James W 1973 Chevrolet Corvette 2dr Coupe

27 Year wait for a ride in our Corvette

My fascination with Corvettes started when I was 11 years old and my Dad was a general manager at a Chevrolet dealership in Tennesssee. Before the 1960 Chevrolets were on display to the public we had two new corvettes hidden in our basement garages. Left at home one day I went down to checkout the new cars. When I looked inside the cars the keys were in the ignition!! I got in the red convertible and noticed it was an automatic. Now I opened the garage door and got back in and started the engine. You guessed it, I backed it out and drove it around the block of our subdivision. I was mostly riding the brakes because the engine was idling so fast. Carefully I drove back into the garage. As I stopped the car the tires were squealing on the slippery concrete floor. I quickly shut the engine off and got out of the car. My heart was beating so hard because I thought I was going to hit the basement wall. Now the whole house smelled of exhaust fumes so I opened all the windows in the house and turned on all the fans I could find. No one ever found out I drove the cars. I never admitted to my Dad I had done this. I was determined to someday own a Corvette.

Fast forward to college I now worked summers, weekends and vacations at the same dealership where my Dad was general manager. Once again I vowed to some day own a corvette. I worked in the service department sometimes getting to service corvettes that came in for tune-ups and oil changes. After college I joined the Air Force in 1971. After I Iwas commissioned I returned to the same dealership to buy a new car. I wanted a Corvette but being under 25 I could afford to buy the car but on a 2Lt pay could not afford the insurance. Once again I vowed to own a Corvette someday. I did purchase a nice new 1972 Impala 2 door coupe. Fast forward to 1974 now at 26 years old I was visiting the same dealership having the Impala serviced and noticed two Corvettes on the showroom floor a white 1974 coupe and a Metallic Yellow 1973 Coupe with the 454 engine. Both corvettes were dealer demos and the owner of the dealership said he had to sell them before Chevrolet would let him order new 1975 corvettes. I jumped at the chance to buy the 1973 454. I was now the original 1st owner of the 1973 454 my Corvette dream came true.

That was my daily driver for the next three years until I met my future wife and got married. Now we had her car and a full size van. The corvette was driven less frequently but enjoyed all that much more. Years of driving the corvette passed. When my son was born in 1986 my first trip with him by myself was taking him to a car show. Father son bonding experience. Three years later our daughter was born and I drove my son to the hospital to meet his new sister. Family bonding again. She was born in mid November 1988. I put the car on blocks for the winter took the battery out as I always did. The next spring I was ready for the spring wake up drive, reinstalled the battery, lowered the car off the blocks got in to start it and when I turned the key it turned over about two revolutions and the car went black. No lights, the engine would not start, nothing the car was not going to start. At this time in my life with a three year old son a new baby girl and working long hours the car was not a priority. Raising our family was our priority and the corvette could wait. Growing up the kids always ask when I was going to fix the corvette. Later was always the answer.

Now my son is a High School teacher and married to a teacher. My daughter is a Physician Assistant and getting married next spring. So 27 years after my daughter was born and my son and I drove to meet his sister I found a mechanic who has been working on corvettes and restoring them for 40 years. I called Hagerty to insure my car and have been amazed by how quickly Hagerty was able to agree on a stated value and provide insurance coverage in a matter of minutes after receiving some pictures of the car. My mechanic is letting me work with him waking up my car. This is exactly the right situation I have been waiting to find. Almost exactly 27 years since I last drove it I was able to take it for a short drive. We still have a lot of work to make it a safe dependable driver again. But it is still in amazing condition and my corvette dream is coming back to life. My daughter reminded me I have only let her sit in the car once. She ask if she would be able to go for a ride in it in time for her wedding. I now have a date to give my daughter her first ride in our corvette. Dreams do come true.

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