Lucky Find

True story, continued. Perhaps others have shared this same sort of experience. I purchased my '69 in November of '79 from an NMCA member. He claimed to be third owner, with the guy he bought it from living in Santa Fe. Who was the first owner was an unknown. From a receipt I found in the original owner's manual, I was able to look up the guy in Santa Fe, hoping to find out who buyer #1 was, as well filling in any blanks about the car's history. The address was quite old and my research took to as far as Deitz Farm in Albuquerque, but the trail went cold.

In May of 2007 I believe, I was again showing my Corvette with the NMCA grouping at the annual Museum Car Show. About 2 pm I watched a gentleman looking at my car much closer than most people. I approached him and asked him if he had any questions. He told me that he thought this was his car when it was new. The Holy Grail! After a few exchanges of where, when etc - he was convinced and convinced me that this was the car he bought new (sort of). Turns out he lives about 5 minutes away from me - small world. I made arrangements to visit him, and he promised to dig through old files and see if he had original paperwork, etc. I was on cloud nine. Our meeting did take place a couple weeks later. Unfortunately, all documents involving the car were lost however he did provide me with some early photos. He was able to explain the early days and work on the car.

He was "sort-of" original owner. This Corvette was purchased from the Chevy dealer in El Paso, TX in December 1969 by a professor at NMSU. Apparently this buyer was considering a Pontiac Grand Prix at the same time. Somewhere around early January 1970 this guy decided to get the Pontiac, but the dealer wouldn't take the Corvette back. The gentleman I came across was student at NMSU and had a class with this professor. So "my" guy purchased the 1969 Corvette after about 4 weeks of ownership - so I consider him original owner. My research to find the true first owner went cold. The dealership in El Paso had changed hands a few times, and those old hand written records were not to be found, nor would they help me obtain an original window sticker.

One final note about my meeting with the first real owner - I drove the Corvette to his house. That's when I learned he had no documents to share, but provided some photos and gave me insight on a few elements that were a mystery to me. So as we concluded, I offered to let him take it for a spin. I don't know that I've seen an adult man run that fast. He bolted from the house and climbed like a kid runs out to see what's under the Christmas tree. I went with him of course - and he drove for about 15 minutes, and I could see him transform back to 1970 - he was all smiles and I think that experience really made his day.

Next week - to sell or not to sell.

Source: True story from the webmaster

Submitted by Phil Ellison