Money can’t buy everything.
Take this 1966 Corvette owned by Gary Hemphill of the Kansas City area.
He bought the car used in 1969 at Miller Pontiac on Main in K.C. when he was just 28 years old.
About 10 years ago, Hemphill was at a cruise-in in Belton when a man walked up and said he once owned the car. Hemphill had heard that story before from other folks and thought the odds were pretty slim of such a reunion actually taking place.
But sure enough, this time, it was a previous owner of the car!
“He asked if he could check the serial number,” said Hemphill, who is 75 and now lives in Gladstone. “He said he had it memorized. He looked at it and sure enough, it was the guy I had bought the car from. He tried to buy the car back. I said no.”
His response wasn’t surprising since the silver-on-silver Corvette has been an integral part of Hemphill’s life for more than 45 years.
The car has covered more than 250,000 miles now after serving as Hemphill’s daily driver until 1975 when he finally replaced it with a van. He just drives it around town and on weekends now, but said he would trust the classic Sting Ray to go on a trip across the country if need be.
“It used to haul three kids in the back, which you would get arrested for now,” Hemphill said. “I had studded snow tires on it. I drove it in the winter. It has been a good car. Everybody thinks it doesn’t hold up, but if you take care of them, they do hold up just fine.”
Those journeys even included a trip to Glacier National Park and Canada in the early 1970s.
His current wife, Ginny, made him tell what she refers to as the pizza story.
“I was at my in-laws’ house, the younger sister of my then-wife,” Hemphill said. “They made a joke and wanted to go to a Pizza Hut and nobody would take them. I volunteered as a joke, I would take them. I had seven girls in the Corvette. I drove up in front of the Pizza Hut. People stopped and watched seven girls climb out of this little Corvette. They were young teenagers.”
By the way, the Corvette helped him meet Ginny, who had a friend in Gary’s Corvette Club. They met on a blind date, but because there was snow on the ground, Gary picked up Ginny in his pickup.
“I told everybody I married him for his pickup,” Ginny said. “I knew he had a Corvette, but I didn’t know what kind. In 15 years (they have been married), I have driven it three times. He let me drive it on my birthday one year. It is hard to drive.”
Not to worry, though, Ginny has another Corvette to drive, a 2015 model they picked up at the National Corvette Museum last year.
In all, Hemphill has three Corvettes, but the ’66 is special.
“I have so many good memories with this car,” he said.
Corvette Runs Deep for Three Generations of the White Family
Barrett-Jackson to Offer the 1954 ‘Entombed’ Corvette at its January Auction
This 1973 Corvette is Magical Says ‘Pawn Stars’ Magician Murray Sawchuck