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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tank Sticker: The Holy Grail of Corvette Documentation

So I have a 45 year-old Stingray in my garage, purchased from the original California owner, with original paint, original engine, and even the original California license tags.  The Trim Tag next to the VIN tag confirms the build date (May 12, 1967) and the original paint and interior colors.  Heck, I even know the original owner because he lives down the street.  In Corvette restoration circles, however, all these "facts" are insufficient documentation to prove the authenticity of a car, primarily because some greedy people are creating fake cars with rare options and selling them to unsuspecting customers.

Beginning in 1967, GM used a computer-printed "build sheet" during assembly to indicate all the options of a car.  Somewhere just before the car rolled off the assembly line the build sheet was stuck on the upper surface of the gas tank, then the tank was bolted into the car.  The sheets have also become known as "tank stickers" If a restorer can secure the tank sticker he has absolute irrefutable proof of the originality and options of his vehicle.

Since my 67 Corvette was optioned with the very collectible L71 427-435 engine, it is really important to me to prove it, and the best proof is to secure the tank sticker.

A few nights ago I removed the gas cap and the rubber gasket between the filler tube and the body.  With a small flashlight I could peer into the gap to see the top of the gas tank, and sure enough, I could see what I thought was a tank sticker.  I couldn't be sure, though because of the accumulation of dirt.

On Sunday, Danny Schrokosch came to my garage on his Harley to execute our newest mission:  get the tank sticker!




We removed the spare tire well, the rear cross member, both mufflers and the filler tube.  Then we gently dropped the tank out of the car and onto the garage floor.  Yep, what I saw through the filler opening was in fact the original tank sticker.  The paper was thin, covered in 45 years of dirt, and very fragile.

Danny very gently brushed away the dirt revealing the original print out.  The 67 only came with eight options and each one was clearly spelled out on the form.  If you have never seen a tank sticker, here is what they look like!

We knew from the start that this car was all about racing.  Many options commonly found on a 67 Stingray were not ordered:  power brakes, power steering, power windows, air conditioning, and other amenities.  Instead this car had eight options:


Regular Production Options
Code Option
A01 Tinted Glass, all windows
F41 Special Performance, front and rear suspension
G81 Differential carrier, positraction
K19 Air Injection Reactor (Smog pump)
K66 Transistor Ignition Equipment
L71 Special High Performance, tri-carburetor
M21 4-Speed transmission, close ratio
U69 Radio, AM/FM Push button

And, to our joy, everything the tank sticker says the car should have on it, it does!  We found the Holy Grail for this unique car.

Now the question is, "What do we do with it?"  Danny thinks we should just drive it!



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