My family moved to south Florida in 1963 from South Carolina. On a routine Saturday morning ride to the store I saw my first Corvette Sting Ray coupe. As the car passed by I leaned way out the window in utter amazement at the site before my eyes. My mom panicked as she thought I was about to fall out of the car. I begged my dad for two weeks to please take me to Roger Dean Chevrolet in West Palm Beach to see one up close. After doing extra chores around the house and yard he finally said yes. Believe me, he made me work for it.
There were two Sting Rays in the showroom and I was star struck. My dad asked the salesman if I could sit in the car and he said yes. WOW! I thought I was in a fighter jet. Granted I could not see out the windshield, but I thought I was in heaven. I told my dad that one day I was going to own one of these. He laughed and said that these cars are very expensive. I told him I would work hard to get one.
In my high school years I built several cars. A 57 Belair that was a total rust bucket. So I learned body work and paint. Then a 66 Nova as so on. I never got over that Sting ray though. It was always an unaffordable dream for me. Then one day in 2007 I was sitting in one of customer's break room having a danish and coffee with the owner of the company He mentioned he was selling the business and moving out of south Florida. He knew what a motor head and NASCAR fan. During the conversation he said "I have an old Chevy that I'm going to sell." I asked "What year is it?" He said a 67. I thought wow maybe a Camaro or Malibu. When Mike said it's a Corvette, my heart sank. I knew how much they are worth and I knew it was out of my range financially at the time. He asked me "How about if I sell it to you for what I have in it?" Of course the next question was how much? When he said $25,000.00 I was blown away. I told him that I didn't have that in the bank. He said I'll hold the note on the car for a year with no interest. NOW,I AM TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY! My only problem is how am I going to get the wife to agree. We drove out to his home and there it was. All original with 68,000 miles on the odometer. The interior was a mess and the paint wasn't the best in the world but it was just beautiful. My wife looked at me and said, "We have to have this car" and we did.
We drove it around town and being in the shape it was in, it left us on the side of the rode more than once. After an electrical short I finally realized that we had to park it and save money for a restoration. In 2010 we started taking the car apart and bagging parts, taking photos, and cataloging everything. When I say we, I mean that she came into the garage in her work shorts a bikini top wearing a pair of "mechanics wear" gloves and said, "What first?' I am a very lucky guy to have this lady as my wife. "
In January 2011 we put it back on the road after a full frame off restoration. I will not let her tell me how much we spent. I just don't care to know. It's Goodwood Green with green vinyl interior and factory hardtop. Numbers matching 327/300HP, power windows, power brakes, power steering and AC. We call it "Marvin" after Marvin the Martian. She even found a Marvin decal for the front plate.
We are members of the Sting Rays of South Florida and the club was very helpful in our restoration.
It's a joy to drive and own. My dad passed before the resto was complete but at least I got to take him for ride one time before we took it apart.
My best to you McKeel and I know how you must miss him.