1974 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible - $19,900
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It shines up nicely and there’s no denying that this is the kind of car that gets noticed.

Over the years, the Corvette has represented a lot of things: performance, style, fun, but value? Take a closer look at this 1974 Corvette convertible, which, admittedly, isn’t a show piece. However, it does have a fantastic look in its original colors, a recent GM crate engine that’s about 100 horsepower stronger than the original L48, and a long list of options including a removable hardtop. All for under $20 grand? Yeah, you could call it a bargain.

This car lived with a genuine car guy who loved it dearly, treating it to upgrades and care over the years to keep it healthy and happy. There’s no need to fuss about pedigrees in a 1974 Corvette and this one is most certainly a driver, so don’t expect to be winning Bloomington Gold. On the other hand, it’s an original code 56 Bright Yellow car and the vivid paint just screams off the curvy Stingray bodywork. It’s an older repaint that shows its share of bumps and bruises, but none of the detract for the eyeball this car has going down the road. We don’t believe this car has ever been disassembled and certainly never wrecked, so body lines are good and it still carries its original 1974-only 2-piece rear bumper. The doors close easily and line up well, the headlight doors sit flush thanks to new actuators, and the hood sits just proud at the latches, something that’s easy to adjust if it bothers you. It shines up nicely and there’s no denying that this is the kind of car that gets noticed. And now that the C3 is getting some respect, it gets noticed for all the right reasons.

The black leather interior is largely original and in very good condition. We got the car with some aftermarket seat covers in place, and underneath we found some nice black leather that cleaned up nicely (the aftermarket covers are included if you want to use them). Sure, there are signs of wear and a little stretching on the driver’s lower cushion, but no splits or tears and it’s still easy to settle in behind the wheel. Once you’re there, you’ll find a tilt steering column, a full array of fully operational gauges, and a quick-shifting TH400 3-speed automatic transmission that’s virtually indestructible. This car also offers factory A/C, which isn’t working but the system is complete and could probably be made to work without a massive investment. The plaque on the center console advertises the original L48’s 285 pounds of torque, which was really the only way they could be proud of a 180 horsepower Corvette, but there’s more to it today—we’ll get to that in a moment. Overhead there’s a black convertible top that’s in good condition with some cloudiness on the rear window, as well as a factory optional hardtop that seals it up in inclement weather. Not bad.

As I mentioned, the engine is a 350 cubic inch GM crate engine installed about 10 years ago. They tell me it’s rated at 290 horsepower, which is considerably more than the original L48 and it gives this yellow roadster an entirely new personality. It starts easily, of course, and with a hydraulic cam inside it idles nicely and stays cool in traffic, but there’s a big hit of torque just off idle that launches this ‘Vette far better than any of its stock siblings. There’s also plenty of urge at any speed and it doesn’t run out of breath like the original. It’s not going to eat any big blocks, but for a ‘70s ‘Vette, this one is a blast to drive. It inhales through its original cowl induction air cleaner assembly and the ignition is still covered by original shields, so it looks quite correct under the hood. Like the rest of the car, it’s not detailed for show but pretty engines don’t get used, so don’t sweat it. Lots of new parts mean it’s ready to enjoy, and that’s entirely the point of this car.

Underneath, more of the same: a little grungy but 100% operational and ready to rock. The TH400 shifts crisply and with 3.08 gears out back, this Corvette has good long legs for highway cruising. Newer shocks, fresh bushings on the front sway bar, and a new exhaust system with chambered pipes that sound spectacular, all add up to a car that doesn’t ask for much in return for having fun. No frame rot, either in the kick-ups ahead of the rear wheels or the “birdcage” and it sits right on 15-inch Rally wheels wearing fat white-letter radials.

The bottom line is this: a ready-to-use vintage Corvette convertible for under $20,000. The upgraded engine makes it very entertaining to drive and the hardware is nigh indestructible, so don’t think twice about going out and having fun. Let the pedigree guys fret over numbers and trophies, you’ll be out enjoying the sun, the sound, and all that torque. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1974 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Price: $19,900
Stock Number: 117023
Mileage: 17,775
VIN: 1Z67T4S409296
Engine: 350 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.08
Wheelbase: 98 inches
Wheels: 15-inch Rally wheels
Tires: 225/70/15 blackwall radial
Exterior Color: Bright Yellow
Interior Color: Black leather
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