1969 Chevrolet Corvette C3 - Reader Ride

By: Guy Allen, Photography by: Guy Allen

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Getting the keys to his Stingray fulfills a long-held ambition for James Politino

I picked this up fairly recently – this year. The previous owner had done a big body-off resto. The original colour was yellow but the car was red when he got it and there was a layer of blue in there somewhere as well.

It’s been done in a custom variant based on the VZ Clubsport colour, so it’s a little brighter than the original.

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Originally it was a 427 big block, manual, but it had no hood or engine when the previous owner started work! He got a crate 350 stroked out to 383 with mild mods such as lifters and cams, Longreach headers and a custom stainless exhaust system.

| Read next: 1963-82 Corvette market review 2017/18

They went all-out on the interior, with new leather for the seats, fresh roof lining new door cards and a lot of work.

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He went for the rally wheels, which was a good choice, and of course you have to have the Goodyear T/A tyres!

Both the wiring and the vacuum system were gone over. I’m told the latter can be a hassle on these things, so it’s good to have a set-up that’s been given the once-over.

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The black piece on the hood may not look familiar to people – it’s been custom fabricated to fit the air cleaner underneath.

These cars have a reputation for being difficult to reassemble as the fibreglass panels can be a pain to realign. This one’s very good. There’s a hint of rubbing on one of the doors, but that’s probably the best compromise you could get. It’s protected by tape and it can always be touched up.

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When I was in the market, I particularly wanted a manual. Why a Stingray? I always wanted a muscle car. I’ve owned a few De Loreans – as nice and different as they are, they’re a long way from being muscle cars. So I was looking at for a C3 chrome bumper, which means 68 to 72, or a 69 Camaro or 60s fastback Mustang. The fastbacks have gone up a lot and were getting beyond the budget. One I looked at was full of rust and had repair panels pop-rivetted on. It was going to be 30-40 grand to repair.

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These C3s are really good value. The previous owner of this car had put a lot of effort into it and buying it was as much an interview as it was a transaction. I think I convinced them that I would look after it.

Valuation guide: Similar era vehicles start in the mid-60s and climb much higher.

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