1960 Chevy Corvette - A Long Gone Project Resurfaces

6/30/2024
Darrell Olgers
It’s funny how things come full circle. This story begins 30 years ago when I heard rumors of a 1960 Corvette, supposedly hidden for years behind a garage. After much searching I finally tracked down the owner who confirmed he did have an early Corvette hidden behind the garage, and it had been there many years. He said he had no plans for it and would, indeed, sell it.
 
 
Visions in my 25-year-old mind of a complete dual-quad Corvette faded fast when we rounded the corner to find a car that had been wrecked years back with the front clip destroyed. After an accident many years earlier, it had been used as a parts car, as the engine, trans, seats, top, trunk lid, and most of the interior were long gone. All things considered it was still what remained of a 1960 Corvette, we agreed upon a price, and I hurried home to borrow a friend’s trailer. I imagined what the car may have looked like when it was new—a shiny Ermine White Corvette with a red interior. Did it originally have a hard-top, or was it a soft-top-only car? Three-speed or four-speed? Base motor car or dual quad? What had happened that fateful day many years earlier that got it to the point of being a wrecked hull of a classic sports car.
 
I got it loaded and secured, and as I was driving home I thought, “I always wanted an early Corvette,” but repairing this car was far beyond my ability. I decided the best thing to do was find a buyer who would restore it so I could use the money for my other projects.
 
After asking around, someone told me of a fellow who ran a body shop who loved Corvettes and may be interested. I stopped by one day, introduced myself. He said he was gathering up select Corvettes to restore when he retired. He showed me some of his restoration, and I was impressed. We struck a deal, and I felt confident he could bring it back to its former glory. Car and money changed hands, and, somehow, our paths never crossed again.
 
Fast forward to November 2020 when I was chatting with a car buddy who mentioned an acquaintance who was selling his collection of projects, many of them Corvettes. It happened to be the 1960 Corvette buyer. Memories came flooding back.
 
My buddy made arrangements for us to see the collection, and as we drove there, I learned the fellow moved his shop to a much larger location, mostly to accommodate all the projects he had accumulated and to expand his operation.
 
When we arrived, the gentleman was out front waiting and said that though he worked steadily, he had not gotten to restore any of the cars he dreamed of finishing. He explained that behind his new shop location had been nice open land with a few sparse trees, but over the year it had become overgrown with vines, briars and bramble, which also covered many of his dreams.
 
He further explained his health was not good, forcing him to come to the difficult decision to sell many of the cars he had collected. He showed us a mid-1960s Barracuda that was a prime candidate to restore, a 1970s Cosworth Vega that wore its original paint, a 1970 Opal GT, a 1967 Chevy shortbed pickup, and a 1940 Ford panel truck. As we rounded the back end of the garage and into a grove of brush, he pointed out a 1958 Chevy truck his dad had bought brand new back in the day but now had a tree as big and my thigh grown between the truck bed and rear bumper.
 
A few cars down the row and with a rose bush growing out of the trunk was where I spotted my old friend. It honestly didn’t look much worse than it had all those years earlier, but now had a damaged front clip from an old Corvette race car partially secured to the front. The owner said he had purchased that front clip and a nice trunk lid for it and had tarped the car years ago, but that’s as far as he had gotten. Nothing remained of the tarp other than a few rotted pieces of rope than had been used to secure it. I asked if he would sell the car back to me, and he agreed.
 
The car was literally buried among the trees and other vehicles and was not going to be easy to extract. After cutting several trees and vines, we attached a chain to the Corvette frame and loaded it onto a rollback. I took several pictures of it and posted them on a Corvette Facebook group before leaving.
 
On the way home I received a message from a fellow from Louisiana asking if I would consider selling it, and he provided his phone number. He said he had a 1960 Corvette as well with the rear portion burned, and he was confident that he could take the two cars and make one. He sent before and after images of several Corvette projects he had completed, and I was impressed. We made a deal.
 
Today it’s a brisk winter morning here in Virginia, and a car hauler is on its way to pick up that 1960 Corvette I first found 30 years ago. It’s not often you get to sell the same car twice, but I’m confident this time that I have, indeed, placed this car in the right hands. 
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