The owner of a marina blue 1967 Corvette that sold for $675,000 at Mecum Auction on Saturday still has visitation rights, says the man who bought the rare Sting Ray
The unrestored super original Corvette had been one of the most highly anticipated vehicles at Dana Mecum’s 30th Spring Classic at the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, for any number of reasons.
First of all, it has a 427 cubic inch/435 horsepower engine lurking under the hood.
Then there’s the fact it has been driven just 8,533 miles over the past 50 years.
How about the fact that it is one of the most original 427/435 Sting Rays you’ll ever find. The list of original parts includes the drivetrain and components, paint and interior, and the car is fully documented with the original window sticker, car shipper, Protect-O-Plate, radio tag, owner’s manual, and tank sticker.
The real story behind the car, though, is its first two owners.
Keith Richard Litavsky of Illinois served his country in the Vietnam War, where he was injured on the front line several times, including by a grenade blast one time that left shrapnel in his body for the rest of his life. Then there was the time when the majority of his unit lost their lives in a battle, and Litavsky eventually carried his wounded commanding officer out of the firefight. His officer told him he would nominate him for the Congressional Medal of Honor, but before he could submit the paperwork, the commander was killed in a helicopter crash, which left Litavsky as the lone survivor in his unit.
Litavsky eventually made it back to the States, and he quickly took the money he had been sending home to buy his dream car – the 1967 Corvette 427/435. He recognized it as a future collectible as there were rumors even then about the impending demise of the Corvette, and took extreme measures over the years to make sure it stayed in tip-top condition. Litavsky even kept diaries of its use – logging each time he started it and including details about the RPMs he hit and how the car ran.
Unfortunately, while he was serving his country, Litavsky had been sprayed with Agent Orange in a Vietnam jungle, and like so many other brave soldiers of that era, he eventually died of cancer as a result of that exposure.
His son, Matt, inherited the Corvette in 1993 and has continued to take good care of the car, which has now just been driven 8,533 miles in half a century – including only 15 miles over the past 15 years!
“I have tried to continue to maintain the car with the same love and integrity that my father did,” Matt says. “It may be the very last true ‘Vault Find’ in the world … [My dad] saved all of the paperwork that went with the car. All is in order and like new. I will miss this car more than you will know, as it has been a part of my life and something that truly strengthened the bond between my father and me. But, one thing I know for sure, is that even when the car is gone, the memories will live on.”
Carmel resident Gary Runyon bought the unrestored Sting Ray on Saturday after that very tough decision for Matt Litavsky.
Litavsky said it was “very exciting but also very, very difficult” to sell the car. “It was all kind of a haze. It’s been a very long year.”
Despite the fact that Runyon is a dealer of rare cars, he says he plans to keep the Corvette and that Litavsky could come see visit anytime.
“That’s good to know that it’s there if I need to see it,” Litavsky said.
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