1969 marked the second year of production for the third-generation Chevy Corvette. There were few changes from the previous year. The exterior door handles lost the sculpted push button which was integrated into the scoop door handle, the return of the “Stingray” script on the front fenders (this time as a single word unlike the previous generation’s “Sting Ray”), the addition of fender vent trim, side-mount exhaust, and passenger-side map pockets on the dash. Steering wheel diameter was reduced from sixteen inches to fifteen inches. The Small Block grew from 327 cubic inches to 350. 1969 was also the final year for the L88 427 engine, and the only year for the ZL1 all-aluminum competition engine.
Originally designed to be a BFGoodrich promotional show car, this 1969 Chevy Corvette L88 coupe was pressed into service by John Greenwood for the 1971-1973 seasons after its #50 sister car suffered crash damage. The L88 engine was replaced by an aluminum block and head race-prepped ZL1 427 that produced 750 horsepower. The ZL1 backed by a prepped Muncie close-ratio four-speed transmission. The body was adorned with the iconic “Stars and Stripes” livery, and the whole package rode on Minilite wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich radial rubber.
The #49 Chevy Corvette was driven by John Greenwood, Bob Johnson, Dick Smothers, and Don Yenko. It took first place in the GT class at the 1972 Watkins Glen Six Hour race with Greenwood and Smothers sharing driving duties. The Corvette raced at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Daytona 24 Hours, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1973 where it set the GT speed record, achieving 215 miles per hour on the Mulsanne Straight.
The Chevy Corvette L88 racer has been the subject of a comprehensive restoration by Corvette Repair of Valley Stream, New York. Following completion of the restoration, the Corvette was shown at the 2008 Quail Motorsports event, where it secured a Best in Class win. It was part of the Corvette Racing Legends event at the Petersen Museum, received the Amelia Award at the 2009 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, was selected for the 2009 Bloomington Gold Grand Finale, won the 2009 NCRS American Heritage Award, and was invited to celebrate Corvette’s first Le Mans win at the Laguna ALMS race in 2010.
This significant piece of Chevy Corvette racing history will cross the Mecum Auctions block at their 36th Spring Classic in Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday 20th. It is sold on a Bill of Sale.