This low-miles 1972 Corvette is a Canadian time capsule
Before David Hallman finally managed to buy the car under the tarp, it had been squirreled away in storage for more than four decades. Actually, the squirrels nesting behind the seats didn’t live there that long. But the last time the 1972 Chevrolet Corvette was driving on the road, Richard Nixon was still denying his involvement in the Watergate scandal, NASA launched Skylab, and Tony Orlando and Dawn topped the Billboard charts with “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.”
It’s no wonder Hallman calls the Corvette (voted Hagerty’s Classic Car of the Month) a time capsule. With only 3749 miles on the odometer, it may be the lowest-mileage, all-stock 1972 Corvette coupe in the world—certainly in all of Canada. That’s right, America’s sports car is making some noise north of the border in Ottawa, Ontario, the only place it has called home.
Hallman, a longtime muscle car enthusiast, has been buying and selling Corvettes for years. When he needed some help with his 1968 Corvette, a friend suggested he try Aztek Auto. Hallman discovered that the owner, Ernie Finateri, was “an old Corvette guy I used to race in the 1960s and ’70s. He fixed the ’68 and we got to be friendly. He told me he had his own collection of vehicles.”
That collection included a nearly-new Elkhart Green 1972 T-top coupe that Finateri purchased after it had been repossessed by the bank in 1973. The Corvette had been in storage since, up on a lift and covered by a tarp. As soon Hallman he saw it, he knew he had to have it. “It isn’t for sale,” Finateri replied. That was the beginning of Hallman’s four-year pursuit to bring the Corvette home. When Finateri retired two years ago, he finally relented—as long as Hallman agreed to a package deal and bought a 1995 Corvette as well.
They struck a deal and the two shook hands. Another Corvette enthusiast heard about the car and offered Finateri more money, but he kept his word and Hallman claimed his prize. As the new owner began washing away years of dust and grime, he quickly realized the wait was worth it. “It was an amazing sight to see the gleam of the paint after it had been parked since 1973,” Hallman says. “I knew it was in good condition, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice it was.”
The Corvette is powered by a 200-hp, 350-cubic-inch small-block V-8, mated to an automatic transmission. The engine still wears its original stickers.
“We changed all the fluids, put in clean gas and a new battery, and it started right up and ran very well,” Hallman says. “We blew the mufflers out, which had rusted, but it was amazing at how well it ran. Just like the barn-find stories you hear about.”
A member of the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS), Hallman plans to have the car judged as a survivor. It has its original shocks and springs, original bias-ply tires up front, and the snow tires in back were put on the car in ’72. The original spare rides in the trunk.
The Corvette also features power steering, power disc brakes, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and removable back window. The clock, gauges, and cigarette lighter all work. Hallman removed the squirrels’ nest and had the interior steam cleaned, and it looks like new. Fittingly, the windshield has been “time stamped”—it carries a 1972 Canada National Parks/Parcs Nationaux sticker.
Hallman and his wife, Claude, have a son, Taylor, and a daughter, Catherine. “Neither of the kids are interested in vintage cars at the moment,” Hallman laments. “Hopefully that may change.”
In the meantime, the Corvette is staying right where it is. “I plan on keeping it and giving it the home it deserves,” he says.
Editor’s note: Hagerty’s Classic of the Month begins with a simple conversation. A member calls Hagerty and shares their story with a licensed agent. Those stories are collected, and a committee chooses a weekly winner. The four weekly winners are shared with the entire company, and employees vote to determine the Classic of the Month. At the end of the year, there is another vote to decide Hagerty’s Classic of the Year. Congratulations to Canada Licensed Sales Agent Sue Anderson, who shared the story of this month’s winner.