Utah Man Reunited with 1976 Corvette He Purchased New 41 Years Ago


Utah Man Reunited with 1976 Corvette He Purchased New 41 Years Ago

Forty-one years ago, Dennis Braby bought his first Corvette, a new 1976 coupe.

Family obligations forced him to sell his dream car after just a year and a half of ownership, but Braby vowed to buy the car back one day.

The years passed, but Braby never forgot that promise. After all, like so many of us, he has loved Corvettes since he was just a child!

“In 1963, a man who worked for my father drove up in a brand new, ’63, split window coupe Corvette and took me for a ride,” Braby explained. “I sat straddling the center console, and he let me shift through the gears as we sped down the street. That is when I fell in love with Corvettes, and I swore at that time someday I would have a Corvette of my own. I was 8 years old.”

Braby’s dream finally came true in 1976 when he purchased a white over black leather, four-speed coupe that he planned to keep forever. Then life’s obligations stepped in.

“It was either sell my beloved car and buy a house or live in the car,” Braby said. “Well, you can’t raise children in a car, so I very, very reluctantly sold my car. I made a promise to myself that someday I would find that car and beg and plead with the current owner to sell me back my car and he would find my story a good one and agree.”

Braby, who bought the car when he lived in Wisconsin, had eventually moved to Utah. He contacted Corvette clubs in his former home state and constantly looked at all the 1976 models he could find, hoping to discover a VIN that would match his.

Eventually, Braby’s search led to the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles, and after filling out a form and paying a fee, he was able to trace his old Corvette’s history and discovered it was in Watertown, Wis., where Rich and Wanda Udovich (pictured with the car above) had owned it since 1988.

Ironically, Rich was having trouble getting in and out of the car due to advancing age and had been thinking about selling it for years but couldn’t quite pull the trigger. Then came the day last December when a letter from Braby arrived, and Rich immediately knew what he was going to do.

“We thought about selling it a few years ago, but we didn’t, so this was meant to be,” Rich said. “When I read the letter, I knew right away it was the original owner and I told Wanda, “Who better to sell it to than the original owner?’ And what a Christmas present this has been to him and to us.”

Indeed, Braby was thrilled when Rich called him on Christmas Day to tell him he had his car. “It was the best Christmas present I’ve had in a long, long time,” Braby said.

“(Braby) said, ‘You just made my Christmas,'” Rich said of Braby’s reaction to being told the transaction would go through.

“And we felt the same way. We didn’t want to get rid of the car, but who better to sell it to? We worked on a number and he already sent us half of it.”

“This will just bring tears to your eyes,” Wanda said. “(Braby) had done his research and Rich provided the paperwork. We’re just so glad we can sell it to him.”


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  1. Great article, I have a similar story about my first ride in a Corvette and the passion that followed but have yet to locate the first Corvette I bought. I was in my early 20’s and had a 1975 Stingray, I totally rebuilt it, kept a few years and sold it to enable me to upgrade to a C5. Ever since I have just been adding and kick myself for ever selling. Your article has helped urge me to go on the hunt. I have three Corvettes now (96 Grand Sport, 2007 Z06 and 2017 Grand Sport Collector Edition) and would love to get my first one back. Looks like a trip to the DMV is in my future.

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