Q: Greg, I enjoy reading your articles. I have a 1969 Corvette Sting Ray with a 427 horse big block and just 50,000 miles. It still has the original four-speed, has a convertible and hardtop, and green original paint. The engine is the 390-horsepower version and it is in good condition. It also has a new top, tires and exhaust. The seats are reupholstered, too. What do you feel it would be worth? Thanks, Doug.
A: Doug, I get many of these questions, which are many times hard to answer because you can't tell everything about a car if you can't touch it of see it in person. However, in your case, any 1969 Corvette with a big-block 427 under the hood is worth some serious money, and you seem to have what Corvette owners and collectors look for - originality. You don't mention if your Corvette is 100 percent numbers matching, but for the sake of this answer, I'm going to go on the presumption that it is a number-matching, mechanically original Corvette with the original paint.
Currently, 1969 Corvette Roadsters with the hardtop/convertible and a 390-horse 427 under the hood are selling from a low of $25,500 to a high of $59,000 in decent to good original condition. I checked many sales listings on eBay and other car sites before replying, so this should give you a good idea of what to expect. These prices are in line with the NADA Classic car price of a low of $32,180 to a high of $61,800 retail for a car like yours.
Additionally, the collector car market right now is identical to the economy, which is more uncertain than not. This results in lower prices being paid for average to good original-condition collector cars.
Had your Corvette been an L-88 430 horse version, or even the tri-power 435-horse model, your prices would gyrate up substantially, especially for the rare L-88. However, be thankful you have a Corvette sitting in your driveway that will bring some serious money to your bank account.
A note here, also, on the Mecum and Barrett-Jackson auctions. Don't let the extremely high bids on the auction TV shows influence your thinking as most of the people who own cars of value have a tendency to overprice their car or truck based on bidding they see on these exciting TV shows. Granted, many of the pristine cars in these auctions are worth every penny, but today's average collector car is a far cry from "pristine."
In ending, if that green Corvette 427 Roadster from Canandaigua, N.Y., on eBay right now is yours for $37,500 or best offer, good luck! (It sure looks like it.)
Greg Zyla writes weekly for GateHouse Media and welcomes reader input on antique cars, auto nostalgia or old-time motorsports at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840 or at email@example.com.