35 years couldn’t shake off my C3 obsession

DeRosa Corvette side profile
Courtesy Michael DeRosa

I grew up in the 1960s and ’70s. My dad was into cars, and he owned some interesting ones, all of them American (though the Europeans did come later). In 1976, when I was 15, he bought his first midlife-crisis car, a 1972 Corvette convertible with a 350 and a four-speed. I was smitten with the Elkhart Green Stingray. I always liked cars, but I was too young to appreciate the muscle car era, so this was the closest thing to it I’d ever seen.

I knew how to drive before I had my license, and I used to take the Corvette out and drive it around the neighborhood when Dad was at work. Ever the good son, I polished it once a month. Later, when I was in high school, he let me drive it regularly. Unfortunately, I was a typical teenager, and I had my share of mishaps with it: I once had to put three people in the car with me, which meant some girl had to sit on the console and it cracked. Sorry, Dad.

Father DeRosa Corvette
Courtesy Michael DeRosa

A few years later, while I was away at college, Dad sold the car, which broke my heart—especially when I had to see it later on a used-car lot. I was determined to get that car back someday.

Now, 35-plus years later, with my own kids grown and gone, it was time to look for a classic C3 Corvette. I wasn’t set on locating the same car, just something similar and in good shape. Lo and behold, I found almost the exact one that Dad had. It was local, and the price was reasonable. So, here I am, and it’s 1976 all over again. The smells, the sounds—everything about this Corvette transports me back to high school, when life was simpler. Better still, my son (a fellow car geek) loves it, as well. This Corvette will never leave the family.

Michael DeRosa Corvette
Michael DeRosa is a kid again with his Elkhart Green Corvette. The handsome Stingray is a near-copy of the one his dad had back in 1976. Courtesy Michael DeRosa
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