It started back in the spring of 1997 when I told my wife that for my 40th birthday, I wanted a 1957 Corvette (my birth year). When my birthday came in May, I came downstairs to the kitchen and said well where's my car (joking)? She said - go look in the garage. My jaw dropped! I immediately ran to the garage and to my amazement saw a brand new............set of golf clubs! :(
Although I was happy with the clubs...........it was a far cry from a corvette.
Fast forward three years and a good friend of mind heard that a friend of a friend was selling his 1961 Corvette. He had no knowledge of the vehicle but he hunted down the sellers contact information for me.
When I called the owner - he seemed a bit hesitant on the phone to sell the car......(later it became clear as to why). We agreed to meet on Sunday if I could come out to his house in Rochester - which is a bit of a drive from my home. Now I kept this hush from my wife so I told her we were going for a Sunday ride and then dinner - I said it was a surprise.
She had no idea where we were going - but soon figured out it was less of a surprise "Sunday drive" and more of a car "hunt". However, she patiently agreed to let me "get this out of my system" and then we will go to dinner.
I pulled into a very nice subdivision in Rochester Hills and quickly found the correct address.........I was like a teenager going on a first date! I remember being so nervous when I knocked on the door. It took some time for someone to answer. When the gentleman opened the door he asked if I was the guy interested in his corvette........I couldn't even speak so I just nodded.
He told me to go around to the garage and he would back it out for me.
Now my wife remained in the car and I could see her patience was waning...........because for whatever reason this gentleman was as slow as a turtle.
As the garage door slowly opened.........I remember slowly backing away.
I remember the soft rumble of what I knew was a V-8 engine echoing in the garage.
I don't have the words to describe what I saw when he backed the car out!
It was absolutely Drop Dead gorgeous! Like it was frozen in time. Not a speck of dirt or even dust for that matter. I'm sort of a car neat freak - so take my word!
The gentleman slowly got out and began to tell me the history of this car..........I felt like I was going though the adoption process.
He told me that the car was built on July 5, 1961 and he is the second owner. He had a total body-off restoration, engine rebuild, and all chrome was triple plated! Right now the car has only 800+ miles on it and it has not seen a rainy day.
As I slowly came to my senses I had to ask one simple question.
Why on earth would you want to sell this beauty?
He started to stumble with the words but I think he new I was sincere in my question and he obviously saw in my reaction how much I appreciated the effort/time he spent in getting this beauty back to showroom condition.
He told me that he recently had hip-replacement surgery (this explained why he took so long to open the door), and getting in and out of this car now became more troublesome and hence less fun. I don't know why but I said this but can't you go to physical therapy for help?
I guess I wanted to make sure this guy explored every option before he let this beauty go.
He said he made up his mind and he was selling the car.
He told me he had to be firm on the price because given all that he spent on it he was still going to lose money.
He also gave me the standard line that someone else was coming over later in the afternoon to see it (I'm sure there was so I needed to make a quick decision - so without thinking I blurted out I will take it! I haven't even driven it yet!!!
He said he would honor my word if I dropped a check in the mail to hold it.
Now I can't tell you how much my heart was beating.........not only because I just bought a Corvette but I just realized that my wife is sitting in the car some fifty feet away and she has no idea what I just did.......I began to perspire!
So my brain is working overtime to come up with some convoluted story that she might remotely accept.
So I casually walked over to the passenger side and tapped on the window.
She was on her cell so she turned to me, rolled down the window and said she made reservations at a little diner down the street. I smiled and said BOY that's great!!!!!!
My wife said to me - Am I ready to go? She didn't even ask about the car.
As she rolled the window back up I quickly tapped on it (here is where I became creative)..........
I put on my best "puppy-face" and said "I will do whatever you want for the rest of your life"
At first she looked puzzled - then it became clear what I was talking about.
She rolled the window down - looked at the car, looked at me and said " I thought you were just going to look at it?" I said I did...........now I want to buy it (then I launched into a myriad of reasons as to why this car would make our lives better.........none of which were factually true but sounded pretty good at the moment).
After a couple minutes (which seemed like hours) she gave me the look and asked if this is what I wanted? I acted liked a "middle-school student who just got asked by the prettiest girl to the dance" and said YES.
For whatever reason she gave her approval, came out of the car and decided to meet the owner.
Even my wife who knows nothing about cars..............admitted it was a beauty!
So on that day June 25th, 2000 I became the proud parent of a 1961 Corvette.
I can honestly say that that day will stay with me the rest of my life, like the memory of my Wedding and birth of my three children.
It was a Drop Dead Gorgeous Day!