John Mrock is one of those lucky folks who has owned the same split window Corvette since the late 1960s.
Not only that, but he also has some great memories of cruising in that 1963 ’Vette along some of the best beaches in the world while he was stationed in Hawaii during a stint in the Navy.
Of course, he probably wishes he had been able to keep all the Corvettes he’s owned, starting with his first – a ’57 model that he bought for just a few hundred dollars. He wrecked it a year later but upgraded to another ’57 that had a dual-quad V-8. That set the stage for a trade shortly after for the split window coupe he still owns, though it needed a lot of work back in those early days.
“A friend bought a stripped ’63 that was sitting in a junkyard,” Mrock said. “He never fixed it and traded it for my car.”
The car didn’t even have a motor, but Mrock managed to find another totaled ’63 with a 327 on the island and used it to fill the lonely engine bay.
Mrock wasn’t the only soldier in Hawaii with a love of Corvettes. “Our squadron at Barber’s Point had five servicemen who owned ’Vettes,” he recalled. “On most evenings, all of us would cruise together to Waikiki.”
Naturally, putting a group of sailors together with Corvettes tended to attract the females, said Mrock, who called it “coed season when the young ladies would come to the island.”
“At the time, they were considered older cars but the girls sure liked them,” Mrock remembered.
Of course, all good things must come to an end and Mrock’s service career ended in 1969. But fortunately it wasn’t the end of his relationship with his split window. Once his days in the Navy were over, he had the foresight to ship the car to Los Angeles and then drove it home to Chicago, despite having four recapped tires and no spare.
It became his daily driver for many years, and he even used it to bring home the family Christmas tree one year. “It was a tight squeeze,” he said. “I had it strapped across the rear fenders.”
While it’s been more than 40 years since he bought the car, Mrock says getting behind the wheel of his special Corvette “takes me right back to when I was 20. While I’ve gotten older, the car has never aged.”
Photo Credit: Prestige MotorCar Photography