Proving authenticity has been a longtime problem for owners, sellers and potential buyers of rare ’60s and early ’70s Chevrolet muscle cars because of the lack of credible documentation records. Production data from General Motors for those special factory performance cars no longer are available, making it difficult to research or provide proof that a rare car is indeed the real deal.
However, the National Corvette Restorers Society has come to the rescue with a new service for owners of 1965-72 Camaros, Chevelles and Novas that will provide shipping records for those cars and will give access to the name and address of the original dealer, dealer code and build date for each car.
As well as presenting information about a car’s original sale, the records can point the way to more-extensive documentation to prove the car’s provenance, including locating its original owner.
[pullquote] It’s going to boost the value of real cars and it’s going to expose some of the cars that aren’t real.” [/pullquote]
The NCRS is well-known for its efforts to authenticate Corvettes. This marks the first time the organization provides documentation service for other Chevrolet performance cars.
“I think it’s great news,” said Steve Davis, president of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. “It’s going to boost the value of real cars and it’s going to expose some of the cars that aren’t real. It will no longer be a situation where you are constantly guessing about something that’s extremely rare or desirable.
“It’s good for the hobby and especially for the types of cars we’re talking about,” Davis added. “It gives people who own a legitimate and desirable car the ability to solidify that provenance.”
The availability of shipping records will help weed out fraudulent misrepresentations of faked GM muscle cars, he said. Because of the lack of GM records, it’s all too easy to pass off what was originally a run-of-the-mill Camaro, Chevelle or Nova as a rare factory performance car.
“Unfortunately, especially with GM, because there’s no way to decode that stuff in the VIN like with Fords – as far as engine options particularly – it’s left the door open for people who have less than desirable motives, let’s say, to phony the stuff up,” Davis said. “So now you have one more piece of the puzzle that eliminates that from happening.”
NCRS is working on the time-consuming task of converting data from microfiche to digital, which will allow easy access to the records. There were about 7 million Camaros, Chevelles and Novas built from 1965-72, compared with around 350,000 Corvettes.
When the service becomes available later this year, NCRS will charge $50 for access to each shipping record, with a money-back guarantee that the record will be readable (some of the material is faded or damaged). The NCRS already has set up a special website, www.chevymuscledocs.com, for when the service becomes available.
Davis said he is impressed that NCRS has undertaken the mission of compiling the shipping data, which only recently has come to light.
“There have been rumors and rumblings of that stuff existing, but it was almost an urban legend for a long time,” Davis said.
“We’ve seen that before with information coming out of the archives that people thought was lost. Even in the Shelby world, for instance, years back when there were records found.
“It’s almost like an archeological dig sometimes,” he added. “You find a box of records or something that everybody thought was gone, and all of a sudden, there it is.”