During the Corvette's third generation, more and more Vettes rolled out of St. Louis Assembly built for comfortable touring and cruising, instead of pavement-ripping performance.
This '71 is one of them--a 60,000-mile shark that's so original, you'd swear these pictures were taken more than 40 years ago. "It's a Survivor car that's unrestored, with all the paperwork," says current owner Chris Mazzilli. "I've been all over that car, and it's a really unbelievable original."
You may remember Mazzilli from the red-on-red 427/390 '69 Stingray convertible that graced Corvette Fever's pages back in June 2010. He still has that one, plus a pair of 454-powered '74s, but this one gets lots of attention when he shows it. It's earned Regional and National NCRS Top Flight honors, along with the NCRS' 5 Star Bowtie Award for originality.
It was during a search for parts for his LS4-powered '74 coupe that he found this LS5 '71, listed for sale on eBay by its second owner, Dennis Mowers. "He was very particular who he wanted the car to go to--to someone who wouldn't restore it," Mazzilli recalls. "He actually turned down some offers for it because people told him they were going to paint the car."
Yes, that's the original Mille Miglia Red acrylic lacquer that was sprayed on in St. Louis. One thing the car doesn't have, however, drew the judges' attention when Mazzilli began showing it. "In '70, there was a clip under the windshield on the driver side, where they'd run wires. In '71 they did away with the clip, but what they did was fill the hole there with some kind of goop [sealer] to fill over it. This car never got that--the hole is still there. I had a couple of the top NCRS National judges go over the car, and they said that they'd never seen that before."
1 Optioned with the LS5 454, M40 Turbo 400, and 3.08 rear gears, Chris Mazzilli's '71 Sti
2 Original Mille Miglia Red acrylic enamel still graces this shark's body. The second own
3 The cabin contains the same dash, steering column and wheel, carpets, console, and seat
Also getting attention from the judges: the C3's underside. "Because it was a Texas car, the underside is so clean it's amazing," says Mazzilli. "To get a car like that, and get a National Top Flight--it's very hard with a Survivor car." This '71 had moved to Texas when its original owner, Dave Friedman--who'd been the parts manager at Hajek Chevrolet in Longmont, Colorado--relocated there in the early '70s.
One day, while cleaning under the seats, Mazzilli discovered a piece of paper with Friedman's name and address on it. "I sent a letter saying that I'd recently purchased the car," says Mazzilli. "I got a very nice email back from Irie Friedman, the wife of the man who'd owned the car." In it, she said how "Big Red" had been Dave's pride and joy until his passing in 2005.
In all, Mazzilli's '71 is a time capsule back to the fourth year of the third-generation Corvette, one that he says NCRS judges have used as a judging standard. What's it like to drive, whenever he does take it out? "It's a neat piece that runs very, very well," says Mazzilli. "There are no issues with it--I just get in and drive it."
His advice for anyone seeking a Corvette as a show car or weekend driver? "Get what you want, and don't settle for less. Take your time, and pick out the right car.
"Anybody can restore a car, but to find something original, with its original paint, is really something."
4 P02 deluxe wheel covers PU9 white-letter tires = The rolling stock this '71's always
5 The 365hp 454 in the engine bay is all original, down to the "Keep your GM car all GM"
- Chris Mazzilli; New York, NY
- Stock LS5 cast-iron ("CPH" suffix on casting number)
- Stock Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel (PN 7041205)
- Stock GM-Rochester mechanical
- Stock GM-Delco points-style with Delco distributor (PN 1112051)
- Stock with cast-iron manifolds and OEM mufflers
- Stock RPO M40 three-speed automatic
- Stock coil springs, tubular Delco shocks, unequal-length A-arms, and stabilizer bar
- (front); stock steel leaf-spring bundle with tubular Delco shocks (rear)
- Stock four-wheel discs with RPO J50 power assist
- Stock 15x8-in steel Rally with RPO P02 full wheel covers
- NOS Goodyear Polyglas F70-14 RWL biasply (RPO PU9)