Over the past few weeks, you’ve been reading all about the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum. But here’s a story that goes further and explains WHY there is a National Corvette Museum in the first place.
When it comes to Corvettes, people do fanatical things.
Take Todd Baggett of Southbury, Connecticut for example.
As he grew up in Detroit in the 1960s and ’70s, Todd listened to his father, Jack F. Baggett, tell stories about the new 1964 Corvette Sting Ray convertible that he had raced his friends with.
By that time, Jack had already sold the car, but Todd loved to hear the stories about it. Since he was just a kid, he had always looked at the owner’s manual and service books and the welcome letter from GM – “always thinking ONE DAY!!” Todd told us in an e-mail to CorvetteBlogger.
As the years rolled by, Todd became obsessed with finding that special Sting Ray, even sneaking the original bill of sale out of his dad’s office one day back in 1996 so he could try to track it down and surprise him with it on his birthday.
Unfortunately, Todd didn’t find the car that year. Or the next, or the next. In fact, he came up empty until just a few weeks ago when someone sent him an e-mail and told him he knew the car had been owned by a family in the Atlanta area for several years and best of all, it was available for sale at an estate sale.
“I had posted the VIN on a Corvette registry site seven or eight years ago looking for any information on the car,” Todd told us. “Then out of the blue I received an e-mail on Saturday, January 25 from a gentleman stating he saw my post and had looked at the car as it was for sale in Virginia, and did I have any information on the car. I replied with a simple: my dad was the original owner and asking more about the sale. He sent me the link to the car.”
After viewing it and knowing the car was not the original color and had a hardtop on it, Todd was skeptical.
“But for some reason I called the seller on that Sunday,” he said. “After the seller told me his life story about his first Corvette being a ’64 327/365 convertible and how he sold it when getting married (like my dad).I asked about the VIN and when he said 40867s106339 I could have died.. I told him then about my dad being the original owner, etc.”
The seller, a fellow named Bill Myers, “an extremely nice, Southern car collector,” was shocked when he heard the story about his search.
“I could tell he was skeptical of my story so I told him I would e-mail a copy of the bill of sale,” Todd says. “I received a call back shortly from him – yep it was the car. Still needing more certainty I asked if I could have a friend who I know in Richmond, VA come take a look at it for me.”
The story turned even crazier then. Todd says he told the seller that his friend Wayne, a car guy like himself, would call and come look the car for me.
“The seller asked me Wayne who?” Todd says. “I said Wayne Orrell. His reply, the lawyer? Yes, I replied . Stunned he informed me that he knew Wayne and had sold him his house the year before. WOW! From then on it was 48 hours of chaos.”
Having found the car, though, Todd began to worry about spending so much money for a car when he had kids who would be going to college soon.
“I was wondering whether I should just be happy it’s OK and just leave it,” Baggett said. “I didn’t sleep that Sunday night.”
By the next morning, he had convinced himself not to buy the car, a decision his supportive wife urged him to think on until lunch before making it his final choice.
Needing to sell his own 2007 atomic orange Corvette to afford the Sting Ray, Todd received “a true answer to a prayer” when he managed to sell his Corvette to someone who knew a co-worker that very Monday morning.
The emotions about the car run deep for Todd, who revels in the fact that he’s sitting in the very seat where his dad sat nearly half a century earlier.
Sadly, Jack didn’t live to see the car again, but Todd was able to take his mom, Dores, for the first ride after the car was delivered on Feb. 1.
“I’ll never let it go,” Todd proclaims. “You could offer me a billion dollars and I’ll never let it go.”
And that, my friends, explains exactly why there is a National Corvette Museum in the first place.
Here is a video showing the arrival of the 1964 Corvette at Todd Baggett’s home in Connecticut:
A special thanks to Monte and Mike for putting us in touch with Todd.