Monza Red w/Black interior, L88 427/500+hp, 4-spd. manual transmission.
This L88 could very well be the ULTIMATE Corvette!! And ’19 will be it’s 50th birthday!
Merriam-Websters dictionary defines ‘milestone’ as “a significant point in development”. We don’t think there’s a more appropriate definition of the word as it pertains to the Corvette L88!
Years of development culminated in what is arguably the most significant racing engine ever put in a Corvette. Or offered by Chevrolet for that matter up to that time . . . and well beyond.
During the ’60’s cubic inches was the new black! Size meant power! And the “Big Three” were determined to outdo each other in that dept. Ford had it’s 428SCJ, Chrysler had its 426 Hemi Chevrolet had it’s 427 in various guises. But, in 1967 a beast was unleashed to the racing fraternity that would be a game changer . . . RPO (Regular Production Order) L88. If you checked that box on your Chevrolet Dealer Order Form, here’s some of what you got . . . Cast iron big block engine displacing 427ci, 4-bolt main bearing caps, forged alloy crankshaft with tuftride coating, aluminum rectangular port cylinder heads which reduced the 427 big-block’s overall weight by 70 pounds compared to the iron heads. Closed combustion chambers were used with the first generation of L88 heads, and chamber size poured out at 106.8cc. Intake valves measured 2.19-inches and exhausts were 1.72-inches. Intake ports were a rectangular shape, and exhaust ports were squared-off to match up with the exhaust manifold, and a giant Holley 850cfm carb.
The L88’s were built only from ’67-’69 in very limited numbers (20 units in ’67. 80 units in ’68 and 116 units in ’69). And although the engines were very similar, there were some changes over its three year production period. For example;
In 1969 significant improvements were made for the aluminum cylinder head. Intake ports were reshaped, and material around the spark plug was removed, allowing for 30 percent more airflow. The pop-up piston was also reshaped with airflow in mind. As a result of the 118cc open chamber and reduced piston volume, compression was lowered to 12.0:1. However, the improved design still resulted in more power. The exhaust ports were also rounded to match tube headers, further extending its power capabilities.
A dual-plane aluminum intake manifold was used, and the carburetor pad accepted a standard four-barrel Holley. The divided-plenum under the carburetor was milled down to create an open chamber on the high-rise intake. In 1969, the divider was trimmed down even further to accompany the better flowing cylinder heads. So, this information may be a bit on the dry side, but the bottom line is that all this translated to gobs of power and torque! It’s estimated that these beasts put out between 500-570hp in race ready trim!
Being fortunate enough to own the “last of” something is usually considered a significant event, especially when it comes to legendary sports cars like this L88. The total build out of the ’69 L88 was 116 units. The last two to come off the line in St. Louis were a Fathom Green Coupe and a Monza Red Convertible. The very same Convertible that’s presented here!
The car was originally ordered by a dentist; Dr. Michael Welch and his wife from El Cajon, CA. Once built, the L88 was delivered to Guaranty Chevrolet in nearby San Diego, CA. The Dr. and his wife took delivery and kept the car until ’77. It was then sold to its second owner; Joseph Mueth, a lawyer from Pasadena, CA. after he read about the car in Vette Vues Magazine. Joseph had some help in buying the car from Bill Dobson, an artist and illustrator working at Road and Track Magazine at the time. Bill had also been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concourse d ‘Elegance for 25 years. Joseph told Bill that the car wasn’t driven much because it was “noisy, hard to start and idled rough”. Imagine that. But he did recall going 140mph on the 210 fwy once! Joseph finally sold the L88 at an auction held at Dodger Stadium in ’87 to well-known Corvette aficionados Richard Haigh and Mike Pillsbury. They only had the car for a few months when it was sold to its fourth owner; Brian Dzengolewski. Brian worked for renown Corvette L88 expert Tim Thorpe at his restoration shop in O’Fallon, IL. Brian kept the car until ’05 when it was sold to owner #5; collector Ray Norvell from Las Vegas, NV. A short time later, Ray sold it to its 6th owner; Mike Welch (no relation to the cars original owner) from Birmingham, MI. Mike found out about the car from collector Chris Piscitello who told him the Survivor L88 was available for sale. Mike bought the car sight unseen. He sold it a few years later in ’08 to Loyalty Auto in Kitchener, Ontario. Canada. They then sold the L88 to its eight owner; Tom Marcucci from Wixom, MI. Corvette Mike acquired the car from its 9th owner; Charles Yow, Jr. from Sandford, NC. And there you have it! From So. Cal. to NV. to IL. to MI to CN. to NC. them back home to So Cal. once again. Quite a journey indeed!
Along the way this piece of Corvette history has amassed just about every award the hobby could bestow on it! Including multiple N.C.R.S. Top Flights, Bloomington Gold Survivor and Special Collection Awards. And even the zZenith Award!
It’s Monza Red exterior still shines and Black interior still looks beautiful, with just the right amount of patina to complement its soon to be half a century age. And of course, the most important element of an L88; it’s beast of a 427ci big block engine is still impressing us all with it’s awesome power!
In addition to complete owner history, documentation also includes the Tank Sticker and a binder full of interesting info and owner correspondence about this very unique L88.
It’s doubtful the car’s original owner knew he was buying the last L88 Convertible ever built. And although every L88 that still survives today is a significant Corvette, this “last of” certainly qualifies as one of the MOST significant L88 ever built! Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to be its next caretaker.