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The Legendary L88


Well-known member
Aug 1, 2001
2003 Z06
Okay, so I was doing some reading on the 1968 Vette's and think that I might have to pick one of those up. I mean, just look at the engine choices you have from that year alone!

And then I got to the L88 part and saw that only 80 of them were made and that GM rated it at "only" 430 HP while it was in reality closer to 600 HP. Does anyone know how many of the L88's still exist today?

If they put out such a massively powered engine for that year, why didn't they keep doing it? Reading that kind of made me think that the Z06's 405HP is childs play compared to the L88.
Does anyone know how many are left

There are roughly 2 to 3 times as many left than they actually made.

Of course I'm just kidding, but you have to be very careful about desirable cars.

I'd guess that there's probably about 50-60 of the 80 left in one condition or another. That's just a guess though.

As far as the hp, you have to remember that the L88's were underrated and rated gross. While todays motors are rated net.
I'd bet the 2 motors would dyno pretty close. Plus the ZO6 can handle the power better.
But the L88 sure sounds hotter!!

Of the 80 L88's that were produced in 1968 there are probably only 120 fully documented ones left. :) And no telling how many undocumented ones out there.

I also noticed the 12.5:1 compression ratio and was like "wow!"

How much power difference is there between the gross and net. Don't you lose something like 10-15%?

I think these are the reasons why GM should have a 427 motor option. Bring back the big block Vette's!
I read that net is somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of gross,

I think the 50th anniversary should come with a built 502.

I drove a friends 435 hp 68, WOW what a rush. As I was getting back into mine I just kept telling him " thats a vette"
They should all have had big blocks.

I'll have to be happy with my little red corvette.


I seriously think it should be an option. I mean, look at all the options they have with colors and interior thingies! Right now, if you want the more powerful LS6, you're forced to stick with the FRC. I mean, what if someone wants a LS6 convertible?

Give people more options and you'll sell more cars. Didn't they have 5 or 6 engine choices for the 68's?

I think that when you match or exceed HP vs. cubic inches, you have a fine engine.

If the 50th Anniversary were to come with a 502, wouldn't they have to redesign the body to handle the space and weight?
BullWinkle said:
Right now, if you want the more powerful LS6, you're forced to stick with the FRC. I mean, what if someone wants a LS6 convertible?

Give people more options and you'll sell more cars. Didn't they have 5 or 6 engine choices for the 68's?

I really don't think Chevy wants to sell more. Every Vette they build is spoken for before it starts down the line. Any more they would have to expand. It also keeps it more exclusive.

In 68 and 69 there were 5 optional engines plus the base engine for a total of 6. Plus you could the the optional aluminum heads (RPO L89) on the L71, so it reality you had a grand total of 7 engines.

I would love to see optional engines on the new Vettes. To me what makes a Vette a Collector is the optional engines.

Reality Bites

I must say that the legend of engine options like the L88 is much less spectacular in real life than in print. What I mean by that is the L88 was an all out race engine. Solid lifters, etc. etc.

This was not the Saturday night cruise machine, Sunday afternoon picnic, and daily driver power train. These high performance engines had regular issues for tuning, fouling plugs, overheating, noise, and leaks, etc.

These engines were built for wide open throttle on a race track.

Today, we are so use to having high output cars that get 25 mpg and can go 100,000 miles before the first tune up. Back then you were lucky to get 10 mpg, and go more than two oil changes without adjusting the carb, and adjusting the points.

So, while I agree with you and enjoy reading and hearing stories of the mighty engine mills of the past, I have to remind myself that legend is always greater than real life.

My Dad was a rep with Chevrolet back then. He has told story after story of the troubles they had with the high output cars and unhappy owners. Espeically with the tripple carbs and the non L88 vettes, and issues with the early 70's 454s.
slow down there partner......

Agree there was many problems with the "special" engines, but the thought of sooooo many choices.

But then again that was before Gov. and Ins.kicked in.

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