This 1968 Chevrolet Corvette has an incredible story behind it, it was stolen from Alan Poster, its first owner, in New York City in 1968. He had bought the car new for $6,000 and only owned it for 3 months before it was taken.
Poster filed a police report but law enforcement warned him he was unlikely to see it again. He couldn’t afford the insurance, so the 26 year old was $6,000 down and carless. Almost 40 years went by before his phone rang – it was the authorities telling him they had recovered his car.
Fast Facts – The Long Lost 1968 Chevrolet Corvette
- The C3 Corvette, introduced in 1968, was the third generation of Chevrolet’s Corvette sports car series. It featured a dramatic styling change from its predecessor, the C2. Inspired by the Mako Shark II concept car designed by Larry Shinoda, the C3 had a sleek, futuristic body that remains influential to the modern day.
- Over its production life, the C3 Corvette underwent significant mechanical changes. Initially, it offered engines like the small-block 327 V8 and the big-block 427 V8. In 1970, the introduction of the 454 cubic inch (7.4 liter) big-block V8 marked a peak in the Corvette’s power output.
- The 1970s oil crisis and stricter emissions standards led to a gradual decrease in engine displacement and power. By the late 1970s, the C3’s performance had diminished compared to its early years, reflecting the broader trend in American sports cars.
- The 1968 Corvette you see here became a headline national news story from coast to coast in 2006 when it was recovered after 37 years. It was reunited with its correct owner then restored with $15,000 in donated parts from CorvetteAmerica.com. The car is now being offered for sale on Bring a Trailer out of Sausalito, California.
The “Stingray” – Chevrolet’s C3 Corvette
The third-generation Chevrolet Corvette has the unusual distinction of being the first (and possibly only) production car to be “outed” by a Hot Wheels die-cast model. Chevrolet had taken great care to keep the final appearance of the car secret, but a miscommunication resulted in a GM-authorized “Custom Corvette” Hot Wheels model being released before the actual production car, showing its design to the world, albeit in 1:64 scale.
The design of the C3 Corvette was closely based on the Mako Shark II concept car designed by Larry Shinoda in 1965. The final production C3 and the Mako Shark II look remarkably similar, with the production car perhaps being a little softer.
In order to reduce costs and accelerate development time, the C3 was based on much the same chassis as the earlier C2 Corvette. While this may not sound ideal, it’s important to remember that back in 1967 the four wheel independent suspension and four wheel disc brakes on this chassis meant that it was well ahead of its American competition – most of whom still used live axle rear ends and rear drum brakes.
The Corvette was originally conceived as a fiberglass-bodied car, this material was very lightweight, rustproof, and it was much easier to form it into complex compound shapes when compared with sheet steel.
An all new interior was also developed for the new C3, and it was offered in both convertible and coupe models, though all coupes had a T-top with removable roof sections over the driver and passenger seats that could be stored in the rear when not in use.
Both small block and big block V8s were offered, from the 305 and 327 cubic inch V8s right the way up to the prodigious 454 cubic inch V8. These engines could be mated to your choice of either a 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic or a 4-speed manual transmission.
The popular 327 cubic inch V8 was capable of 300 bhp, and it could push the 3,520 lb (1,597 kg) curb weight of the C3 along at a faster pace than almost all of its competition. Big block versions produced far more power and were popular for drag racing, though the significant additional weight up front meant that typically didn’t handle as well as the small block cars.
As was the case with many American sports cars of the time, power output actually reduced over time as the 1960s became the 1970s and new emissions regulations came into effect. As a result of this, later cars were making as little as 190 bhp, and enthusiasts typically seek out the earlier “chrome bumper” cars that were produced between 1968 and 1972.
Interestingly, the C3 Corvette carried the name “Stingray” as a single word, whereas its predecessor had been named the “Sting Ray.” The C3 would be the last of the Stingrays (of either variant) until the name was revived in 2014 with the release of the C7 Corvette.
The Long-Lost 1968 Chevrolet Corvette Shown Here
It’s every car owner’s nightmare to have their vehicle stolen, this is compounded when the car in question is uninsured and almost brand new. This was the fate that befell Alan Poster back in January of 1969.
Poster was 26 at the time and had splurged to buy himself a brand new Corvette Stingray for $6,000 USD, the equivalent to $17,682 USD in 2023. Once day he had left it in a parking garage in Manhattan only to return later and find it gone without a trace.
He filed a police report but hope soon faded, the car was long gone and as the weeks turned into months, then into years and decades he lost all hope of seeing it again. That was until one day in January of 2006, almost 37 years to the day after the car had been stolen, he received a phone call from the authorities to tell him his car had been found.
Poster was incredulous. The exact history of the car has been largely lost, all that’s known is that it had been repainted from the original Le Mans Blue (414) to silver, and the original 327 V8 had been replaced with a big block.
The car had resurfaced as its then-current owner, who knew nothing of the car’s past, had entered the VIN into some documents to export the car to Sweden to a new owner. This was then the stolen car’s VIN set off some alarms and once the dust had settled, the car was back in Poster’s possession.
The incredible story of the Corvette’s recovery saw it featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, the Associated Press, and other newspapers and magazines – including our friends over at Road & Track. The story also appeared on Good Morning America and The Early Show.
The Corvette community came together to help Poster have his car returned to as-new condition. CorvetteAmerica.com donated $15,000 worth of parts and the restoration work was done by the restoration shop California Classics – they even installed a correct 327 V8.
In the 17 years since getting the car back and having it restored Poster has kept it, but he’s now decided it’s time to part with it at long last, and pass it along to a new enthusiast. He’s offering it for sale on Bring a Trailer out of Sausalito, California and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.