In the Corvette world, three models have dominated the collector market: the 1957 with fuel injection, the 1963 Split-Window Sting Ray with fuel injection, and the 1967 Sting Ray with the top horsepower 427 engines. Other years may have offered better performance, superior features, or better styling, but this threesome tops the value list.
Demand for the 1967 427 Sting Ray has resulted in this model hitting the sweet spot of performance and style. That’s ironic, since this Corvette almost wasn’t built. The curvacious Mako Shark-inspired Sting Ray introduced in 1968 was supposed to be the 1967 model. That car was delayed a year, mainly over indecision on the coupe’s roof design. The rush to bring a 1967 Corvette to market was eased by the fact that both the ’67 and the ’68 rode on the same chassis. The new series of powertrain options readied for 1967 could sit under either body, so the majority of the engineering was done.
The base 300-hp 327 carried over from the ’66 car. So did the L79 350-hp small-block option. But the big news were the five 427 monsters on the option list. The 390-hp L36, with its mild cam, single Holley 4-barrel carb and lower compression, was a carryover from 1966, and was designed for easy cruising. Next came the new 400-hp L68, essentially an L36 with the addition of the new 3x2 barrel tri-carb setup. Like the L36, the L68 could be had with automatic transmission and air conditioning. But the press fell all over themselves about the new L71 435-hp engine. This replaced the 1966 L72 427 as the top street engine in the lineup. High compression, wild cam, and the tri-carb ensured legendary performance. GM’s concern for reliability meant that automatic transmissions and air conditioning were not available on the L71. At $437.10, the L71 package was expensive, yet 3,754 (16% of Corvette production that year) were ordered.