1971 Chevrolet Corvette LT-1 Convertible - SOLD
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It’s 100% matching-numbers, it’s beautifully sorted, and the paint and interior are very nice, but not so perfect that it always has to travel in a trailer.

There are a lot of Corvettes out there, we know that. But some are obviously better than others. To many enthusiasts, a car that has been restored to perfection and has all kinds of trophies behind it is the only way to go. For others, they want something with a reasonable price tag but will still get them into all the big Corvette events. But for most, the goal is a high-profile Corvette with a bulletproof pedigree that’s fun to drive. That’s where this fantastic 1971 Chevrolet Corvette LT-1 convertible lives—it’s just a good, honest car that lives up to its billing and has exactly zero nasty surprises. It’s 100% matching-numbers, it’s beautifully sorted, and the paint and interior are very nice, but not so perfect that it always has to travel in a trailer. In short, if you want a very usable Corvette that’s a blast to drive and stands out in a very crowded field, all at a very reasonable price, this is your best choice.

We’re enamored with this 1971 Corvette convertible. It just gets everything right. The C3s have been unfairly maligned as crude and rude, prone to rattles and sloppy on the road, but a quick turn behind the wheel of this handsome red ragtop and your tune will quickly change. It’s tight, confident, and the LT-1 powerplant is plenty stout, especially when paired with a Muncie M21 close-ratio 4-speed gearbox. If you want a Corvette that does everything well, this is most definitely it. Crisp handling, strong acceleration, and a reasonably comfortable ride, all are part of this bright red package. The car was always a nice car and while it was in good order and still ready to enjoy, in 2012 it was treated to a full repaint its original code 973 Mille Miglia Red paint. They used correct materials so it looks very much like it would have in 1971, with none of that modern clearcoat over-restored look that looks wrong on early Corvettes. However, that’s not to say it isn’t gorgeous; you will NOT be keeping a low profile in this ‘Vette. We can see no signs that this car has ever been hit or wrecked and it fits together extremely well, suggesting that the guys in charge of the restoration were careful about putting it back together. The doors close with a reassuring finality, and as I mentioned, the body is remarkably devoid of the usual creaks and groans you get in a vintage ‘Vette. It wears correct white pinstripes and an LT-1 emblem on the hood and chrome bumpers were still in fashion in 1971. It’s crisp, clean, and very straight, making for a very attractive car that hits every button a Corvette fan could want.

The code 400 black vinyl interior is likewise quite nice, but not brand new, so it looks great but invites you to hit the road rather than sit on a show field. No damage, no demerits, no new parts needed, just get in and go. You’ll find that this car feels familiar, regardless of whether you’ve driven a Corvette before, and it feels like everything is just about where it belongs, a sign of good design. It appears that the seats, carpets, and door panels have been replaced, probably when the car was restored, and we believe the gauges were rebuilt. The dash pad is in excellent condition, as is the center console, and we believe both are original. You’ll note this LT-1 carries desirable options such as power windows and a tilt steering column, as well as an AM/FM stereo radio. The built-in fiber-optic indicators for the head- and taillamps are operational save for the left taillight and the plaque in the center proudly advertises 330 horsepower and 360 pounds of torque, pretty good numbers for a small block in 1971 (more on the horsepower in a moment). In fact, all the important stuff works like it should, including the pop-up headlights and the vacuum-powered door over the windshield wipers. Heck, even the little button you push to cancel the SEAT BELT warning light works properly! There’s a crisp white convertible top overhead, which stows easily under the rear deck and seals up well enough to make this a car you can drive anytime without worries. This is a car that’s ready to travel at a moment’s notice.

The good stuff is under the forward-tilting hood. Horsepower was on the wane, but we would argue that the best all-around Corvette you could buy in 1971 is this one: the LT-1. Making 330 horsepower from 350 cubic inches, it was plenty stout for a small block, especially as smog regulations loomed on the horizon. This is the car’s original, numbers-matching engine showing a matching partial VIN (011S103081), a correct stamping code of V0825CGZ (V=Flint assembly plant, 0825=August 25 assembly date, CGZ=350 cubic inches, LT-1, 330 horsepower, manual transmission, 4-barrel Holley carburetor), and casting code 3970010. It was rebuilt in 2006 by Gardner Competition Engines and they built it to 1970 LT-1 specs, including a solid lifter cam, fresh Keith Black domed pistons, and a pump-gas-friendly 10:1 compression ratio, all adding up to 385 dyno-proven horsepower—quite a bit stronger than the advertised 330 and stronger, even, than the 1970 LT-1’s 370 horsepower. It runs superbly today, starting easily even when it’s cold, idling well, and pulling hard once it’s properly warmed up. It carries its original, numbers-matching Holley 4-barrel carburetor, Winters intake manifold, and original 3973487 casting cylinder heads. It also wears correct finned valve covers, a chrome open-element air cleaner, and Chevy Orange paint on the block itself, so it presents as it should. The only notable upgrade is a set of Stainless Works tubular exhaust headers, but we don’t think anyone will object to having a bit more torque on tap when they’re driving this car. Of note, this car includes power steering so it’s easy to handle in any situation and the hardware is robust, so you’ll never break it. Get in and have fun!

The transmission is also the car’s original, numbers-matching piece showing a partial VIN and B suffix code, denoting a Muncie M21 close-ratio 4-speed transmission. Together with the quick-revving LT-1, the Muncie makes this car feel lively on the road and the faster you drive it, the better it seems to work. Behind a small block the Muncie will last practically forever, and thanks to a Centerforce clutch and 4.11 gears out back, it’s almost impossible to stall this car. It is EXTREMELY quick on the street. The headers bolster the torque curve a bit, and they dump into a stainless steel exhaust system with a fantastic tone and correct rectangular tips poking out from beneath the rear bumpers. You’ll note the redline on the tach is a soaring 6500 RPM, and you’ll delight in banging through the gears at full bore just to hear the music this ‘Vette makes. The undercarriage is not beautiful and we don’t believe the body was removed from the frame when the car was restored, but there’s no rust in the frame, no signs of fatigue in the usual places just ahead of the rear wheels, and obviously the fiberglass floors are in excellent shape. No issues, just turn the key and go. The 4-wheel disc brakes are augmented with braided stainless steel lines for improved response, the rear hubs were rebuilt, there’s a new rear spring, fresh bushings up front, and a 4-wheel alignment. Fat Rally wheels give it the perfect stance and they’re wrapped in relatively recent 235/70/15 BFGoodrich T/A radials that look exactly right in the flared C3 fenders.

In case you can’t tell, we love this car. It’s everything a Corvette should be, yet it’s also totally hassle-free. Red is always a brilliant choice on a ragtop ‘Vette and anybody worth his salt wants his performance car to have a manual transmission. Add in the matching-numbers drivetrain, and you have a very usable, enjoyable Corvette that will be a hit at any show, yet remains one of the most road-worthy of all. If you’re not into perfection and trophies, but you do like to be involved, few other ‘Vettes will deliver the thrills-per-dollar of this LT-1. Call today!

Vehicle: 1971 Chevrolet Corvette LT-1 Convertible
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 114145
Mileage: 9536
VIN: 194671S103081
Engine: 350 cubic inch LT-1 V8
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 4.1100000000000003
Wheelbase: 98 inches
Wheels: 15-inch Rally wheels
Tires: 235/70/15 BFGoodrich radial
Exterior Color: Mille Miglia Red
Interior Color: Black vinyl

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