Hagerty.com

1969 L88 - Kinda

Hi I am a newbie and admit I need and respect the guidance I will receive here from my request for information. I am a disabled Veteran as well so please be nice and don’t laugh as they say there is no dumb question.
I recently purchased one of my dream cars, a 1969 Corvette Convertible, that is badged as an L88. The car has been restored frame off, however, the 427 can’t be found. The motor in the car is a beautiful 350 fully decked out. Now I know if original numbers matching 427 in the car would have been worth a ton, but I know the lack of hurts value. I respectfully ask guidance from the wise as to what can I do to increase the value? Can I put in a new 427? What is the best way to try to regain the L88 status?

If it is indeed an original L88 car, I would install a correct L88 engine–even if it is not numbers matching. At least with a period and appearance-correct engine the car would be closest to correct, which seems like the best way to build value to me. Confirming it is indeed a true L88 and not just a re-badged car would be first step though.

However, if driving it is your goal, I would leave the 350 in it and enjoy the car!

If it is indeed an original L88, then the best way to proceed would be to restore it back to L88 status using actual NOS L88 block, heads, crank, rods, carb, etc. Fair warning, that is going to be incredibly expensive. i would expect to invest somewhere well into the five-figure range to put the right engine in there with the right markings in the block and casting numbers.

I’d recommend confirming beyond a shadow of a doubt that the car left the factory as an L88 before proceeding too far down this expensive route. Not only to save you overall investment, but if the plan is to reintroduce the car as a previously unknown L88, then every shred of documentation and confirmation form respected experts you can gather together the better to keep the skeptics at bay.

As I recall, there was no exterior badging on 1969 L88 Corvettes. The only reference to the engine option was the plate on the console rearward of the shifter. The hood supplied outside air to the carburetor though a chamber ahead of the windshield and small wire-mesh cage mounted atop the carb with a seal to the hood. No factory installed heater, radio or A/C were available. HD brakes with dual-pin pads and L-shaped backing plates were a required “option”. If any of these things don’t agree with what’s on your car, then the you likely don’t have what is an already slim chance of this being an L88 car. If it’s an already great car, then drive it and enjoy it for what it is.

1 Like