So..... It all stated in 1969; I was eight years old and my Step-Dad let me "attempt' to drive his 1960 Corvette in the alley of our home in San Diego. Ten yards later he slapped the car into neutral and turned off the key. I guess the telephone pole i was heading for made him concerned about the fate of his beloved Vette. That was the first time, and the last time I drove that car; however the itch to own a Corvette never left my brain.
Ten years later (1979) we started the project to repaint the Corvette, and the car eventually was in pieces in the family homes garage. Time and a busy work schedule kept my Dad from working on his baby, leaving her a primer'd un-assembled mess. The Vette stayed that way for many years, being moved from paint shop to paint shop with no progress, and finally resting in my Dads garage sometime in the early 90's. There she sat for almost 25 years, untouched and soon becoming a place to store boxes and home gardening supplies.
Over many years I would visit my Dad during my trips to San Diego (I moved to Texas in 1995) and always ask to see the Vette. My dream since childhood was to someday own the Vette and finish the project we started so long ago. My Dad had no desire to part with his baby, and I knew that. He did tell me on occasion That I would end up with the Vette when he left this world. So over the years I purchased and owned a dozen or more Corvettes, starting with my first one at the age of 18; a used 1978 Red Coupe.
I think I have owned one of each body design starting with the C3 (the 1978), many C4s, half a dozen C5s, and currently driving a Yellow C6. The Wife (also a Vette lover) drives a Midnight Blue 99 C5. So you see, the Vette seed was planted in my heart as a child in 1969 and has never died. Through all the years and many Corvettes, I still dreamed of owning my Dads 1960 Corvette. And I always asked to take a peek at her during each trip to San Diego year after year. Eventually the garage door on my Dads house broke and stuck in the closed position, and the random views of the Vette no longer were possible.
Why was this Corvette so special to me? You see, my Step Dad proposed to my Mom in this car when they fell in love. It was also the family "Grocery Getter", "Trip to the Doctors office", "Weekend Trip to Vegas", and the occasional "Hey Charlie, lets go for a fast ride in the Vette". My Mom has since past away, and my Dad still held tight to the Vette. The love for the car and my Mother has never died.
Spring forward to January 2nd 2014.... My Dad calls me and says, "Son, I need my garage space for work" (yes, in his mid 70's, my Dad still owns his Air Conditioning business in San Diego, and still climbs up ladders onto rooftops to fix AC equipment); "Come get this Vette out of my garage and do something with her". As you can imagine, I was stunned at the call. About to fly to Calgary for a week long meeting, I had to make this happen in the next couple of days somehow. I called my Boss and explained the request of my Dad. He replied "What are you waiting for, see you in Calgary next week".
On the 3rd of January 2014 I began my journey to San Diego from my home in Houston Texas. I loaded my H3 Hummer with a few days of clothes, some snacks and water, kissed my Vette Loving Wife and headed West. The trip seemed to take an eternity, knowing that a life long dream of mine was waiting for me when I arrived in San Diego. The journey allowed me to think of the car, its family history and its future to of being brought back alive again. A pit stop in Las Cruces New Mexico at midnight allowed me to rest my head on a soft hotel pillow and catch some shuteye. Not easy to fall asleep thinking about the rest of the trip and the retrieval of the Vette.
6am wake-up call from the front desk, a refreshing shower, eggs and bacon, and back on the road headed West.
I arrive into San Diego late that evening, stop at Walgreens and grab a bottle of my Mom & Dads favorite wine of so may years ago..... Riunite Lambrusco. A night of reminiscing and enjoying the red Vino until 2am, my Dads girlfriend, Kelly, says "Ok boys, its time to call it a night, you guys have a lot to do in the morning, and Pops... you have service call to go on also".
The stuck garage door was dismantled and removed by a few of the baseball players on my Dads team he manages, The Barona Stars Semi-Pros. The view of the car took my breath away. She was covered in boxes and a collection of tools, gardening supplies and everything else under the Moon. Flat tires, 25 years of dust and missing all of the trim and chrome, but still a beautiful work of art from car guys in the 60's without the use of computers or robotic machines. And she was about to be mine to bring back to life.
After two days of cleaning off the car and getting her ready for the journey back to Houston (and a few more bottle of Lambrusco), we loaded her on to a rented car trailer and turned in early that night. Early being 12:30am, you see, we still had some more old stories to tell Kelly (ones we believed she had not heard yet....), she listened and and watched us enjoy the same stories over and over again.
The next morning I was loaded up and on the long road back to Houston, with my Dads baby in tow (he says she is now mine, but in my mind the Vette will always be his baby). A full day on the road, same pit stop in Las Cruces, another full day until I hit Houston. The night in Las Cruces was a long one; not much sleep worried about the 60 Vette sitting in the parking lot of the hotel. All was well at 6:30am when I jumped in the H3 and finished the trip home.
My Wife was waiting eagerly as I pulled up in front of the house with our new project in tow. The neighbors helped unload her that night, and we all talked about the plans and dreams to restore her. "Good night little lady", lights out in the garage, her new safe haven.
I traveled to Canada the next day for a week of meetings; with visions of the Vette stuck in my mind, and also wondering what I would do first to bring her back to life.
It has been almost a year and a half since the night I brought the Vette home. Many late nights of eBay searching, Vette Catalog readings, and anxiously awaiting for UPS and FedEx to delivery hundreds of packages of new and used Vette parts. The car has transformed into a new beauty. A slick as ice "Black Cherry" paint job by Sublime Customs of Houston, full interior restoration, a 350 performance engine, and some custom made rims complete the labor of love that brought my Dads Baby back to life.
The last chapter of the project, building and installing the 4-speed transmission awaits time and funding. Upon completion of the drivetrain and some final details around the cars interior, we will fly my Dad and Kelly to Houston for the cars "new-life" maiden voyage. Its first drive in over 25 years, and my second drive since I was 8 years old.
The Corvette Dream lives on...... And Hagerty has been there with me protecting my investment,