Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Yes, this is an ultra-rare 1971 Chevrolet LT-1 Corvette, the most potent small block installed in the C3 and a legitimate contender for best all-around Corvette in a generation. To find an LT-1 coupe in original condition is, well, extraordinary, and this Ontario Orange survivor is believed to be a real-deal 45,746 actual mileage example that has been encapsulated in time. If you're looking for a tried-and-true piece of American motoring history, then this chrome-bumper C3 with its smooth-running 350 LT-1 V8 and quick-shifting Muncie 4-speed manual transmission is the kind of car that would make Zora Duntov smile.
That is indeed factory Ontario Orange lacquer on the fiberglass flanks of this 'Vette, and for a survivor, it's totally acceptable in every way. Perfect? No. But highly presentable and you'll never have to make excuses for the small checking and minor scratches that this beauty has proudly acquired through the decades. With low ownership and great documentation passed down through the years, it's an extraordinary find that shows just 45,746 original miles on the 5-digit odometer (which we believe to be original based on a preponderance of physical evidence on the car, not 100% verifiable proof), making it one of the most desirable all-original cars we've ever featured. The fiberglass substrate is in excellent condition, with none of the cracking in the usual areas, and thanks to an easy life, things like the doors and hood close easily with good gaps all around. The LT-1 used a slightly different hood than the big block cars, with special 'LT-1' badging and also highlighted by special pinstripes on this particular car, and experts will notice the 1971-only amber parking light lenses. There's a nice, soft shine to the paint that tells you it's original, and things like the chrome bumpers and stainless rocker trim are in great shape too. If you want to make a splash at next year's Bloomington Gold, this is the car that'll do it.
The Saddle bucket seat interior is likewise all-original and remains in very good condition overall. Connoisseurs will quickly notice that this Corvette is spec'd out in a rather rare optional custom trim package, which included leather seat trim, woodgrain accents, and cut-pile carpeting on the floors and lower interior doors. The seat covers show some moderate stretching but no rips or tears and the flanking door panels are in great condition as well, with hardly any of the 'arm-rub' patina you usually find in an all-original car. We suspect that the carpets are original as well and they're really, really nice when you consider all the platform shoes that graced this cabin in the '70s, but thankfully the dealer had the foresight to throw in a set of clear Corvette floor mats to keep the plush rugs from getting abused. The woodgrain appliques probably show the most wear inside, which makes since when you remember the kind of cheap materials they were made from back then, but those door panel, dash, and center console accents still make their presence felt and really do a great job in adding a touch of sophistication to the Saddle interior. All the gauges show bright, clear markings, and yes, the fiber-optic light indicators still work, while the stock, black-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel looks just right in the Corvette's cockpit. Things like A/C and an automatic transmission were not available with the high-revving LT-1, so this one has an always-fun Muncie 4-speed and not many options beyond an AM/FM radio and tilt column. Color-matched T-tops were part of the package too, and they close tightly thanks to factory rubber gaskets, and when not in use they store neatly behind the seats.
The LT-1 almost didn't make it into production due to its radical specifications that ensured the Corvette would run on no higher than 91 Octane, but Zora Arkus-Duntov and the St. Louis Corvette Manufacturing Plant made it happen. With solid lifters and a surprisingly low 9.0:1 compression rating (down from 11.25) that was mandated by GM to appease the Feds, it still cranks out a respectable 330 horsepower from 350 cubic inches. It'll rev easily to 6500 RPM without fear of breakage and still makes the most amazing sound this side of Daytona, and it didn't lose the high-strung, vibrant personality of prior-year Corvettes, so much so that it became better known as the Z28 motor in later years. This is the original, numbers-matching engine, of course, and it's quite neatly dressed with almost all of its original equipment intact, including the finned valve covers at the flanks. Other than the air cleaner there are no deviations from stock, including ram's horn exhaust manifolds that feed into the cackling dual exhaust below. Underneath, the Muncie 4-speed manual transmission snaps through the gears powering an original rear axle. And with power steering and power 4-wheel disc brakes, it's ready to rock at a
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