This unmistakable C3 was caught with my faithful dash-cam, cruising in the holiday traffic (it was a long weekend here in Israel, the second Passover holiday mixing with the regular weekend). And once again you get a chance to compare old with new; the long stick ‘Vette clashes with the boxy Sonic that’s in the left lane. And that Sonic looks positively huge compared with the C3.
And here it is in motion:
As I’ve already covered the C3 in Israel in this post, I won’t elaborate much further and really keep this an Outtake. Instead, I’ve decided to attach photos of Corvette C3s from various meetings I’ve attended throughout the years, but include only the unloved (?) post-chrome-bumper / pre-fastback mid-1970s cars. And I’ll start with C3s adorned by luggage racks:
This C3 is a veteran at the Five Club central meetings. I can’t decide which is worse; the luggage rack, white stripe or that front end cover. Curiously, even the side exhausts look out of place here.
Another one with luggage rack, this C3 was photographed during a track day at a very short local track, very unfitting for a car this size. But the owner, who turned up with friends in other ‘Vettes, had a good time and the car stretched its legs.
Here are two examples without the dreaded luggage rack, and you can see they’re much cleaner. You might say they’re boring to look at- nothing that a coat of paint can’t fix:
This C3 is actually very 1970s to look at, even though I’d never use that color scheme if it was my car.
Pimp my ride, and I do mean Pimp… take a closer look at that color, that’s not plain black.
Back to the clean look, but with spoilers, which I havent shown you yet. However, I’ve kept the best for last:
An ultra w-i-d-e C3 I’ve uploaded here before, but deserves another look. Although it hints of the earlier, pre 1974 cars, could really be anything produced between 1968 and 1977. I somehow like it, “in your face” and all.
The late C3’s are unloved only because what was under the hood. Or, more accurately, what the EPA did to what was under the hood.
While the early models with chrome grilles front and rear were attractive, I’ve always found the painted-on-both-ends models much more attractive, a much more coherent design.
Yes, I’d love to own one, although I still like the C4’s slightly better in the looks department.
I am going to come out of the closet and admit that I have really started liking these – even the later ones. For any given year they made good power compared with what else was available and the later ones would still make a fun cruiser that is reasonable to buy and hugely supported with parts.
The only real problem I could forsee from putting one in my garage would be resisting the urge to do a Mopar 360 swap into it and take it to Corvette events. Because it could be so devilishly fun.
That 360 swap would be cool. Most wouldn’t get it but that makes it even better.
Oh man, the wailing and gnashing of teeth would be epic.
You’d be as welcome as the local guy who has a mint restored Ferrari 400i . . . . until he opens hood to show an Australian GTO engine and transmission.
It would be a fun test to see how long it takes anyone to notice, the LA port arrangement and rear mounted distributer is quite good camouflage for this act of shenanigans. Bonus points if they can tell the difference in hue between Chevy orange and Hemi orange engine paint 🙂
That’s been the fun part. He’s shown up at Ferrari shows and gotten a lot of compliments on the car – as long as he keeps the hood shut, and nobody notices the different shit lever. He usually won’t open it up, but if he’s bugged often and nastily enough, will, late in the day.
At which point he’s usually asked to leave.
It is easily noticeable. 400’s have a V-12.
“…the different shit lever.” 🙂
And then it really hits the fan!
Nice bunch of cars, I would not have guessed there were so many of those in Isreal!
C3 fans stay tuned, you should like the article I have posting tomorrow.
My favorite year for the C3 is 1973 – the body-color front bumper is cleaner than the earlier chrome fronts and the side vent is nice and simple but the car still has the duck’s-ass rear. Although the EPA was beginning to interfere in a big way by this time, some power was still available under the hood.
x2 I think the 73 is very underrated aesthetically. I prefer the vertical gills of the 68-69 but the 73 easily surpasses the busy details of the 70-72. The 74 rear is laudable for bumper integration, but the droopy look leaves me wanting. The 80-82 rear was better, that would be a perfect retrofit to a 74-77
x4… always liked the move to plastic in the front, but chrome bumpers and the DA in the back. My favorite Vette, but I was 12 when these came out in the fall of ‘72, so that might have something to do with it. ;o)
Excellent photos ..Agreed… a much cleaner look, sans luggage rack
The C3 definitely looks better without luggage rack. Chevrolet marketed those as a practical solution to storing your T tops. There was no trunk, so you had to leave the tops at home leaving yourself at the mercy of the weather. I can see the appeal from that point of view.
I’ve always been conflicted over Vettes. Like all good old American car lovers I’ve pined for one since grammar school. These are quite sexy in a curvaceous Liz Taylor kind of way. Which is part of the problem, they just seem overwrought. Today they still seem overstyled but they have grown on me. Now would be the time I guess. Prices are as low as they are likely to get. There’s a lot you can do to the motor and still pass the mandatory smog tests. Maybe, but I kind of like Mustangs more.
I’ve been watching a lot of old episodes of Route 66 on me tv and that luggage rack looks okay to me. Just fill it with some gear and hit the road. Cue the Nelson Riddle theme music.
I’m a fan of Route 66, and remember watching it in the early 60s when it first came on TV.
They had 2 different Corvettes over the course of the series, the first one was a gift from Todd’s father, no explanation (that I remember) for why it was replaced and how an itinerant Todd was able to afford the newer car.
BTW, the producer for the series was also a producer for The Naked City and also for Hawaii 5-0 (the original one).
I’m curious. Is it just certain generations of Corvettes you find overstyled? Some of them are definitely busy, but I think the fifth generation is fairly clean. I’ve attached a picture of mine for comparison.
I always found the C5 too clean, I’d even say boring. Yours being a Z06 added just enough touches to make it stand out, the wheels, vents and especially the notchback roof, which looks way cooler than the bubble – I never liked the bubble glass, from 78+ C3, C4, C5 and C6
One advantage to the clean, boring look is it’s easier to clean the bugs off the front of the car. 🙂
When I was shopping for the car, I decided I preferred the notchback roof over the glass hatch too.
Another dashcam spotting from Yohai – great!
I’ve always loved the C3s – possibly because they were the Vettes of my teens/twenties. Not the car of my dreams, but I sure like the look of them. For a long time I preferred the chrome-bumper cars, but now I’ve come to appreciate these ones as well.
Although the luggage rack is a visual barb, I can see where it could be a necessity if you were to use the car for serious travel. Personally I would be reluctant to put luggage on it, for fear of a strap letting go and losing it, or some light-fingered person helping themselves to it while my back was turned. I’m sure this would have been less of a problem back when the car was new. Things seemed different then…
And there is a hierarchy within the C3’s with the 1975 being a true nadir. The only notable thing that I can think of regarding this model year is that it was the last year for a C3 convertible.
As ever, thanks for your comments.
Always have been, and probably will be for ever, my favorite cars.
Used a 82 as daily driver for years, loved that car, the ultimate C3 with all the spoilers and goodies for the final year.
If you look thru all the different manufacturers accesory catalogs, Ford, Chevy, Chrysler, whoever, you’ll find that luggage rack was made by the same aftermarket vendor and sold to everybody. On a Corvette or a Granada, they all have the same look and mounting pattern.