year manufacturing span and established the styling cues for all the front-engined Chevy sportscars.