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HELP with my '68s History

KenT02930

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
20
Location
St Paul, MN
Corvette
1968 Cordavan Maroon Convertible
I need some help finding more history on my ’68 Corvette. It was built the week of December 12th 1967. The trim tag code is E26, date completed December 26, 1967. It is VIN 194678S407601. It’s a white top convertible and #7601 for 1968. (5683 through 7922 were built in December 1967.) The color is paint code 988, Cordovan Maroon, with trim code Std, black vinyl interior. The 427 390 hp engine has T0105 IL 18S410187 on the block pad. (Block Casting 3916321). This was not the original engine, but came from a Corvette built in January 1968 (0105=January 5th to be exact). I’d really like to know more about how this happened, and who was the owner then? The automatic transmission is stamped with 18S407601, a VIN matching number. It has the original (stamped 1AW) 3.08 H.D. positraction rear axle. Interestingly, the heads are #3964291 HiPerf GM6T L270 and E770, which are 1970 454 470 hp heads. Plus the intake manifold is # 3963569, also 1970 454 470 hp. What else was done to upgrade the engine, and who was the owner then? I bought it in September 1999 from James & Donna Hilburn in Shawnee, Kansas. The mileage was 27,382 (could be 127,382, but the original door panels, interior, etc. look in very good condition). He had purchased it in February 1999 from CnV Corvettes in Scottsdale, Arizona. There is no VIN on the Windshield Pillar Post. The state of Kansas put a new VIN tag on the driver’s side door jamb. What happened to the original VIN tag? The whole underside of the car is relatively rust free and in very nice shape, so I don’t think the windshield frame had to be replaced because of rust. There has been some repair work to the left front, so there appears to have been some minor (?) damage at some point. What happened and how serious was the damage, and who was the owner then? Can anyone provide me with any details on the history of my Vette? Where was it purchased? Where did it spend its life? Is it possible that anyone might have any original paper work on my Vette? Did you or a friend of yours own my Vette? Any ideas on where else to search?

Thanks for any help you can provide!!
Ken Houston
St. Paul, Minnesota
KenT02930@comcast.net
 

John Ulrich

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 15, 2000
Messages
134
Location
Eagan, MN, Scottsdale AZ
Corvette
1981 Two Tone Claret, 2014 CRT Roadster
Hi neighbor!
I'd try Google to find an auto title search company that might be able to trace back an older car (Carfax only do 1981 or newer) The VIN tag did not get changed during the previous owners tenure? Seems strange for it to be retitled in Kansas, goes to an Arizonia dealer and resold to someone also from Kansas. They only owned it for 7 months.
Get on the Kanas DMV website and find out how to order a title search and see if a clue surfaces about the retitle.
Good Luck!
JU
 

KenT02930

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
20
Location
St Paul, MN
Corvette
1968 Cordavan Maroon Convertible
Thanks John!

I knew about Carfax and 1981 and newer. Kansas DMV is a great idea. Thanks!
The VIN tag was added by the state of Kansas for the owner that I bought it from. It was only titled in Kansas for him. He lives next door to my parents and couldn't provide me with any more information. I also tried CnV Corvettes (where he bought it), but they said they would help when they had time and that was six years ago. I'll see what Kansas DMV has to say.
Thanks!
Ken
 

John Ulrich

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 15, 2000
Messages
134
Location
Eagan, MN, Scottsdale AZ
Corvette
1981 Two Tone Claret, 2014 CRT Roadster
I would not count on C&V for anything beyond lip service. Why would the neighbor have to get it retitled? It should have come with a clean title from the dealer.
JU
 

KenT02930

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
20
Location
St Paul, MN
Corvette
1968 Cordavan Maroon Convertible
Thanks for your response John! I did give up on CnV. James Hilburn did have a clean title from Arizona where he bought it from CnV. He received a Kansas title when he registered it there (also the Kansas VIN plate on the drivers side door jam, apparently because there wasn't any VIN number on the car.) I received the Kansas title when I bought it and I now have a Minnesota title.
 

6880 Mike

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
2,723
Location
The Bluegrass State
Corvette
1968 convertible; 1980 L-82
...I need some help finding more history on my ’68 Corvette. It was built the week of December 12th 1967. The trim tag code is E26, date completed December 26, 1967. It is VIN 194678S407601....The 427 390 hp engine has T0105 IL 18S41087 on the block pad. (Block Casting 3916321). This was not the original engine, but came from a Corvette built in January 1968 (0105=January 5th to be exact). I’d really like to know more about how this happened, and who was the owner then? ...What else was done to upgrade the engine, and who was the owner then?...There is no VIN on the Windshield Pillar Post. The state of Kansas put a new VIN tag on the driver’s side door jamb. What happened to the original VIN tag?...What happened and how serious was the damage, and who was the owner then? Can anyone provide me with any details on the history of my Vette? Where was it purchased? Where did it spend its life? Is it possible that anyone might have any original paper work on my Vette? Did you or a friend of yours own my Vette? Any ideas on where else to search?

Check the Time/Build date on the trim tag again. E26 indicates January 26th, 1968, not December 12, 1967. Your trim tag should show D, not E. Your VIN 7601 is correct for a December 1967 build and not a January 1968 build.

No VIN tag on the windshield post usually indicates a theft recovery. Your best bet is to check with the Kansas DMV to determine whether they have records for your '68.

The engine stamp has a character missing. There should be six characters following the S, but you already know the block has been replaced.

Your remaining questions can only be answered by information from previous owners or actual documentation accompanying the car. GM has no records for Corvettes as old as your '68.

:)
 

KenT02930

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
20
Location
St Paul, MN
Corvette
1968 Cordavan Maroon Convertible
Thanks Mike! Actually 'E' is December. How I got Dec 12 is from the date stamping on the door panels. One is stamped December 12 and the other December 14. Assembly could have taken place from mid to the end of December. I have put in an inquiry to the DMV of Arizona since that is where the person I bought it from bought it. (No response yet). One of the problems using the DMV is that they expect 18 digit VINs and there were only 13 in 1968. You cought a typo on my part, the block pad is 18S410187. I was told the original purchaser blew the engine upon delivery and GM replaced it with this engine. I don't think they would have pulled an engine off the line to put in my Vette. So... I'm searching for answers and yes, I'd love to get a response from a previous owner or somewone who knew a previous owner.
Thanks again Mike!
Ken
 

6880 Mike

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
2,723
Location
The Bluegrass State
Corvette
1968 convertible; 1980 L-82
Thanks Mike! Actually 'E' is December. How I got Dec 12 is from the date stamping on the door panels. One is stamped December 12 and the other December 14. Assembly could have taken place from mid to the end of December. I have put in an inquiry to the DMV of Arizona since that is where the person I bought it from bought it. (No response yet). One of the problems using the DMV is that they expect 18 digit VINs and there were only 13 in 1968. You cought a typo on my part, the block pad is 18S410187. I was told the original purchaser blew the engine upon delivery and GM replaced it with this engine. I don't think they would have pulled an engine off the line to put in my Vette. So... I'm searching for answers and yes, I'd love to get a response from a previous owner or somewone who knew a previous owner.
Thanks again Mike!
Ken

The Corvette Blackbook shows September as the first month of '68 production. If that's true, that would make December month D and January month E. BUT, seems to me there were some '68s produced in August '67. Even if they were pilot line models, that would make August the first month of production.

Can't go by the dates on the door panels. They were manufactured and shipped to St. Louis before your car was assembled. Best guide is the time/build date on the trim tag. The date was stamped on the calendar day the car passed that station on the assembly line. This was on the Trim Line before the windshield was installed and before body drop. Paint and interior trim codes and the time/build were stamped and the tag was attached to the door post. VIN tag was attached to the windshield post at the same point on the assembly line. Depending upon how the line was running, the car would have needed another day to day and a half to have been completed.

I agree it would not have been likely for a dealer to replace an engine with another Corvette engine. Dealers got CE blocks as warranty replacements. Your engine almost certainly went into #410187 in January '68. The question becomes: What happened to #410187 since her engine ended up in your car?

Prevoius owners are your best potential source of information.

I don't advocate taking the car apart, but, in addition to tank sitckers, copies of build sheets have been found tucked in the wiring behind the speedo/tach, tucked in the wiring behind the center cluster, behind either kick panel, tucked in the springs beneath a seat, slipped behind a door panel, behind seat backs, and beneath the carpet in the rear storage area. If you happen to be nosing around in any of these places, keep an eye out for a piece of 40 years old paper!

Good luck with the hunt.
:)
 

KenT02930

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
20
Location
St Paul, MN
Corvette
1968 Cordavan Maroon Convertible
Thanks again Mike! I was using the Vette Vues Fact Book for 1968-1972 as a source. On page 276, they have listed August as the 1st month 'A' and December as 'E' for years 1968, 1969, 1971, and 1972. 1970 was different, short year Jan - Aug, while 1969 was made all the way through Dec, 1969. I also have Corvette Restoration Guide which confirms same on page 247. That also confirms that the last Serial # for Sept 1967 was 400905 without any data on Aug like the Corvette Black Book.
Thanks for the advice on build sheets, etc.!! I'll keep an eye out for them.
Ken
 

KenT02930

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
20
Location
St Paul, MN
Corvette
1968 Cordavan Maroon Convertible
Thanks JohnZ!! I was pretty confident that it was December. My '68 has the early drivers side mirror (far forward) as well. I think this was moved back farther on the door in January 1968. I have done quite a bit of reseach in various Corvette books, Assembly Manual, Restoration Guides, but I really need someone who has experience with my particular Corvette to come forward.
Thanks!
Ken
 

6880 Mike

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
2,723
Location
The Bluegrass State
Corvette
1968 convertible; 1980 L-82
KenT: You are correct. E is December and that means there had to be August production. I must have had a Senior Moment since my '68 convertible is coded I20 for April 20th, 1968. If I had eaten my Wheaties like a good boy, it would have occurred to me that all I had to do was back up from April.

There's an error in The Corvette Black Book.

I'd still love to know the story behind the January engine in your December '68. If you're able to determine what happened, let us know.

:w
 

KenT02930

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
20
Location
St Paul, MN
Corvette
1968 Cordavan Maroon Convertible
That's OK Mike. The books are confusing since the Black Book and the Corvette Restoration Guide don't list the final serial number for August and start with September. Since December started with 05683 and ended with 07922, mine was made toward the end of December - 07601. The average would be 112 per day - That seems to come out to December 28 or so. My dad retired from GM in Kansas City. I remember taking tours and seeing them make interior components like door panels in the plant (back in the old days). I don't know for sure if the St. Louis Corvette plant did this in 1968 or not. Today's manufacturing has changed a whole lot!!!
Yes, I'm very interested in finding out what happened to cause the change in engines so early in the cycle. I will post the findings! I still haven't heard anything from the Arizona DMV. Maybe I will start a search with Kansas as well.
Thanks for your advise and help!
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2002
Messages
7,246
Location
Washington, Michigan
Corvette
'67 Marina Blue Convertible
Forget the "Black Book" - it's a useful general reference, but has very little detail. If you really want to determine how your car was configured originally, get the NCRS '68-'69 Corvette Technical Information Manual & Judging Guide from the on-line store at www.ncrs.org - 100 or so pages of descriptive information on every part in the car, with VIN ranges for many of the hundreds of running changes that took place during 1968 production. :)
 

KenT02930

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
20
Location
St Paul, MN
Corvette
1968 Cordavan Maroon Convertible
Thanks again John! I know I'll never have my car NCRS judged (its not numbers matching in many ways), but the manual sounds very interesting.
 

wallyknoch

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2002
Messages
457
Location
Dearborn
Corvette
One owner unrestored Black 1962 FI Corvette
You have some questions, now so do I. Probably not too important but I do not believe the 70 454 heads would not be a up grade on a 390/427. The lower compression of the 1968/390 engine mated to 70 open chamber heads would further reduce the compression. Does that sound correct? Also what Vette BB carried a 470HP rating as I thought I was aware of all of them?
 

KenT02930

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
20
Location
St Paul, MN
Corvette
1968 Cordavan Maroon Convertible
Beautiful '62 Wally! Thanks for your reply and questions. I was using the Vette Vues Fact Book '68-'72 for the data on various casting numbers. On page 272 they list Head casting 3964291 (mine) as 1970 470hp. I think they must be LS6 or 7 heads. These were dealer option only (I think). I'll attach a picture. The intake is listed on pg 274 they list Intake Manifold casting 3963569 (mine) as 1970 460hp. Inconsistant. So I don't really know. It has a 750 Holley for a carb.
You are correct. My guess is there must have been some additional engine work on my originally 390hp engine to make this work. I sure would like to know more to better understand what was done and by whom.
Thanks again!

Sorry my attachment was too big to attach.
 

wallyknoch

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2002
Messages
457
Location
Dearborn
Corvette
One owner unrestored Black 1962 FI Corvette
Thanks Ken,

I also have a 68 and that prompted my questions :D
 

KenT02930

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
20
Location
St Paul, MN
Corvette
1968 Cordavan Maroon Convertible
JohnZ Just got the NCRS Tech Manual in the mail today. You are correct. It is great! Thanks!!!
 

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