In the Star Wars movie franchise Boba Fett is a feared bounty hunter sent to capture Han Solo. In the Corvette world the Bounty Hunter was feared racecar tearing up drag strips in the northeast. Like Boba Fett, this Corvette and developed a bit of a cult following thanks to unique and colorful history. It could be yours early next year at Mecum’s Kissimmee Auction.
The simply stunning black on red Corvette with a red stinger was ordered new by Vernon Turner, a car salesman at Krieger Chevrolet in Woodbridge, New York. Turner’s option list was long and included the L71 427/435hp engine, M21 4-speed transmission, and a 4.11 rear end. Other options included side pipes, power steering, 4-wheel brakes, transistorized ignition, F41 heavy-duty suspension, redline tires, Soft Ray-tinted windshield, AM/FM radio, and power windows.
The car was named the “Bounty Hunter” after drag racing legend Connie Kalitta’s famous racers. Like Kalitta, this Bounty Hunter also tore up the competition. This where the car’s history gets interesting. Six months into owning the Turner, who was thought to be involved in organized crime, sold the car. He would later be murdered. The car’s fascinating history allegedly includes running guns and drugs across state lines as well as appearances on FBI stakeout videos of suspected Mafiosi.
After about 20 years and a series of owners, the car in mid-restoration state appeared at the 1988 NCRS National Convention. During a return blast down the drag strip the car crashed taking out the front end. The restoration would carry on, however, with the car making token appearances in various forms throughout 1990 at the Corvette Expo, the Malcolm Konner Corvette Show, Bloomington Gold Special Collection, Chip’s Choice at Corvettes at Carlisle, and the National Corvette Museum. Eventually the car was returned to its Bounty Hunter livery including Cragar wheels wrapped in Goodyear redline tires. It would go on to win NCRS Top Flight, Bloomington Gold and Chevy Vettefest Gold Spinner accolades.
he car was professionally refreshed in 1998, featured in a feature article in a 2006 edition of “Corvette Enthusiast” magazine, and restored yet again in 2010. The most recent restoration was performed by the Naber Brothers who took the car to the level in which it resides today. 2013 meant new NCRS and Bloomington Gold honors.
Today the car is one of four known 427/435 HP Black/Red cars and one of the best known Corvettes in the hobby. Included documentation consists of: the original tank sticker, Bloomington Gold, NCRS, and Chevy VetteFest certificates and judging sheets, National Corvette Museum display certificate, copies of previous titles and registrations, ownership history research, decals removed from the car during its most recent restoration, and a wood-framed display case containing the original valve covers signed by Zora Arkus-Duntov and members of the Corvette engineering team.
The Bounty Hunter is being offered from the Gary Runyon Collection at Mecum’s Kissimmee Auction running January 6th – 15th, 2017. Keep it tuned here for more Corvette goodness as additional cars are announced for the January auctions in Arizona and Florida.