1971 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe 350 ci 270 hp from North America


They don't make them like this anymore, beauty and brawn


Harmonic Balancer failed at 58,000 miles.

Front Brake caliper leaking.

Most Engine gaskets leaking.

57,500 miles AC belt failed and took out lower radiator hose.

Wrong HEI type distributor installed in car - tachometer (mechanical) would not work.

Oil gauge not working when purchased.

General Comments:

I purchased this car as a pleasure vehicle, weekend toy. I found it in Atlanta and flew out to buy it. After a through inspection I found it to be sound mechanically and decent cosmetically. It is numbers matching motor, trans, diff and has most of the original parts including the AM/FM radio. I negotiated a fair price ($19K) and drove it 1,000 miles home. The seller wanted to ship it (corvette specialty dealer) but I wanted to drive it. Plus it was going to cost $1,500 to ship.

It got 19 MPG on the trip. Very uneventful and the car was surprisingly comfortable. Not bad for a 35 year old car.

I don't drive it on long trips anymore, but, a lot of little ones and have only put 2K on since last October when purchased.

Part of that is due to the AC belt breaking and damaging the radiator hose. I replace both, but very cramped to get the lower hose on the radiator.

I have also replaced the HEI distributor with a Accel dual point model and now have the tachometer working again. A the same time I replaced the plugs and wires. That took the better part of two days as the wires are routed inside heat shields and through the motor mounts. The oil pressure gauge did not work and a replacement was $80 so I took a look at the old one. Some corrosion had formed on the gear that moved the indicator needle. So I cleaned that up (WD-40) and got it working.

One Saturday I started the vette with plans for a nice drive and heard a squealing noise. Sounded like a belt, upon inspection I found the balancer had separated at the rubber ring and the outer counter weight was rubbing on the timing cover. Over the next few weekends I replaced the balancer, timing chain, all belts, hoses, oil pump, most engine gaskets, the rear main seal and cleaned and repainted the motor. Now she's running great! No leaks ether!

I need to fix/replace the caliper as one is leaking, so I'm not driving much for now. I do start her up an listen to that sweet rumble.

I also need to replace all the suspension bushings as they are dry rotted.

I have found it was built on July 4th 1971. I still have lots of little things to do on it, but I plan never to sell and I already promised Daddy's "race car" to my 3 year old son. So I have time to get her "right".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th June, 2006

10th Jun 2006, 05:58

I drove a driver 327 63 Split Window in college which cost $2600 used (1973) at that time. My roomate had a 1971 454 and I later bought a 1975 which was the last convertible model at the time. My 75 was more a cruiser and had an automatic. His 71 was $3200 used. His car was more reliable than mine. We both had them repainted black Emron (incorrect color) but they sure looked great in the driveway! After I got married had a child too I was able to get by with a partially restored 1969 SS Camaro 4 Spd. We restored this car together. I paid $3500 for it. I eventually sold this car however after getting too many notes under its windshield asking to sell. My son is now driving a 2000 Viper RT/10 having progressed from a 95 Mustang GT Convertible and a turbo coupe. I enjoyed your review. Your son will remember all this when he grows up as well. Good luck!

19th Jun 2006, 06:20

I bought a 71 454 new - seems over the three years I had it I paid for it twice counting all the parts that failed on it and spent more time under it than in it.

Belts would not stay on, warped pulleys, tilt telescopic steering cost a fortune to fix. Could not drive it in the rain even with good tires - rear end had a mind of its own even when cruising at steady speed. Oil gauge runs off a pressure pipe from the engine, leaked a lot of oil in the car.

Had to run the a/c even in the winter to stay cool, the 454 throws heat in the car. Bad radio, or maybe it was all the oil in it. Burned excessive oil from the day I got it - valve stem oil seal replacement did not help, timing chain failed just out of warranty. Glad to see this one go.