A ‘71 Corvette Stingray LS6 in France Is an Unexpected Surprise
The Corvette was originally conceived as America’s answer to European sports cars like Jaguar, Porsche and Ferrari. But while the Europeans were obsessed with low weight, balanced handling and free-revving engines to win races, the American approach was much simpler: no replacement for displacement.
Nowhere is this mantra more evident than on the third-generation Corvette, or C3. Introduced in 1968 and running through 1982, the C3 hosted a number of small-block and big-block V8s over the course of its long run. The undisputed king, however, was the 7.4-liter LS6, with its 454-cubic-inch wielding as much as 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque officially. Unofficially, rumors are the monster engine was underrated, producing closer to 500 hp in reality.
The owner of this 1971 Corvette Stingray coupe, Sylvain Pottier, is a French automotive designer who loves American cars. He purchased this Stingray car in Texas and had it shipped to France, where he restored it over the course of two years. This car is a magnificent example of the asphalt-twisting 454 in its final year in LS6 specification. The 7.4-liter would live on in LS5 tune until 1974, an eventual casualty of emissions rules and a fuel crisis. But power would never again be as plentiful, tumbling to as low as 270 horses by the time it retired.
In spectacular Le Mans Blue, Pottier’s Stingray is a time capsule, perfectly depicting the priorities of America’s sports car in the early ‘70s, complete with automatic transmission and T-top roof. Other sports cars may have been more graceful, but none was more brutal than the Corvette LS6.
Photography by Laurent Nivalle for Petrolicious