Owning a ‘Vette


Derek’s post on driving sports cars around the car lots made me remember my years of wanting a sports car myself.

Back in my youth, I think that was yesterday, I wanted to own a Corvette. Not just any Corvette, but one of the original Stingrays. I liked the 1963 Split Window model, but any of them through 1967 were fine for me. I would have done almost anything to get one of these cars. (almost…)

Then, as luck would have it, in the summer of 1978, I was able to purchase my very first car. It was a 1964 Corvette Stingray. A friend of mine (work associate??) was getting rid of his old Corvette and was selling it cheap. My first reaction when I heard the price was disbelief, and then the question came up: “WHY???”. It seems that he had a bit of trouble with the car. One was really high insurance cost, and another was that he lost his license after getting too many speeding tickets. He could not drive the car. The third and most important thing was that, while getting his last speeding ticket, he blew up the engine. Yes, I did say blow up. Pieces of it went through the front hood. Now at that time, I had a ’66 Chevy Impala. The small block V8 in that car was a perfect fit for the engine compartment of the ’63 ‘Vette. Not the same displacement, but it would power the car until I could get another engine.

Money paid, we had to wait until Monday to transfer the title, and for me to get a trailer to tow the beast home.. All was right with the world until that next Monday. The look on my friend’s face said a lot. Somehow the deal just wasn’t going to happen. He gave me back all my cash and told me a very sad story. That weekend, he was in his barn fixing up the holes the engine pieces put in the hood. He had said he was going to do some of this, so it wasn’t unexpected. Through some stroke of ill luck, or spontaneous combustion of chemical soaked rags, his barn and all of the things inside burnt to a crisp. The only thing left from the Corvette was a twisted frame and some remains of the wheels. Since his barn was still insured, he thought he could get some money from the twisted Vette wreck. So he gave me my cash and I lost my first chance at owning/driving a Corvette Stingray.

Later that summer, I did purchase another ’66 Impala in hopes that I could get enough good parts from the two of them to make one decent looking car. That never happened, but that is another story….

I finally did own a ‘Vette. Shortly after College, I went out and bought my first ‘Brand NEW’ car. It was a ‘Vette. Unfortunately, it was not a Corvette, but a Chevette….

5 thoughts on “Owning a ‘Vette”

  1. At least no one was hurt – physically. I can see how a young Justj would have been crushed by those events.
    I used to care about cars a bit more than I do now too – my friends in high school were all mechanics, and we would hang out on the weekends, talking and tinkering with cars – well, I wouldn’t tinker, but many of them had sports cars. None were ‘vettes, but I think they all wanted one. I guess those are things more important to guys than gals.
    My first car was a black Pontiac Sunbird, and oh how I loved it even though it caused me all kinds of trouble. I think it was the sense of freedom that was most important to me.
    Now my dream car is something that seats more than 7 people and would be great on gas, if such a thing exists.

  2. I remember the (Che)vette! I lost my She-Ra, Princess of Power doll accessories in the back of it, and then you sold the car, and I cried. With no sword, sheild or armor, she just became Barbie’s little sister. Mom wouldn’t make her clothes, since she was all of 4 inches or so, so she wore a lot of togas.
    For a long time, I wanted a Chevette for my first car, because I remember yours fondly. (There was that guy, with the motorbike… Well, you remember…)

  3. Ouch. Was he doing a no-no and trying to ditch the men in blue? Too bad the purchase didn’t work out- it would have been interesting to read how the Impala engine worked out in the Stingray body, or what your friends at the time had to say about it. 🙂

    I remember the Chevette model- did they purposely name it that so not-so-rich people could have their ‘vettes like you, I wonder?

  4. Derek, the engine would have worked ok. Just not the same pep. My Impala had a 283 cu in small block V8, the Corvette had a 327 cu in small block V8. Same base engine for both. Different Bore and Stroke made the difference. I’ve seen a few of the older ‘Vettes with the 283 in them. Those engines seemed to run forever.

  5. My dad owned a ’73 Chevette.. the green beast. I don’t think the ownership in your case, justj, would have been that great 😉

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *