If you’re a Corvette enthusiast, you’ve no doubt heard about the mysterious McNamara Corvette.
Here, though, are much more details you may not have heard about the owner of that special 1967 427/390 Sting Ray, Robert McNamara, coming from the few people who knew him best.
The details make the story of the McNamara Corvette that much more intriguing.
That story begins in 1967 when McNamara took the winnings from a successful gambling trip to Las Vegas and bought a white Corvette with a red stinger hood and matching red interior.
He drove the hot rod only 2,996 miles before parking it in his one-car garage, apparently never again driving it the rest of his life. When he died in 2011, the car was buried under a pile of blankets, a U.S. flag, and a Marine Corps flag.
In 1991, a car collector who had heard about the car from friends in the upholstery business decided to pay a call on McNamara. The two men talked for a couple of hours before McNamara somewhat reluctantly let the visitor see his Corvette.
The car was hidden beneath at least nine blankets and the two flags, the man said.
“He said the number of people who had seen that car could be counted on one hand,” he said.
From that meeting grew a strong friendship that eventually included the visitor’s wife and the rest of their family. McNamara became like one of the family, attending special events like birthday parties and holiday gatherings at Christmas and Thanksgiving.
When McNamara died at age 74 in 2011, he left his possessions, including the Corvette, to the couple, who want to remain anonymous because they are horrified over the publicity the McNamara car has received around the world, saying that it goes against all he stood for during his life.
“He would be mortified,” the woman said of the fact that the car sold for $725,000 at Mecum Auctions in Houston last April after she and her husband had sold it to a man in West Virginia. “Just absolutely mortified. That is not who Donnie was. He was a very private person. We adored him. We have such fond memories of him.”
McNamara’s friends explained why McNamara never drove the car after the first year, though obviously he loved Corvettes based on the memorabilia that decorated his garage wall.
“He lived like a pauper,” the man said. “In May 1968, the tags expired. He didn’t have the money to renew the tags or his insurance. So he just quit driving it.”
Incidentally, the couple requested anonymity because they don’t want to be perceived as taking advantage of their friendship to make a financial windfall.
They insist their friendship was genuine and not based on the Corvette.
“Don was an interesting fellow and a good friend,” the woman said. “He is missed on a daily basis.”
Here’s the video of the McNamara Corvette selling at Mecum’s 2014 Houston auction:
Photo Credit: Mecum Auctions