A Transition Year
BY: Bob Kroupa of Vette-N-Vestments
The 1973 Corvette is a unique model that provided the traditional rear end treatment introduced in 1968, and a new front which would be carried through the 1977 model. The changed front end was also functional as it met the federal government's 5 MPH front impact protection regulation. Another safety addition was the steel reinforcement beams in the doors to protect the passengers against side impact intrusion.
This was also the first year for the use of radial tires over the previously used bias-belted tires. However this change, directed at improving the handling qualities of the Corvette, was questionable with the early radial tires.
The original pricing of the 1973 Corvette reflects minimal increases over the 1972 model. The T-Top reflected a $29 increase in the list price of $5,562. In today's market, the average price of a 1973 T-Top is at $8,600, reflecting a 4% decrease over last year. The current price is approximately $2,800 less than the early T-Tops (1968) are currently selling. Our database for the 1973 Corvette reflects a high price of $13,000 and a low price of $5,000.
Auction results substantiate our average pricing, however, few appear at auctions. Only two T-Tops crossed the auction block at last year's Bloomington Gold Auction. There was a restored one with the L-48 motor which bid $13,000, and one in average condition with a 454 motor which also bid $13,000. Neither one sold at the bid price.
The 1973 Convertible was also priced right at a base list price of $5,399. This was a $103 increase over the 1972 convertible for a 2% increase. The popularity of the convertible is definitely reflected in today's average price of $14,600, up 4% over last year. The high price was at $22,500 and the low was at $10,800.
As with the Coupe, few 1973 convertibles are offered for sale today. At last year's Bloomington Gold Auction and the Carlisle Auction, none were offered for sale. A contributing factor may be the low production number of only 5024 units, which was 1565 less than the 1972 model year, and the lowest number produced for a convertible since 1956.
The performance of the 1973 continued to be respectable with three motors options available. The base L-48, the optional 250 hp L-82 at $299 and the 270 hp 454 at $250. The quarter mile speed was 95 mph with the optional motors, and 0-60 time was in the 6.5 second range.
Numerous options were available for the 1973 Corvette. Probably the most controversial was the new cast aluminum optional wheels. Rumor has it that 800 were produced and a recall was placed due to structural problems. Some originals may still be available in the market and they are considered to be a rare option.
Most buyers were satisfied with the base engine, however, 19% ordered the L-82 and 15% ordered the LS-4 454 motor option. The automatic transmission was gaining popularity as evidenced by only 12% of the buyers ordering a close-ratio 4 speed transmission which was a "no charge" item.
We classified the air conditioning option at $452 in the comfort and convenience category. It was ordered by 71% of the buyers and was considered expensive at that time.
The rarest option of the year was the off- road suspension and brake package which was listed for $369. This was ordered by less than 50 buyers. White wall tires were still a popular option and ordered by 65% of the buyers as opposed to the raised white letter tires which were selected by only 15% of the people.
Our call for the future? We look for 1-3% appreciation for the T-Top and 5% for the convertible.
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