HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1971 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

Pick of the Day: 1971 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

The big-block bargain


Every American dreams about a Corvette, right? Alas, many vintage Corvettes are priced out of reach from the average enthusiast … or are they? Our Pick of the Day is a 1971 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe that features big-block power that won’t break your bank account. It’s listed for sale on by a dealership in Peapack, New Jersey. (Click the link to view the listing)

When Chevrolet redesigned the Corvette for 1968, folks didn’t know what to think. Sure, the engines were familiar to those keeping up with Corvettes, but the driving position was not, plus there was a quality control issue that hurt its reputation to this day compared to subsequent years. Then came a facelift for 1970, which included an egg-crate grille pattern with matching side gills, triangular parking lights, and subtle fender flares.

Under the hood, the changes that began in 1969 were complete by 1970: in 1969, the 350 replaced the 327, and in 1970, the 454 replaced the 427. Big news on the small-block front was a delightful solid-lifter 350 with the UPC code of LT1. With 370 horsepower, the LT1 was the most expensive engine in the lineup – even more than the 454. How did that happen? Because Chevrolet planned to introduce a LS7 454 that simply never materialized, leaving the LS5 454 as the only big-block for 1970. It was rated at 390 horsepower, 30 more than when installed in the Chevelle.

For 1971, General Motors lowered the compression to all its engines, so horsepower was down yet drivability (especially with unleaded gasoline) was up. The mid-level 350 (which offered 350 horsepower) from 1970 was discontinued, so the only small-blocks were the standard 350/270 and the LT1. That engine now featured 330 horsepower (or 275 net), while the LS5 454 was now rated at 365 horsepower (or 285 net). New was an LS6 454 rated at 425 horsepower (325 net). It cost over $900 more than the LS5 but it also ran like a high-compression big-block, capable of running high-13s.

The charms of the 1971 Corvette are not lost on many for the very reason mentioned above: low-compression engines mean they’re easier to drive with today’s fuel. Combine that with big-block power and you have a very fast Corvette that’s actually more affordable than you think. This particular 1971 Corvette has no description from its seller, but we can see it’s painted Mulsanne Blue, though the data plate shows code 988 Steel Cities Gray with the optional black leather interior. As it’s a Coupe, it features the T-tops that first appeared in 1968 and became a staple of C3s. Other features we can deduce include AM/FM radio, air conditioning, Rally wheels, M21 four-speed, and the LS5 454, which can be verified by the plate on the console.

All that power and fun with classic Corvette looks doesn’t seem like it would be within reach, but suspend disbelieve and believe you me that, at $36,500, this Corvette is much more car for the money than those other fancy cars you whine about as being too expensive. Have at it and tell us how much you love your new Vette!

Click here for this Pick of the Day.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in the Southwest.


  1. Those 1965 & ’66 Corvettes are going to be quite valuable after restoration ! Those will likely be auctioned for big money someday to the right person . Hope they restore those to like new original stock . Happy Motoring !

  2. Enjoyed this Corvette article, as I had a ’71 War Bonnet Yellow big block T-top with every option except tape player back in the day. I have had several cars that are now collectable,, but the Corvette was without a doubt the most fun to drive. Cornered like it was on rails, rode well on my first radial tires, and was the date car for my future, (and still) wife of 49 years. Thanks for the memories.
    Mike Sparks

  3. Viewed corvette has rust in A pillar and windscreen surround damage to front fibreglass and cracks in paintwork.
    Was not permitted for test drive it. When viewed it was blocked in. I reckon they want an unseen buyer to nab it. Est repair cost 22k

  4. Diego, that’s a rippin’ good big block ‘Vette, but any and all of these will make your feet feel as if you’re being tortured. The foot wells of this gen Vette are- hot. Period. Small block Vettes, hot. Big block Vettes, you’re a Crusader being questioned by Saladin. H. O. T.
    Sweaty, as well.
    Beautiful car, tho’.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts