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In the postwar 1950s, American automobile manufacturers were entering into the roadster market first created in the US and Canada by European manufacturers. Cars such as the MGB and the series of Triumph TRs or Jaguar XKs had a huge impact in America, so Ford responded with the Thunderbird in 1955 and Chevrolet with the Corvette in 1953.

Huge funds went into development of the Chevrolet Corvette, particularly in the styling and marketing of the car. Harley Earl was a major player in development of the project which debuted at the GM Motorama in 1953. Earl had been responsible for one of the first automotive design studios in the US, and one of his highlight achievements was the Corvette, however, GM, and possibly Earl, seemingly considered performance as an afterthought.

While the Corvette looked good, was toured extensively on the show circuits and flaunted an all fiberglass body, its performance was pedestrian and well below that of the Thunderbird's. However, this lackluster performance would change for the better, and the Corvette was saved with the introduction of Zora Arkus-Duntov to the project. Duntov was the first to do the obvious. He motivated Chevrolet to install a manual transmission and larger engine into the Corvette, turning the 1956 version into a genuine sports car. Duntov would later convince GM to race, and upgrade, the Corvette into a world class supercar.

Progressive Evolution to the most powerful production Corvette:

1957 - Fuel Injection Introduced
1963 - Second Generation Released Including The Split Window Stingray
1963 - Duntov Secretly Produces Five Corvette Grand Sport Race Cars
1966 - Big Block V8 Offered, Corvette Becomes A Muscle Car
1967 - Legendary 427 Introduced, With The L88 Option Available
1968 - Third Generation, L88 Still Offered

And this is where our timeline stops, as the L88, to date, is still the most powerful production Corvette Chevrolet has been willing to sell on the road.

L88, the ultimate production Corvette

As an option code on the 1967 to 1969 models, L88 was an almost secret offering. Chevrolet actively discouraged L88 orders from dealerships and the public. Just what was all the fuss about? The L88 was capable of 170 mph and sported more than 500 horesepower. This homolagtion special was developed for the track and never intended for the road.

The L88 was first offered to teams such as Sunray DX Motorsports who contested Covettes in events such as the Sebring and Daytona. Packed with factory competition hardware the L88 package was an ordering option that made the Corvette a pure race car. It is quite remarkable that some customers had the insight to order this hush-hush package on their street machines, and more so, GM was willing to comply. Luckily, over 200 L88s were ordered, and they each represent the ultimate road going Corvette.

At the heart of the L88 package was a 427 similar only in block casting to the engine first offered in 1966. Almost every other component was reconsidered for power and racing endurance. This was not the case with the L71 package which GM was advertising and more willing to sell. At almost half the price of the L88 engine, the L71 officially appeared to offer the same performance at a marked discount. However, GM was fudging the numbers to keep the L88s off the road, making the L88 essentially the hidden, more potent, option. In detail the L71 and L88 Corvettes were very different machines. One was raced, the other was driven.

While the L71 and L88 shared the same aluminum cylinder heads, the L88 took the theme a step further by adding a Tuftrided crankshaft, 12.5:1 pistons, cold air induction and a 850 CFM dual feed Holley carburetor into the mix. As with any racing machine, the L88 left out the fan shroud, choke and often, the heating system. With it's exhaust removed, and running on racing fuel, the L88 was capable to 600 horsepower which was more then enough to take class victory at the 1967 Sebring 12 Hours. On the road, and far above GMs 435 bhp figure, the L88 can claim anywhere from 550 to 570 horsepower in production trim.

Filling out the package, the L88 included much more than just an engine upgrade. Mandatory factory upgrades included a Muncie M22 Rock Crusher or M20 Hydramatic Transmission., power-assisted, heavy duty brakes, heavy duty coil springs and dampers, G81 positraction differential and special cowl induction hood. After all was said and done the the L88 doubled the price of a standard Corvette, but more than doubled its potential or resale.

L88s were produced from 1967 to 1969 and during the transition from the C2 Stringray to the C3 bodystyle. As a limited series of around 200 cars, the L88 was sold in both coupe and convertible form. Most examples sell for $100 000 to $150 000 USD.

Story by Richard Owen for

Breif: A corvette with a rare engine option that cost a bit more - nobody really got it, to everyones suprise, it was way more then what chevy said it was when it was dyno'd.

410.1 kw / 550 bhp @ 6200 rpm
637.23 nm / 470 ft lbs @ 5200 rpm
1551 kg / 3419 lbs
4-Speed Manual

The shark-like styling of that particular generation of Corvette is definitely cool.gif
best looking corvettes ever IMO. Frozen.
C2s are cool, this is ice cold.
best looking corvettes ever IMO. Frozen.

-->Without a doubt...

My answer is obvious, the L88 was a Monstor...

And a few other facts...
in 1954 Ford sold 16155 Thunderbirds, Chevy sold 675 Corvettes,
And about the L88
-427 CI displacement with 12.5:1 compression
-Was underrated to "keep the safety conscious less mindfull of corvettes products" and "discouraging unknowing buyers from buying something far beyond their abilities"
-Ordering this package automaticly deleted the heater and radio "to encourage track use only"
-Only 20 owners paid for this package
-The first L88 was sold as a 1966 model to Roger Penske which was entered in the Le Mans Febuary 1966
-3 L88s were built in time for the 1968 Daytona 24 Hours
-Don Yenko Got the first L88 hardtop
-An all aluminum Ls7 was listed but never offered while rateed at 460 HP it was speculated to be closer to 600
And whoever voted MJ Uncool...

I WILL EAT YOUR HEART!!!!!!!!! smile.gif
Without a doubt, otherworldly badass!!!

"On the road, and far above GMs 435 bhp figure, the L88 can claim anywhere from 550 to 570 horsepower in production trim."

ohdear.gif Words fail me...
<!--QuoteBegin-clarkma5+Aug 13 2004, 03:34 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td><b>QUOTE</b> (clarkma5 @ Aug 13 2004, 03:34 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin--> C2s are cool, this is ice cold. <!--QuoteEnd--> </td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'> <!--QuoteEEnd-->
This is a C3 though. Unless you actualy ment the C2 is cooler. <!--emo&:thumbsup:--><img src='' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbs_up.gif' /><!--endemo-->
No, I was just dumb, thought it was a C2 for some reason...although it's obvious that it's a C3, wtf was I thinking? tard.gif
it looks stunning and has specs to match. This monster is Freezing
Absolutely frozen . The C3 is my favorite Corvette .
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