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Chevrolet Corvette 1970 Review

And that's something 1970 Corvette owner Glen Jackson knows very well. Whether it's the glaring eyes looking on in admiration and envy, the heart-trembling grunt of the engine, feeling special on the road or the embarrassment of breaking down in peak-hour traffic on one of Sydney's busiest motorways.

For Jackson, taking the bad with the good has left him stranded and almost regretting his purchase. “When I first got it, when I first picked it up, it broke down in the M5 tunnel,” he says. “It was an over-heating problem. I was stuck in the M5 traffic, it caused chaos."

“I was in a panic, in that tunnel there's nowhere to pull over and the thing was over-heated. I just got it through the other side and out of the way of traffic. I wasn't happy about it at all.”

A new radiator and other work totalling $6000 had the Corvette reliable enough to drive, so Jackson could then enjoy his $34,000 purchase.

“I have been playing around with cars since I left high school,” he says. “With this car you drive it and people look. It's about showing off your piece of art. I go in traffic and I get people, usually kids taking photos.”

But Jackson's piece of art isn't quite finished. He plans to spend another $6000 to $10,000 fixing and improving the bodywork, which he anticipates could take another 12 months.

Jackson says the 1968 to 1973 Corvette models are the most desired, as they have a more powerful 350hp engine.

The succeeding models have a lower power output because of pollution regulations.

And while his engine is not the original, it is a 350 Chev engine, delivering the same 350hp.

When Jackson bought his very first old car just over a year ago, it had already been in Australia for at least 14 years.

“It was sitting in a garage,” he says. “When I picked it up, it had been neglected and I had to get it running again.”

While Jackson was and still is an avid Holden fan, sharing the passion with his family, he branched out, developing an interest in American muscle about three years ago.

It took a few years searching to find this one.

“I just like the style, the look of it and the shape,” he says. “There were about 17,000 built in America, so they would have been all imports here.”

Jackson says his Corvette has the T-top roof and the back window comes out.

“It's not quite a convertible, but it still has that feeling to it,” he says.

Jackson's car started its life as a left-hand drive but was converted to right-hand drive for Australia. He says despite its age, it still drives and handles 'pretty well' when he takes it out once or twice a month.

The Corvette was named after a type of British Navy ship known for its wicked speed.

They were first introduced in the US in 1953 and by 1970, featured a longer, more pinched nose, shark-like gill vents on the side front fenders and chrome bumpers.

Jackson's model also has some modern touches, including power steering and a CD player, which were added to the car.

He considered selling his Corvette several months ago for $50,000, but as its beauty glistened in the driveway, he quickly had a change of heart.

“I had advertised it, but changed my mind after a couple of weeks. I decided I liked it too much. So I won't sell it now,” the 27-year-old says. While it didn't get his mother's tick of approval when she saw the photos, Jackson says she loved it once she saw the real thing.

On the road, the red Corvette sits very low to the ground. Jackson says it's a little snug on the inside, probably not the most practical car for someone standing two meters tall.

But that won't stop him driving it. And with just two seats, he finds the added disadvantage of not being able to drive friends around.

His friends will just have to walk or find their own rides, as Jackson is strongly attached to the red beauty for the time being.

Although, it won't be red for much longer, as Jackson plans to give it a bit more life and take it back to the days when it rolled off the factory floor 37 years ago.

He says he likes the red, “because red ones go faster,” but back in its day, the Corvette was originally blue. And by taking it back to its original appearance, Jackson is confident of boosting the car's value.

 


Snapshot

1970 Chevrolet Corvette

Value when new: from $US5469

Value now: $A34,000 for an average model, around $A60,000 for a top model

Verdict: The 1970s sports car may leave you stranded, but at least it does so in style. The Corvette has all the old-school 'coolness' that makes it just like a piece of art.

 

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Stingray 7.0L, Leaded, 4 SP MAN No recent listings 1970 Chevrolet Corvette 1970 Stingray Pricing and Specs
Stingray 7.0L, Leaded, 4 SP MAN No recent listings 1970 Chevrolet Corvette 1970 Stingray Pricing and Specs
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