Some things definitely get better with age.
Just ask John McIlvoy and Joe Beatty, who have owned the same two Corvettes for a total of 100 years and 500,000 miles between them!
Ironically, they both grew up in Ohio, where they bought their Corvettes in the 1960s, and both are now members of the Northwest Houston Vette-Rods club.
Beatty bought his 1961 model from his flight instructor while he was a Marine. We think he got the best end of a deal with his superior, who wanted $1,200 for the ‘Vette but agreed to take $1,000 (all Beatty had at the time) with the addendum that if they ever saw each other again, he would pay the other $200.
Some 25 years ago, Beatty gave the car a new paint job and “freshened up” the 283/270 engine with the help of his two pre-teen sons. Before he bought it, the Corvette had served as a weekend drag racer for the flight instructor, but it’s been pampered since then as a daily driver to get his wife to and from work at the school where she teaches.
He compares the Corvette in its present state to a work of art.
“If you had a piece of Louis XVI furniture, you would not dip it and strip it,” Beatty points out. “This car has patina.”
Switching gears to McIlvoy, we find a similar attitude but then again, maybe not quite.
McIlvoy laid eyes on the 1957 Corvette “Fuelie” while he was in school, looking out the window while daydreaming one day. Four years later, he bought the beauty for himself and has kept it ever since. It’s a rare ‘Vette indeed, as only 713 buyers checked the box for the new fuel injection system that year. Also included was one of the first T-10 four-speed transmissions.
This is no trailer queen, though. He bought the car with 30,000 miles showing on the odometer and added another 70k before he put a new GM short block under the hood. When he reached the 200,000 mark in 2010, another local Corvette enthusiast restored the car for
McIlvoy, who still had the old fuel-injected motor and had it rebuilt and put back where it belonged.
While McIlvoy has restored his old friend, he still notes that the “Three P’s” apply to Corvettes.
“Old Corvettes should have three ‘P’s’, power, patina and provenance,” he says. “These two Corvettes have over 100 years of power, patina and provenance. Maybe the two drivers as well.”
We salute these two enthusiasts who have dedicated so much of their life to their classic Corvettes, which weren’t classics at all when they first climbed behind the wheel!