Diesel-Powered C3 Corvette Goes Home


Diesel-powered C3 Corvette Goes Home

They say you can’t go home again, but don’t tell that to this unusual 1978 Corvette.

Back in 1981, Richard Sanson and his son, Ricky, bought the ice blue Corvette when it was just a pile of charred wreckage after it had caught fire on Interstate 77 near Charleston, S.C.

They decided to make the restoration into a father-son project but took an unusual angle by installing a diesel engine under the hood.

By mid-March 1982, the Sansons were ready for the car show circuit, including a prestigious show in Knoxville, Tennessee, where a dealer offered them $18,000 for their Corvette. No deal, though, and the family was really looking forward to a show that April in Key West, Florida, where they hoped to see how their creation would stack up against the very best competition.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck before they ever got to the show when on March 28, 1982, Ricky fell out of the door of a pickup truck and passed away after breaking his neck.

The Corvette remained in the family as a memorial to Ricky for decades until 2009 when his mom, Jean, was diagnosed with a terminal liver disease and given just two weeks to six months to live. They decided to part with the car and sold it to a man in North Carolina, but it was a decision Richard and Jean would soon regret as they missed the car terribly.

Then, just recently, they received a phone call from the sister of the man who had bought their 1978 Corvette four years ago. She told them he had died and she had inherited the car and wondered if they would like to buy it back.

It didn’t take long for Jean to call her back and say, “I want it.”

Now that they have it back, the Sansons have no interest in selling the rolling memorial to their son.

“I’ll drive it every day,” Jean said. “I drove wreckers for 30 years. I enjoy driving. I’ve driven tractor-trailers and big and small wreckers. I didn’t think I’d ever see that car again. It was the most wonderful feeling.”

Somehow, we get the feeling Ricky is smiling down on them.

Diesel-powered C3 Corvette Goes Home

Photo Credit: Tom Hindman

The Story Behind Rick Hendrick’s 1967 Corvette Convertible
Woman Trades a 99 Year Old Ford for a 2013 Corvette
A Look Back at Hot Rod Photographer Eric Rickman’s 1954 Corvette