Corvette – Paint it White or Black?

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I wanted to ask your advice on some things but I’ll mention that in a moment. I have the body over at Loran’s to do the body work and painting. BUT I am also transferring the frame over to Loran’s as well.   I was lucky that Loran was between some jobs and could take on the whole car. This weekend I’m heading over to Michigan to a place call corvette of Michigan, to look at some used parts. My original frame is in my opinion in very rough shape, so I’m looking into getting a good used southern frame.

I also need to replace the rocker channels because they are totally rusted. Fortunately, the window and door frame is in near perfect condition. I saw a frame that Loran is restoring and it looks brand new. He certainly does some outstanding work.  Re color…..The car you may remember was black, but the door tag says it was originally white. Now I love black, but I know from a NCRS point of view I need to restore the color to factory white. As you know the paint cost is high, so I want to do it the right way. I have asked many about this dilemma, almost every one tells me the same thing, and I quote, “its your car to enjoy so paint it what you want, however for full marks in judging the car it has to be white”. What I have not gotten from anyone is, if I was showing the car in NCRS judging competition, how many points do you lose for wrong color. If the car is perfect in every other way, does color drop the car out of a top class?? See, I do not want to destroy the $$$ vale of the car in the event I sell it in the future because of color. A NCRS guy in Florida, tells me that although my possibly black painted car would not be “original” in NCRS standards, people buy on likes, beauty, and condition. Case in point was your LT1. Sam did not want a yellow car. But he could hardly pass up the opportunity to purchase a “pristine” car, so he bought it. He did not buy it because it was NCRS restored. The Florida guy says that there are many many novice buyers that have little or no clue of NCRS. Dan said that the wrong color in a resale to a NCRS buyer could drop the value by $5000. What you take on all this??

Also, I’ve search the net for a photo on a white 69. Most pictures are single shots and do not give me a real good idea of a white car. From your experience, do most people that see these cars a show or wherever, stop to gaze at a white or black car?? I know these are personal views, but I’m interested in knowing how you would think…..Please let me know……Regards.


As I am sure you have heard many times at Loran’s, do it once, and do it right, because if you don’t pay now, you sure as hell will pay later!

Good luck finding a new frame, sounds like you’re in the major leagues now. Don’t forget to check your trailing arms, dog legs and windshield pillar and header bars. If you do get a new frame, have it dipped and galvanized etc.  Also, do all the lines (brakes, fuel) in stainless. Get the latest catalogue from Paragon Reproductions You must also consult the NCRS judging manual for 1968-1973 Corvettes. Ask Loran, I think he still has my copy in his shop, or buy your own. It is an extremely valuable aid in doing a thorough restoration. Every finish of every component is carefully described.

Regarding the issue of you car’s body colour, it is a personal choice, and I do support the notion that it is your car and you should do as you wish with it. However, there are a few considerations when making such a choice.

When we first saw our ’71 when we bought it in 1993, it was black. Then we had it painted silver by the guy who sold it to us. Finally Loran painted it yellow as you see it today.

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As you mentioned about Sam and the yellow ’71, I sure did not ever imagine I would be driving a yellow car ever in my life. Once it was done and I saw how great it looked, I was sold. It is difficult to determine what you should do while the car is unfinished, and you are uncertain as to how it will eventually look. However one thing I learned doing my ’71 is that WHATEVER colour Loran does it in, it will be outstanding. As with my yellow, a colour that I never thought I could ever like, once I saw the job that he did, it changed my mind about yellow. I am still not crazy about yellow cars, but Loran’s yellow is an exception.

I have owned three white cars. I think white is a very opulent, classic and wealthy looking colour. Fine yachts are always white. My “first” car was our
family’s white 1969 Mustang convertible. We got it in 1973 and sold it in 1986, and it only had 60,000 original miles on it, no winters, mint condition. With it’s contrasting black interior and roof, it was a real head turner, even though it only had a straight 6 cylinder, 250 motor. I was hired to I drive it in numerous parades for Markham Hydro, and carried our three hydro commissioners on the back deck. I owned a white 1991 JEEP CJ that I drove two years. It was the vehicle that I chose for my company car when I used to manage shopping centres (in my other life). I currently drive a white 1993 Eagle talon AWD turbo on a daily basis. I have seen several white ’68 – ’73 ‘s Corvettes, and I know of one, perhaps two, in CCO. They are an unusual colour, like my yellow was, and are therefore more noticed and stand out in a crowd of red’s and silver’s.

It is you car to enjoy now, however resale value should be a factor you consider. Unless you are going for a mild custom, you should be prepared to paint the car in the stock colour or you will lose value on resale. This may not seem like an issue today, but who is to say five or ten years from now when some sexy ’65 roadster suddenly turns your head, and you, like me, feel it’s time for a change. It will happen, since in our hobby, nobody owns the same car forever.

NCRS is an issue, since people that purchase Corvettes seem to use originality as an established universal bench mark for determining the quality of a restoration or of a car in general. Even though NCRS was never meant to be that, it has created a standard by which cars can be evaluated against one another, at least in the minds of onlookers and potential purchasers. Believe me, when your car is done, and if you ever try to sell it, the amount of money it will be worth will be pretty steep for any “novice” buyers.

NCRS is also not an absolute. The local NCRS chapter guys actively and specifically pursued me to join their association simply because they were very impressed with my ’71, and wanted to show it off as a quality Canadian car. They accepted the fact that it was restored to concourse condition, and effectively over restored. However what Loran did was to simply improve on the quality and fit and finish of what was there, without actually altering anything significant (such as colour) on my car. Even though I knew my ’71 would probably never do better that a 75% score or a Second Flight, it did not matter to the NCRS guys, they all liked it any way. The ’71 appeared original, and it looked fantastic. I also always beat any NCRS car that I went up against in concourse showing events.

Having a car in it’s original factory colour is like having the final word in every argument. Whether you or any one who looks at your car likes or dislikes its colour, the fact that it’s “factory” always settles the issue. Your personal taste is never in question. It’s the safest way to go, and for my opinion, I think white is a great colour. Also, since Loran is doing it, I know it will look fantastic.

Keep in touch

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LT-1 admin

Corvette enthusiast

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