Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cars in Yards: Mystery custom Corvette

What year is this mystery Corvette with custom bodywork?

Call it a Corvette winter for Junkyard Life. We have uncovered yet another mystery Vette! One might say it is even a season of Corvettes. So many twist and turns, add a little arbitrary fate that never fails to lead us to another abandoned Chevy. Breaking almost all of our journalistic integrity, we write the story, but we really can only speculate. Not that I (Ron) am ever truly prepared to put automotive archeology on paper, but with this Corvette… I am as lost as anyone. Maybe ahead of other Corvette followers, only because I found a paint code. That just about ends my knowledge of America’s once world-class entry into the supercar world.

Council, it appears your entire case is based upon speculation and not so much fact

What evidence?
  Guilty, your honor. This is all purely conjecture at this point. I think it is a 1969 model. I think it was a small-block car because of the flat style hood. It was for sure a t-top model. I am not sure that the rear window of this Corvette “popped” out like the advertisements for the 1968 proudly proclaimed. The console tag that usually provides RPO codes, the horsepower, the torque, cubic inches and compression was long gone. As were the engine and transmission, which by the way was a four-speed. One of the few things I am sure of. One and four things, if you will.

We don't find many chrome-bumpered Corvettes in the weeds anymore.

  The color was not even what it appeared to be. A bright shade of red probably looked fantastic on the car at some point. Then I discovered a light blue hiding traces of a former identity. I did find the cowl tag (a poorly named item on this car, for it was located on the door). The paint code confessed it was born a darker green. Code 983. That was a clue that helped us with the year model. If it were:
  • 1968-code 983 would be British Green - the most popular color for Corvette buyers in ’68.
  • 1969-code 983 would be Fathom Green
  • 1971-code 983 would be Brands Hatch Green - the second most popular color (War Bonnet Yellow beat Brands Hatch by 341 cars)
  • 1970, 1972 & 1973 code 983 would be very rare, because there were none.

Originally built as a Green, code 983 code, Corvette.
This Vette was originally green but was repainted in a shade of red similar to Marlboro Maroon. Check out the custom bodywork.

  The tail lights offered no clue. It is as if they have been changed. The “hips” of the rear quarter panels look a little exaggerated as well. Could this have been a Mark Hamill wanna be during another time of year? (Editor’s Note: Ron goes a long way to make obscure references to the cheesy B Movie “Corvette Summer.” Make sure you notice and pretend to laugh

Originally a 4-speed Corvette but the drivetrain is nowhere to be found.

Came with a stick
  So… often we come across engines and transmissions that came out of a Corvette. Those parts are usually desirable simply because of their origins. Chevrolet gave their entry into world class supercars the best of everything. Bigger valves, stronger 4-bolt main blocks and other go fast goodies creating a stigma of unrelenting power. Everything needed for a heavy duty
muscle man kind of machine. Corvette was the performance gauge to which others tried to beat or at least match. Still, there was no shame in losing to one.

Back story
  But we usually assume the donor Corvette was wrecked. Then the good stuff saved and transferred to another car for bench racing bragging rights. This car was not wrecked. Granted, it was not in good shape. The idea I got from my interview was that over the years, the car faced a series of unfortunate events that lost or destroyed the places it was stored. Eventually, the car arrived here simply for that reason. Life and other obligations relegated the Vette to this spot. It will be stored properly again soon.

Sting Ray emblem is from a 1964-65 model Corvette.

What do you think?
  So, Sherlock Car Guys, Vette enthusiast and fellow Junkyard Life readers. Help us out! We know it is a 1968-1973 — we know that. Help us solve what this Corvette really is. What model year is this? Is this a “World of Wheels” circa 1975 custom job? Do the taillights really tell us something by not telling us anything at all? Why can we not have caffeine in our Strawberry Fanta? (Editor’s Note: JYL staffer Keith owes me $5. I told him that Ron could not make it through this story without asking/using a statement never before referenced in a JYL article.) Armed with the right information, maybe we can inspire the owner to start turning wrenches on this fun-mobile. Yes! — Help us help him. 1968? 1969? 1971?
  How close are we? What do you think? Comment below.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life

Clues! 3 skinny pedals in the floor for the manual shift Vette.

Egg crate side gills lead us to believe this is a 1970, 1971 or 1972 model Corvette. But who knows with all the custom additions.

Custom headlights replace the pop-up versions.

Just to confirm, nothing to see under the hood. It's a V-0 engine.

Look close you may find a Corvette in the thicket.

Corvette introduced the "pop-out" rear window to give the car a convertible feel when the roof panels were removed. Our mystery Vette was missing the rear glass. Maybe it "popped out?" 

Sorry blurry pic, but it's the only one of the driver's side on the mystery Vette.

The custom work on the Corvette may have been just enough to devalue it to yard art status after the drivetrain disappeared. We see potential and memories of hot rod days gone by.

Do you have a classic or muscle car barn find? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at or Ron Kidd at

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