The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning,1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe  Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103

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Lot 424
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning, 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe
Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103

Sold for US$ 254,500 inc. premium
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning
1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe
Chassis no. 194378S422103
Engine no. T0229IT18S422103
“Racing improves the breed.”

That saying is often cited by racing fans who claim that the innovations and developments of high performance activity work their way through the knowledge cycle of auto companies and eventually pop up to benefit Mom and Pop in their mass-market production cars.

Race fans should only wish it were true. During the first decades of the automobile’s evolution just about the only racing innovation that translated to road cars was the rear view mirror on Ray Harroun’s 1911 Indy 500-winning Marmon ‘Wasp.’ For a long time it seemed as if the two branches of automobile design were diverging, sharply and permanently.

In the late Fifties that began to change and by the time the Sixties reached maturity improvements in the breed due to racing were becoming more commonplace. One of the more obvious instances of the technology transfer was in Chevrolet’s engine development where the Mark IV big block V-8 won on race tracks while at the same time powering much of Chevrolet’s bread-and-butter products. The Mark IV’s development was a direct result of Chevrolet’s search for more performance than the W-series (348/409/427) could find within its unusual canted-deck, flat-bottom cylinder head design. The Mark IV was first seen at Daytona in 1963 where it set the fastest qualifying lap but didn’t finish. By 1965 its potential saw the 396 cubic inch version powering both Corvette and full-size Chevrolets. The secret of the Mark IV was its heads that angled the valves in two planes to create a semi-hemispherical combustion chamber with gently-curved runners and efficient valve location.

The Mark IV’s potential was demonstrated conclusively throughout Chevrolet’s product lines. It powered, and still powers, everything from all-out racing Corvettes to pickup trucks and full-size station wagons, a prime example of racing improving the breed.

The ultimate development of the Mark IV big block was the L88 Corvette. Introduced in Corvette in 1967, each engine was individually built, assembled, blueprinted and tested off-line in the Tonawanda engine factory. Corvette marketers wanted to hold down demand for the racing engine and shut off its dyno run at 5,300 rpm when it showed only 430 brake horsepower. Its redline was 6,500 rpm where each carefully built L88 V-8 made something like 550hp.

One of the L88-powered Corvette’s distinctive features was its highly-domed hood. The air intake was built into the hood, mating closely with the minimal air filter when it was closed. It drew its air not from the nose or from a hood top scoop but from the back of the hood at the junction with the windshield in a naturally-occurring high pressure area. The L88’s hood design couldn’t actually be said to have much effect on road cars, but Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov claimed the cold air and natural supercharging effect from the cowl induction hood cut seconds from Corvette’s 0-140 mph time.

In another Corvette-based innovation – if not strictly racing related – the cooling for the ‘68s, particularly the big blocks, was augmented for their long-lead press introduction in a last-minute expedient by Arkus-Duntov. He cut extra air intakes under the nose and lengthened the spoiler to create a 'chin-breather,' the first application of this technique which now is widespread in both racing and production cars.

The word on the L88 hardly got out in 1967 and only 20 were built. Awareness grew in 1968, when 80 were delivered, followed by 116 in 1969, the last year in production. The L88’s reputation far exceeded its exposure and these 216 Corvettes have become the most sought and valuable of all Corvettes. Many were raced, gathering laurels in North American and in Europe. Others were raced less formally on side streets and service roads.

That is the history of the Le Mans Blue 1968 Corvette L88 offered here. It was sold new to Bill Doskocz, Jr. in Orlando, Florida who recalled in a letter to its second owner, Karl Hallstrom, in 1980 as follows:

“The car was purchased from Harrison Chevrolet in Marianna, Florida in late 1967, it was new and I have been the original and only owner …. It was a very late in the model year 1968 Corvette. I ordered the L88 motor, special brakes, M22 transmission, off road service exhaust, telescoping steering wheel, head rests, leather trim, special suspension….

“I drove the car approx. One year and had a very bad back end wreck. This was fixed by Paul Van Zant in Tallahassee, FL at a cost of approx $2,500. At that time the rear end was customized and a blue Firemist paint job done. I then brought the car to Orlando, Florida and drove it daily for almost 1 year before I parked it and let it set for approx 1 year.

“I then drove it for 6 to 8 months and parked it in late 1974 or early 1975 and left it until this sale today [March 22, 1980].

“The car is an original factory L-88 and has the original brakes, block, heads, intake manifold, crank, rods, rear end, transmission, and I would estimate approx 90% of the other original major items on it.

“I never raced the car professionally and never took it to a drag strip for an official time. It has seen its share of street racing and I had much pleasure in going extremely fast in this car.”

In an article in the 1998 Bloomington Gold ‘Gold Standard’ show guide magazine a further comment from Doskocz about going fast is recorded, recounted by Karl Hallstrom: “He confided to me that he knew when the car reached about 140 mph because around that speed the old original 2-ply bias tires would become so tall they would start to rub against the wheel wells of the car!”

In addition to the factory options Bill Doskocz, Jr. ordered his L88 Corvette with Medium Blue leather interior, transistor ignition and 3.70:1 Positraction rear axle ratio. Upon receiving it he installed the dealer-available optional 2 1/8” tube headers. It was purchased from Doskocz by Karl Hallstrom in 1980. Doskocz had kept every important document since buying the car, including the Owners Protection Plan with Protecto-o-Plate, the carbon flimsy copy of the original order form, window sticker (the original, not a reproduction), car shipper, a copy of the original title, the selling dealer’s thank you letter and even Chevrolet’s original instructions on how to install a choke.

Upon buying it Hallstrom sent his L88 to Country Corvettes in Nortonville, Kansas to return it to presentable driver condition. Interest in rare Corvettes overtook the project and Hallstrom decided to return the L88 to showroom condition.

In one of the more famous displays in Corvette history, Hallstrom showed his L88 as part of the 1988 Bloomington Gold Special Collection as a completely restored running and driving rolling chassis. A copy of the 1988 Special Collection booklet is included in the car’s exemplary documentation package. Completed in time for the 1989 NCRS National Convention it was awarded 'Top Flight' status. It returned to the Bloomington Gold Special Collection in 1998, then at the 1999 NCRS National Convention in Sun Valley, Idaho it scored 97.1 points to earn yet another Top Flight Award and its NCRS Duntov Award of Excellence.

On August 25, 2004 the most recent owner acquired it, meaning it has had only three owners from new. There are no dealers or other non-title owners in its chain of ownership. It has been invited to one of the most prestigious of all Corvette events, the Bloomington Gold Special Collection, not once but twice and has twice been judged NCRS Top Flight, ten years apart.

Say all you want about 'Racing improving the Breed,' the facts are that racing mainly improves racing. The Corvette L88 is case in point, a purpose-built, limited production, high performance racing car based on the standard 4-barrel big block Corvette. Few L88 Corvettes have the clean, clear, limited ownership history of the Doskocz/Hallstrom L88, or its exceptional documentation.

Modern Corvettes boast blazing performance in their Z06 packages but their performance pales in contrast with this brutal, exhilarating 1968 L88.

Racing improves the breed, but the old time sensations are bigger, better and more exciting. This is a peerless Corvette that combines limited ownership history, peerless documentation and – best of all – mind-bending performance.

Without reserve
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning,1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe  Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning,1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe  Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning,1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe  Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning,1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe  Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning,1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe  Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning,1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe  Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning,1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe  Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning,1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe  Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103
The Two Time NCRS Top Flight Award-winning, and Duntov Award-winning,1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe  Chassis no. 194378S422103 Engine no. T0229IT18S422103
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