Chevrolet Corvette L89 Racing Car
“There are few Corvettes that really hold the nation's attention. Even fewer of these vehicles cross international borders and amaze the world. This ultra-rare '68 convertible became such an icon.” These words, taken from the February 2009 Corvette Fever article “History in Motion” by Tom Falconer and Kevin Shaw, perfectly describe the impact that the car offered here made on UK racing fans for just one season in 1972.
An original L89-option 1968 Corvette with a thundering 435-bhp, 427-cubic inch V-8 engine and lightweight aluminium cylinder heads, this car was purchased in May 1972 by England’s Alec Harvey-Bailey, with the deal brokered by legendary American racing driver Dick Guldstrand. Following race-preparations, Pan Am air-freighted the car to London’s Heathrow Airport. Its recipient was Rhoddy Harvey-Bailey, a fast-rising young English racing driver, who entered the Corvette into the FIA-sanctioned British Modified racing series for the 1972 season.
The Corvette was perfectly suited to the “Mod Sports” series, where restrictions were few, and approved modifications included substantial weight reduction, wider-than-stock wheels and tires, and considerable engine upgrades. A number of massive, seven-litre Ford Galaxies famously achieved success in the UK Production Saloon class during the early 1960s, but this Corvette was the sole “big-bore” American racing car active in the UK during 1972. Its aggressive shark-like body, booming exhaust note and the committed driving style of Rhoddy Harvey-Bailey electrified the UK racing scene that year.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Battersea Evolution, London.
543 hp, 427 cu. in. RPO L71 overhead valve V-8 engine, RPO L89 aluminium cylinder heads, Muncie M21 close-ratio four-speed gearbox, independent front suspension with upper and lower A-arms and coil springs, independent rear suspension with half-shafts, lateral struts, radius rods and a single transverse leaf spring, telescopic Koni shock absorbers front and rear, 4.11:1 rear axle, and heavy-duty four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98"
Source: RM Auctions