My introduction to muscle cars was in 1974 at the age of 7. My oldest brother of 3 was in college and saved his money to buy a new car. With my father a General Motors employee, my brother wanted to get his discount on a corvette. Not just any corvette, but a 454 big block 4-speed blue coupe. They ordered it, and months later I was playing in the front yard and my brother came home from work excited telling me, “dad should be bringing home my new corvette today”. So I sat on the porch and waited. Sure enough, my dad pulls up in this long low rumbling car that looked nothing like any car we’ve ever had. I was bitten. My brother spent all night giving everyone rides. He put the big chrome side pipes on, change transmissions from close to wide ratios, and did all the tune ups. He kept it for 3 years, and then sold it.
Ever since then that image in the drive way with 454 big block option was burned into my mind. I always wanted to get a corvette when I got older. Well, after college, a 1978 Camaro Z28 sold for an engagement ring, 14 years of marriage, and 2 kids, I got the chance. My wife is from Chicago and my father in law told me about his buddy who has a corvette after hearing me talk about my brothers. He said it too is a 1974 454 big block 4-speed, but brown coupe. He’s had it since 1977 and mostly sits in his garage. This was in 1991. He showed me where his buddies house was, which was only a few blocks away, and one day while running I went by and caught him outside in his garage. I introduced myself and he showed me the car, but he had no interest in selling it. Unfortunately, my father in law passed away in 1996 so I never pursued it again feeling the mutual friendship connection was lost.
Years went by never really forgetting about the car. In December of 2006 I was in Chicago at the in laws for Christmas with my family and was out for a run in the neighborhood. I was near the guy’s house with the corvette, so I went by. No one was home, so I memorized his address, looked it up on the internet, and his phone number came up. I called, no answer, so I left a message asking if he still had the car. Two weeks go by and I get a call on my cell phone, and it’s him. He proceeds to tell me he kind of forgot about the car in the last few years and the state keeps bugging him about renewing the registration. He then says, “maybe it’s time to sell it”. After a half a dozen phone calls over a 2 month period, I’m sending him a cashier’s check (for about half of what I thought I would need to pay), and he’s sending me the title. We wait until spring to trailer it back home to Detroit just in time for my March 40th birthday. It’s too bad my father in law couldn’t be there with me and his buddy for that day, but I still keep in touch with him and everything I do to the car. He provided a great history of the car having it since 1977. A true story for a true Childhood Dream.