1970 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 454 LS5 ‘Big Block’
The Chevrolet Motor Car Company was founded in Detroit, USA in 1911 by Swiss race car driver and automotive engineer Louis Chevrolet, his brother Arthur Chevrolet, William C Durant and investment partners William Little (maker of the Little automobile), former Buick owner James H. Whiting and Dr Edwin R Campbell (son-in-law of Durant). In 1912 they were joint by RS McLaughlin, CEO of General Motors in Canada.
The first Series C Classic Six prototype was ready months before Chevrolet was actually incorporated. However, the first actual production car was not built until 1913 when in the fall of that year the new 1913 model was introduced at the New York Auto Show.
The company was merged into General Motors in 1917 and subsequently became a division of that company. Chevrolet is an iconic American brand that is well known the world over.
The 1950’s and 1960’s were a time of great change in America and the automobile played a significant part in the American way of life at that time. Chevrolet is recognised as producing the great American family car, however, Chevys have also enjoyed much success in motor racing. The small block V8 is considered by many to be one of the greatest engines of all time and the Corvette is perhaps the company’s crowning achievement.
In the 1950’s sales were declining and brand manager Thomas Keating was eager to reverse course. The solution he came up with was a sports car. The project was code named “Project Opel”. General Motors’ chief stylist Harley J. Earl came up with the design and in January 1953 the EX-122 concept car made its debut at the GM Motorama in New York City.
The Chevrolet Corvette is without doubt America’s most popular sports car. Since its introduction in 1953, the Corvette has gone through many iterations and is an ‘automotive icon’ recognised throughout the world. The first generation, or C1 series cars, were produced from 1953 to 1962 and are often referred to as the ‘straight axel’ cars because independent rear suspension was not introduced until 1963 on the second generation or C2 series cars. 1962 was an important year for the Corvette. Not only was it the last year of the C1 series cars as noted above, it was the first year of the legendary 327 cubic inch engine. The third generation of Corvette, the C3, was introduced in August 1967 and production ran for an astonishing 14 years confirming the popularity of this model. Whilst the engine and chassis of the C3 cars were essentially the same as its predecessor, this car had completely new body styling and interior. The C3 was available with both a small block and a big block engine. Initially the big block was a 427 cu (7.0 litre) V8 but for the 1970 model year this was increased to 454 cu (7.4 litre).
Some 69 years after the first C1 Corvette rolled off the production line Chevrolet is still building the Corvette today (which is designated as C8).
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1970 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (C3) coupe with the 454 cu big block (LS5) engine and desirable 4 speed close ratio manual transmission.
This particular example was manufactured on March 13th in St Louis, Missouri. It is understood the car was sold by Watkins Chevrolet in Wickenberg, Arizona. The car was first registered in July 1970 in Arizona.
This car is fitted with the following factory options: C60 = air conditioning, G81 = optional positraction axle ratio 3.08:1, J50 = vacuum power brakes, LS5 = 454/390 horsepower engine, M21 = 4-speed, close ratio manual transmission, N37 = tilt & telescopic steering column, N40 = power steering, P49 = F70-15 white lettered nylon tyres, UA6 = horn alarm system, U69 = AM-FM radio and custom interior trim.
There are two certificates of title on file for the car from Arizona. The first is dated the 24th September 1973 noting the owner as William J Haber from Phoenix, Arizona. It notes the previous title was from Arizona, dated the 6th July 1973. The second is dated 23rd June 2008, noting the owner as Kossith Mayer Mitchell II. The second title notes the previous title as that noted previously, confirming that William J Haber owned the car for 35 years.
There are also some receipts on file in Mitchell’s name dated early 2008. The car subsequently found its way to Australia. There is an import approval on file dated 5th August 2008. The new owner lived in Ballarat, Victoria.
It is understood the car then found its way to Queensland where it was completely restored by Classic Car Restorations QLD Pty Ltd. There is a receipt on file showing the engine was rebuilt by Browns Engineering in Lawnton (Brisbane) in 2011.
The current owner acquired this Corvette in 2012. He has an eclectic collection of cars and is meticulous to say the least. In his ownership he has taken an excellent car to the next level and fastidiously maintained it. The car has a few subtle modern improvements to make it a more usable classic, including converting the period correct air conditioning system to R134a and the shock absorbers were replaced with Koni’s front and rear. The radiator was also recored.
Today this Corvette presents exceptionally well. The first thing which captures your attention is the paint. This car is finished in ‘mulsanne blue’ (paint code 976) which is absolutely STUNNING. The colour really suits the car and it shows all the lines perfectly. The paint is in very good condition and we struggled to find imperfections. There is one very small paint bubble on the top of the passenger’s side door and there is a small imperfection inside the passenger’s side air vent. Other than that, the paint is in near show condition. American cars are not known for their built quality and usually the panel gaps aren’t great, particularly on Corvettes. On this example they are very good. The subtle chrome work is in good condition as is the balance of the external trim, including the lights and lenses. The hub caps are a feature on this era Corvette and they are in excellent condition on this car. The wheels are shod with BF Goodrich 245/60/15 tyres, date stamped 49/09 all around.
The interior of this car presents equally as well. The car is trimmed in black leather (trim code 403). All of the upholstery is in excellent condition, as are the carpets and the dash.
The seatbelts in the car appear to be original. The instruments all present well and are in good working condition. The air conditioning also works well and blows cold air.
After having familiarised ourselves with the car it is time to take it out for a test drive. Note to one self . . . you have to depress the clutch to start the car. You insert the key into the ignition, depress the clutch, turn the key and then with an almighty bark the 454 cu big block engine bursts into life. It is immediately obvious that this is not your standard Corvette! The engine sounds fabulous and there’s no doubt it means business. The engine fired up pretty much at first crank and very quickly settled into a smooth idle. The driving position is good and you immediately feel comfortable behind the wheel. The engine warms quickly and then we are out on the road. The car is easy to drive and does everything you would expect. The gearbox is smooth and precise and the power steering is light but surprisingly direct. This car is surpringly tight on the road and it handles, steers and stops really well.
After great anticipation we find the freeway on ramp and with a clear road ahead plant the right foot. The revs rise, the engine roars and the car just takes off. Make no mistake this is a fast car. You back off and take time to ‘smell the roses‘ and enjoy the rest of the test drive. Even though you feel that the car just ‘wants to go’ it is quite at home and easy to drive in traffic and at low speed.
In 1970 Chevrolet produced 17,316 Corvettes and 4,473 were fitted with the 454 LS5 engine. The 1970 model LS5 Corvettes are the most desirable with the 454 cu engine delivering 390 hp compared to the later cars which had detuned engines to tolerate lower octane fuel. These early C3 Corvettes also features the pop out rear window, so when the roof panels were removed the sensation is like driving a convertible.
Accompanying this car is a jack, spare wheel, owner’s manual, Chevrolet AM-FM Radio and Stereo Adaptor Operating Instructions, other period documentation and a good history file.
This is an exceptional example of a highly optioned and very desirable 1970 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (C3) coupe with the 454 cu big block (LS5) engine and desirable 4 speed wide ratio manual transmission. The car is ‘matching numbers’ .
- Highly optioned and desirable C3 Corvette finished in a STUNNING colour scheme.
- Fitted with the desirable 390hp 454 cubic inch engine and a manual transmission.
- Matching numbers.
- Whilst an older restoration, this car presents and drives beautifully.
- Ready for its next owner to show, use and enjoy.
Just a fabulous motor car.
- Chevrolet Corvette Stingray LS5 454 'Big Block'
- 16,511 miles