Peter Haeckl Recounts His Lifetime Love Affair with the Corvette


Peter Haeckl Recounts His Lifetime Love Affair with the Corvette
Photo Credit: Stephen Finerty

Corvette enthusiasts have known for years that the car can transport its owner to a magical world like no other.

Peter Haeckl became such a traveler many years ago even though he was thousands of miles away from the United States, living in his native Germany.

By chance, Haeckl saw an American officer’s Corvette shipped over from the States to his hometown of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps and was instantly mesmerized, stopping cold in his tracks.

“I had never seen anything like it,” Haeckl remembers in a column in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Four eyes staring at me from the headlights and shark teeth for a grille. My jaw nearly dropped to the ground. The hood on this thing was almost three-quarters of the entire car length.”

“This is a 1959 Corvette. It is very fast,” the driver told Haeckl before he roared into the sunset.

“I became a Corvette fanatic at that moment,” he recalls.

It would be several years before Haeckl saw another Corvette, with fate and the search for the American dream bringing him to the United States in 1962 for a fresh start.

He decided to get into the automotive world in the U.S., serving as auto electrician, service manager, sales manager, and finally part owner of a Volvo dealership in Palo Alto, Calif.

Haeckl decided in 1985 that it was time to fulfill his dream of owning a Corvette, so he began a search that led him to this 1959 convertible that he customized with a 327 engine with fuelie cylinder heads, a Turbo 400 transmission, and a hot camshaft.

“I wasn’t looking for a show car,” he writes. “I’m not the type to haul my Corvette around on a trailer and spend my time maniacally polishing it at car shows. I wanted a car I could drive. I wanted to be that officer from my youth and rumble off into a sunset of my own.”

Though he lives now in Napa, Calif., in what some consider paradise, Haeckl says he gets “transported into another world” when he drives his ’59.

“Nothing beats cruising the back roads of the beautiful Wine Country on a sunny day,” he says, “no destination required.”

In fact, the hardtop on his convertible has been hanging in the garage for 20 years.

“I hear Chuck Berry’s famous lyrics, ‘Cruisin’ and playin’ the radio, with no particular place to go,’ every time I slide behind the wheel of my gorgeous turquoise Corvette,” Haeckle writes.

Check out more photos of Peter Haeckl and his 1959 Corvette at

San Francisco Chronicle

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