In 1973 my father came up to me and said, “I want you to take a ride with me”. This was not an unusual thing for us to do, so we piled into his 1966 Corvette and were off. We pulled into the driveway of a house where I saw for the first time a 1965 Nassau Blue Corvette convertible and standing beside it was a family friend (Mike). There were the normal greetings and my dad began looking over the car in a very detailed manner and I overheard the conversation between Mike and Dad. Oh boy I thought!!!
Within just a few minutes of our arrival my dad pulled me aside and said to me “son, I would like to buy this Corvette and make it yours someday” There are a few conditions though. He explained, I would be required to help him restore it to begin with and the other conditions I would have to go to college. Being only 15 years old at the time I could hardly breathe, in fact I can hardly recall anything that took my breath away like that besides a few girls from my High School days. The next day we picked it up for $2550.00 and brought it home. It was on that day my mother lost her parking spot in the garage for the next several years.
The car had been rode hard and put away wet, but all of the parts were there and original to the car, thank goodness. We discovered that it was a 327 ci 365 hp. motor with a 4:11 gear in the rear. Had both tops and was basically in good running condition. Mike, the previous owner, wanted to put larger wheels/tires on it and did so by gaining clearance with a freestyle hacksaw of all four-wheel wells. Basically, we began to just tear down the car and rebuild everything from the motor to the brakes. The car had two unique items on it one of which remains. A four-post luggage rack and a factory trailer hitch. The luggage rack remains but we tossed the trailer hitch which I regret. Not because I needed it but it was rare.
The real takeaway for me though was learning who my Dad was as a human being, a guy, just another guy. As children, we look up to our parents as “all knowing”, “all seeing”, can do no wrong. I learned some of the most important lesson of my life working on that car. I learned that my Dad was just another guy like me who made mistakes and did not know it all. There is not a day that goes by where I do not say, Thanks Dad! It might be a tool of his that I am using, or pulling a bolt from a parts tray that he always kept in the shop, or some lesson he taught me. I am proud of who I have become and owe much of this to my Dad.
I have owned this car for 43 years and its real value is not what I have the car insured for, it is the platform from which I learned some of my most important life lessons and who my Dad was. This car and our time spent with the restoration is the reason I will never sell my First Car!