Chevrolet listed the curb weight of a "base" small-block 1969 Corvette coupe as 3,245 pounds. When Harry Rieger of Orange, California, bought this 427/four-speed coupe from the original owner, Joe Combee, in 1987, in addition to the extra poundage of the big-block he had to add at least 10 pounds for all of the documentation that was included with the car. The unmolested Riverside Gold (code 980) beauty came "fully equipped" with the original window sticker, the sales contract, registration slips for each year the car existed, and the original pink slip (title). The fact that this thoroughly-documented Vette was fully restored at 70,000 miles, and now has only 3,000 more, makes this a gold piece to be treasured.

In 1969, innovative, powerful, and outrageous were definitely in style. Good examples are that we went to the moon, and had Woodstock. Another example is that more Corvettes were sold in 1969 with the four optional 427 engines (a total of 15,831, including 116 L88s and 390 L89s) than with the standard 300hp 350-cubic-inch version. (Of the 22,931 small-blocks sold in '69, 12,846 were the optional 350hp L46.) It was also the last year that 427 engines were offered in Vettes. In keeping with the excesses of that era, the option list was longer than it had ever been, or would be again. Rieger's gold classic is fairly conservative by the standards of that time as it only (!) has the 390hp engine, a powerplant that would be the envy of many of us who would later own mid-'70s Vettes. Even today, this four-speed-shifted big-block is no wallflower at the stoplight.

The restoration of this car involved refurbishing every piece, no matter how small. The entire process was recorded and the car has since been used extensively for reference restoration guidebook for '68 and '69 models. When this car's restoration was completed, it became a textbook example that other restorers could hold a mirror up to to compare their work. No Corvettes of that era were close to perfect when they rolled off the old St. Louis assembly line, nor should they be if correctly restored to as-built condition. This '69 coupe shows what one should look like in every respect when authenticity is the goal.