10 Corvette Barn Finds

For many Corvette enthusiasts, part of the thrill is finding the right Corvette to rebuild and give new life to.

Old farm town barns are notorious for hiding treasures for decades, patiently waiting for a picker to come through and discover what’s lying in wait.  These 10 Corvette barn finds are second chances at a second life. Each one discovered comes with its own history and potential for an exciting future. 

1.       Local Legend Found, 1957 Corvette Airbox

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A local legend, this Corvette Airbox race car had been hidden away in an Ohio barn since the 1970’s. One man stood determined to uncover its location and prove its existence. With a promise that it would be restored to award winning standards, the owner decided to sell it and let it see the light of day for the first time in over 30 years. “With the help of GM engineer and Corvette historian Ken Kayser, the “4007” car was fully authenticated as the earliest known of the legendary AIRBOX racers, as well as the “pilot” car for subsequent RPO 579D production.”

2.       1959 Corvette “Fuelie” Reunited with Family 

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After hearing stories of his father’s beloved 1959 fuel-injected Corvette, Mike was finally given the opportunity to reunite with the Corvette at auction. For years Mike worked side-by-side with the man who bought the Corvette from his father but had little luck convincing him to sell it back to him. In fact, it was boarded it up in 1969 to keep away from persistent buyers. After the second owner passed away and had no family to leave it to, it went up for auction. Nothing was going to stop Mike, who had to cut down trees and barn walls to set it free. “I had to chain saw trees that were 16 inches in diameter.”

3.       1961 Corvette C1, Untouched for 44 Years

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This 1961 Corvette C1 surfaced on eBay for sale. It was parked in a barn garage by its second owner in 1968 and never moved again. Suffering from no more than a broken convertible top mechanism, this C1 is being sold and given the chance to live again.

4.       1962 Corvette C1 Fires Up for First Time in 42 Years

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While being parked in a barn over 42 years ago, this Corvette C1 received little attention from anyone, except the barn rats. When Larry found it again, he also found a trunk full of N.O.S. parts still in their original boxes. Eager to get back on the streets, the Corvette C1 fired up on the first try.  

5.       Not Your Typical Grandma’s 1963 Spilt Window Coupe 

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This barn find had been parked in 1973 and left there for over 40 years. Originally it belonged to an older lady who never drove it far. During a visit to the body shop the manager convinced her to sell it to him and then locked it away in his barn. It recently sold on eBay for $45,544.

6.       Modified 1964 Corvette Hidden for 30 Years

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When this 1964 Corvette was pulled out of storage for the first time in 30 years, several modifications were discovered, however, the original engine and transmission were still there. It still had a solid frame and suffered only minor surface rust. Overall, this Corvette was a great find with plenty of potential.

7. Victim of Michigan’s Weather

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This 1964 Corvette C2 was only driven 67,044 miles back in 1973 before it was put away in storage. It has survived years of Michigan’s intense weather including plenty of snow and rain. It was stored with the top down exposing the interior to the dangers of water damage, but the body of this C2 remained solid. 

8.       An Out-Of-This-World Find

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This 1967 Corvette Stingray is a great barn find by itself, but its unique history makes it truly one-of-a-kind. “This Corvette was delivered to Mr. Neil Armstrong the first man on the moon, on December 15, 1966 from Jim Rathman Chevrolet in Melbourne Florida under a program initiated by Mr. Rathman to provide our astronauts with a Corvette.” After driving it for a year, Neil sold it to a fellow NASA employee who then stored in away in 1981. In 2012 it sold on eBay for $250,090.

9.       1968 Corvette with 25 Years of Dust

Image Courtesy of www.ebay.com

This 1968 Corvette L79 hopped from barn to barn until it found its resting place of 15 years. After much convincing, the owner’s nephew was able to purchase it and has since enjoyed driving it around town and to several Corvette shows. Even with the dust, this ‘Vette remains a show stopper.

10.       From Basement to Barn, 1972 Corvette Stingray

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This 1972 Corvette Stingray was bought brand new and stored in a basement until 2008 when it was transported to a barn. After time in the barn the owner brought it to auction where it received lots of attention and sold for $12,760. When the winning bidder went to pay for the Stingray, the original owner handed over a box full of every piece of documentation including the Stingray’s original title and window sticker.

If you have restored an old barn find we would love to hear your story, share with us on Facebook or Twitter. While we may not have 25 years’ worth of southern barn dust on our used inventory, we promise each one has a proud history and a bright future, and we won’t make you dig for them. Discover our used inventory.

What is Corvette Culture?

The lure of the open road has been an iconic part of American culture for nearly a century. Since its introduction in 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette has been a symbol of the freedom and independent spirit so often exhibited by its drivers. The distinctive silhouette of the Corvette ensures that it is instantly recognizable both on the showroom floor and on the highway. The design choices made by Chevrolet throughout the history of the Corvette have meshed with the branding and promotional efforts of their marketing team to create true synergy in the automotive marketplace.

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The Corvette Reborn: C5 Vette

The C5 Corvette is the fifth generation of the iconic American sports car. Manufactured from 1997-2004, the C5 proved to be a remarkable engineering achievement considering the turbulent environment surrounding General Motors at the time. Many purists believe the C5 saved the Corvette franchise and represented a rebirth of the energy, excitement and freedom that has defined the car since its introduction in 1953.

2004 midnight blue C5 Crovette

C5 Corvette Features

The C5 Corvette concept was developed by the prestigious Chevy 3 design team headed by Jerry Palmer and John Cafaro. Hampered by severe budget constraints and rumors that the C5 might not ever be built, Cafaro and his team worked over seven years to produce a design that finally received management’s approval. The C5 was a radical departure from previous generations, and virtually everything in the car was conceptually original. This included the interior, exterior and suspension. In fact, new construction methods were devised to produce a revolutionary hi-tech frame.

C5 Vette Body Style

The final C5 design was driven in large part by the input of Corvette enthusiasts, who were surveyed extensively by the Chevy 3 design team. The new Corvette was very different than its wedge shaped predecessor and featured dramatic flowing contours and aerodynamic styling loosely based on the CERV III mid-engine Indy Corvette. The original 1997 model was available only as a coupe, but a convertible was introduced in 1998, and a hardtop followed in 1999.

Under the Hood

Like the vast majority of its powertrain components, the C5 Corvette’s LS1 5.7 liter engine was a completely new design. The all-aluminum engine had an output of 345 horsepower when matched with the Borg-Warner T56 four-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. An innovative rear-mounted transaxle helped create more interior room and achieved a front to rear weight distribution of almost 50/50. In 2001, the Z06 model was added to the lineup and featured an LS6 V-8, which produced 385 horsepower with a top speed of 170 mph. The careful design and placement of the frame and transmission created more room for interior designers to work with.

The C5 Corvette Today

In general, all Corvettes that are properly maintained will eventually appreciate in value. However, the C5 was produced in relatively large numbers, and more time must pass before the model is considered collectible. The only exceptions are the 2004 Z15 and Z16 commemorative edition C5 Corvettes. The coupe and convertible were given the Z15 moniker, and the Z16 includes a high performance package based on the popular Z06. The commemorative edition models are highly sought after since production volume was very limited.

Rick Hendrick has the largest Corvette inventory in the southeast. Check out our new and used Vettes!

Corvette 101: The C4 Vette

Chevrolet introduced the C4 Corvette at the end of 1982. The C4 is the fourth generation of the sports car model. Despite the introduction year, the C4 Vette did not become available to car buyers until 1984. Chevy made the model until 1996. Upon its release, reviewers noted that the new Corvette featured a roomy interior, digital instruments and a redesigned exterior – changes that were reminiscent of the 1963 Sting Ray.

Black C4 Corvette

C4 Vette Body Style

The word “sleek” should have been invented to describe the exterior of the first C4 Corvette. With a long, slopped front end that swoops toward the pavement, the 1984 Corvette flaunts a noticeable presence on the highway. Despite its differences to earlier models, the C4 maintains its classic ‘Vette identity. For instance, the model’s rear section has four round taillights, which are a major Corvette styling feature.

Corvette C4 Features

When Chevrolet’s design team developed the C4 Vette, they improved the sports car’s mechanics. For instance, the car’s suspension functioned with composite transverse leaf springs. The crew also converted the Corvette’s steering to rack-and-pinion, which was a first for the sports car.

Under the Hood

In the first C4 model, Chevy installed a V8 engine that was able to produce 205 horsepower. The car company boosted the sports car’s engine power in 1985. As a result, it emitted 230 horsepower. In 1992, Chevy managed to increase the horsepower even more as that year’s C4 Corvette was able to generate 300 horsepower. This amount of engine power was also available in the C4’s later models.

C4 Collectible Value

Since the C4 became available in 1984, Chevy wound up without a 1983 Corvette. The company did make a few prototypes, but only car number 23 survived. It is currently at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. Instead of constructing the C4 from fiberglass, Chevy made the vehicle from a sheet-molding compound. When looking at collectability, ‘Vette enthusiasts should consider investing in a 1989 or later C4 model.

With the C4 Corvette, Chevy proved that it could up its game. If you buy the right model, then you’ll likely see your car’s value increase over time. Whether or not your ‘Vette becomes worth more, when you bring one home, you’ll have plenty of muscle in your garage even if you can’t get it from the gym.

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Corvette 101: The C3 Vette

The C3 Corvette is the third generation of this highly respected and frequently collected sports car. Chevrolet manufactured the C3 from 1968 through 1982. Once it entered showrooms, the third generation Corvette presented a noticeably different appearance than its predecessor with its fully redesigned body that exhibited long, sleek lines and an undeniable attention-commanding aura.

1969 C3 Corvette Convertible

Yesterday’s Corvette

When Chevy first introduced the C3, the model was a strong competitor in its class, but once the country established emissions standards, the C3’s performance dwindled. It hit rock bottom in 1975 with a base engine that provided just 165 horsepower. This was also the last year that the carmaker made the convertible Stingray.

Corvette C3 Features

The T-top and classic convertible were two popular features of the C3’s first model. In 1970, the C3 Vette received flared fenders, redesigned seats and more headroom. This was also the first year that leather and interior wood grain detailing became an option. Later, the 1981 model came with a power-operated driver’s seat.

Chevy produced more C3 Corvettes than any other generation. The 1968 C3 was the first model to feature the detachable twin tops. Furthermore, the C3 Vette was the first one to come with the car’s iconic flip up headlights.

Under the Hood

Over the years, Chevy installed a variety of engines in its C3 Corvette. In the car model’s first year, it came with a 300 horsepower base engine while in 1971, the base engine power dropped for the first time to 270 horsepower. In 1977, the carmaker included a base engine that could produce 180 horsepower. The engine in the 1981 model emitted 190 horsepower.

C3 Collectible Value

During the 15 years that Chevy produced the C3 Corvette, it became one of the most beloved and sought-after sports cars. Collectors tend to respect the model’s distinctive style and ride. Despite this, over the last few decades, third generation Corvettes diminished in value, but the car model is making a comeback.

What’s your favorite thing about the C3 Corvette?

Corvette 101: The C2 Vette

The C2 Corvette is the second generation of the beloved American sports car. To this day, the first C2 retains its status as one of most stunning and exhilarating vehicle designs ever made. Chevrolet assembled the C2 model from 1963 through 1967. The ’60s were revolutionary times, and Chevy capitalized on this by reshaping its one and only sports car. The new body style was aerodynamic, attention grabbing and distinctive.

The C2 Corvette Concept

In the ’60s, the Corvette hit its stride. During these years, Chevy increased production from around 10,000 Corvettes per year to approximately 27,000 a year. Each C2 model features the kind of unforgettable styling known to create a Vette enthusiast out of even the most practical car buyer.

C2 Corvette Features

Leather seats, tinted glass and a plastic wood-grained steering wheel are just a few of the C2’s popular features. Air conditioning, power windows and power steering were other frequently added options. Later, a speed-warning indicator and telescopic steering column became available.

Under the Hood

Since Chevy made the C2 Vette for several years, the sports car came with engines of varying power levels. For instance, the 1963 base model delivered 250 horsepower while the 1964 Corvette featured a 360 horsepower engine. An engine that could produce around 500 horsepower was available in the 1967 edition.

C2 Collectible Value

The C2 Corvette was a car of many firsts. It was the first Sting Ray and fastback coupe. It was also the first car to feature a split back window even though the design element lessened rear visibility. Incidentally, this notorious feature makes the year desirable to collectors. The C2 Vette also led the way in technology since it was the first sports car to come with an independent suspension.

The C2 Corvette is one of Chevy’s most collectible models. In fact, picky Vette collectors often consider the C2 the feather in their cap, or it may be more accurate to call it the convertible in their garage. In considering value, there really hasn’t been a bad time to buy a second generation Corvette. By bringing one home, you’ll have the chance to be behind the wheel of a car that makes everyone else on the road drool.

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Corvette 101: The C1 Vette

The Chevrolet Corvette is an iconic American automobile that has rightfully taken its place among the world’s most prestigious sports car models. Originally introduced in 1953, the C1 was developed to address the growing presence of cars like the MG Roadster, Triumph TR and Austin Healey on American Highways.

red C1 corvette convertible

The C1 Corvette Concept

First generation Corvettes are known for their distinctive rounded edges and stylish curves. Starting in 1956, scalloped sides added a unique elegance. The C1 Vette was a collaborative effort between Harley Earl, Edward Cole and Robert McLean. Working from Earl’s early concepts, McLean designed the car from the back forward. Every component was engineered individually, including the back axle, driver’s compartment and the entire front bulkhead. The design was developed with tolerances intended to give the car a low, ground tracking profile. The C1 Vette had a cruising speed of 70 mph, solid brakes, precise handling and a weight to power ratio of 25 to 1.

C1 Corvette Features

The most distinctive feature of the first generation Corvette was its fiberglass body. Earl’s early concept called for conventional steel, but the designers became enamored with the flexibility fiberglass provided for creating the curves and shapes that gave the car its stunning appeal. Earl had concerns relating to the safety and durability of fiberglass, but an unintended rollover incident left the body intact and convinced the design team that fiberglass was an acceptably resilient material.

To add structural rigidity, the chassis was ultimately redesigned, and the engine was moved behind the front axle. Outboard mainframe rails were added along with larger diameter anti-roll bars. Finally, the steering ratio was adjusted to 16:1 for better handling and performance.

Under the Hood

Finding an engine that would be compatible with the design and still appropriate for a sports car was difficult. In the end, a 235.5 cubic inch six cylinder overhead valve engine was selected. Known as the “Stovebolt Six,” it produced a paltry 115 horsepower, which became a significant issue for prospective buyers. To address these concerns, the engine was modified to include solid valve lifters, dual valve springs, cast iron pistons and a high lift, long duration camshaft. The changes resulted in an engine output of 150 horsepower at 4500 rpm. Improvements in subsequent years lead to the introduction of a fuel injected 283 cubic inch small block V8 that produced 315 horsepower.

C1 Collectible Value

The first generation C1 Corvette is a highly sought after classic sports car. All models made between 1953 and 1962 are rare and expensive. Nearly every salvageable car has already been restored. Average prices range from $54,000 for a 1962 model to $185,000 for a 1953 model.

How much would you pay to take the first Corvette ever made for a spin?