|1967 L89 Black on Black (Photo: Mecum)|
I am not saying that the 1967 L89 is as valuable as a 1967 L88 but considering there were fewer L89s produced and in the performance hierarchy the L89 was just under the vaunted L88. The L89 was rated at 435HP, the same as the L71 engine but due to the weight savings of the all aluminum heads it actually produced over 450HP. It is generally accepted that the 1967 L89 Corvette was considered to be the ultimate road going American car in its day and apparently Ed Cole, the General Manager of Chevrolet, agreed. He was asked by his neighbor to order the “ultimate” Corvette and the model Cole ordered him was a Goodwood Green L89 with 4 speed and saddle interior. Today the car is known as the “Ed Cole Car” since he considered it to be the “ultimate” Corvette, not a bad endorsement.
|1967 L89 and known as "The Ed Cole Car" (Photo: Mecum)|
Certainly Ed Cole knows more than most about automobiles. Not only was he the General Manager of Chevrolet but he was formerly Chevrolet’s Chief Engineer and responsible for setting the course for the Corvette to become a dominant performance car. Cole not only allowed Zora the latitude to turn the Corvette into the dominant American performance car but he encouraged it. And remember it was under Ed Cole's leadership that the legendary small block and big block engine was developed, so Ed Cole thoroughly knew engines. So when Cole chose the L89 as the ultimate Corvette, it means something.
But, just like Ed Cole, every Corvette enthusiast has their own individual idea of the ultimate Corvette. If you were going racing back in the sixties you probably would want the L88 or the Z06. If you wanted a car that could be driven almost daily, could be raced on weekends and could shut down almost all other cars in stoplight battles it would probably be the potent 1967 L89.
|1963 Corvette Z06 "Tanker" Black Interior (Lot S172 Kissimmee 2014 Photo: Mecum)|
So, aside from not being marketed to the same degree, what else bears consideration? Collectability would be a good place to start. Among all production second generation models the L89 is among the top three collector Corvettes. The other two are the "Crown Jewel" of American collector cars, the 1967 L88 followed by the 1963 Z06, particularly those with documented racing heritage. The L88 and the Z06 have become the most sought after Corvettes and contrary to most collector Corvettes their prices have skyrocketed well beyond their historic values while most others have remained flat or even declined from their historic highs. The estimated value of both the L88 and Z06 is well above their value seven years ago, prior to the market crash, while most other Corvettes are just now getting back to those prices. But for some unknown reason the 1967 L89 estimated value is still below the 2006 level, well below.
According to the Hagerty tools, the December 2006 value for the 1967 Corvette L88, similar to the one just sold for $3.85M, indicates a number 1 condition 1967 L88 was valued at $1.5M and in December 2013 it was valued at $2.45M. Even though the December 2013 estimated value of $2.45M was 55% below the January L88 actual sales price , it was more than 60% above its 2006 pre-market -crash value of $1.5M.
|1963 Z06 originally raced by Dick Lang (Lot S148 Kissimmee 2014 Photo: Mecum)|
|1963 Z06 "Tanker" Red Interior(Lot S150.1 Kissimmee 2014 Photo: Mecum)|
|Goodwood Green 1967 L89 Ed Cole's Ultimate Corvette (Photo: Mecum)|
Arguably, during the last seven years, no other second generation collectable Corvette has had cars hammered down so far below the estimated value as the rare L89. It is an aberration, and inexplicable. At Mecum’s 2011 Indy auction a 1967 L89 was sold at the unbelievable price of $117K, less than half the value of even a number 4 condition car. At that price the car should have been towed across the block in several pieces. In 2002 Barrett Jackson® sold a beautiful number 1- condition silver pearl L89 for $221.4K. But the most blatant example is the sale of the aforementioned “Ed Cole Car”. The car was originally taken to the Mecum’s Bloomington Gold auction in May of 2009, less than a year after the stock market crash in the fall of 2008, where it failed to meet the $1M reserve being bid to $550K. Two months later it was taken to Mecum’s Monterey auction with the same $1M reserve and it was bid to only $207K and incredibly the seller lifted the reserve and it sold.
So based on the rarity, the price history, and the recent “hot” Corvette market if the L89 prices continue to hammer down based on their recent illogical trend, it would be a good investment because collectors will soon wake up and recognize the opportunity. Taking all collector requirement into consideration the L89 checks all the boxes. Granted it will never be as valuable as the “crown jewel” L88, but if you like playing with your Corvette, it’s a helluva lot more “driver friendly”. And the legendary Z06 may be more desirable based on its history and reputation, especially those with a racing heritage, however the rarity of the L89 should more than offset the value of a Z06 without a documented racing heritage. Keep your eyes on the Z06's in Mecum's Saturday auction, they get auctioned before the L89 and if they actually meet their reserves, the bids should offer some perspective as to the value of the L89. Then grab your checkbook so when Lot S225.1 comes to the block if the opportunity presents itself, you will be ready to take home what could very well be the best investment of the auction.