Corvette owners, let this be a lesson that you should always remember to share your love for Chevy’s sports car with everyone, including young children.
That’s how a life-long passion for Corvettes came to be instilled in Elizabeth “Libby” Smith of Garrison, Ky., and that love of Corvettes recently continued with the donation of her beloved one-owner 1977 Corvette to the National Corvette Museum.
Libby remembers she was about 6 years old when her uncle George took her for a ride in his 1962 Corvette, reminding her at the end of the trip, “Now this is a REAL sports car, Libby!”
“We always had something in common with Corvettes,” Libby says. “People used to ask me ‘what are you going to be when you grow up’ and I’d say, ‘I’m going to work and get me a Corvette!'”
Libby actually grew up to become a teacher, but her love for Corvettes has never gone away.
In fact, her parents used the promise of a Corvette to get her through Morehead College in Kentucky, Libby recalls.
“My parents were not car people,” she says. “My mother and daddy knew they had to dangle something in front of me – they’d say, ‘we have to keep her going!'” If she kept her grades up and graduated, they’d get her a new ‘Vette!
It proved to be a worthy motivator for Libby, and her eventual prize was this beautiful blue 1977 Corvette, which Libby ordered in October of 1976 from Larry Fannin Chevrolet in Morehead.
Previously, her parents had given her a 1973 Corvette while she was in high school as another reward. “I was going steady pretty heavy,” Libby says, “and thought about getting married. My parents thought they better get me a Vette. The 1973 is what I traded in on (the ’77).”
She’s maintained that ’77 in near-perfect condition and in fact earned a prestigious NCRS Top Flight award with a score of 96.8. “They counted off on the paint chips – but this is the original paint,” Libby says proudly. “It has not been painted, only the usual maintenance and a fan belt replaced.”
She even managed to keep the original but hard-to-keep-clean white interior in top-notch condition, too, recalling that when the car arrived on Feb. 4, 1977, she told the detail guys to keep the white plastic on the seats because she was getting seat covers made.
“I’m one of these people that covers everything,” Libby says. “I had seen people’s cars with white seats that were dull looking and dirty.”
A friend made custom seat covers out of washable white velvet, and they’ve been used ever since to protect the seats. “I still have the plastic over the chrome and stainless buttons so it wouldn’t smudge,” Libby says.
But don’t think this is a garage queen. Libby has enjoyed this car immensely over the years, even taking it to the drag strip on more than one occasion.
She was known as a “dark horse” at the Clay City Raceway, where she picked up numerous trophies that she had to hide from her parents, who thought she didn’t need to be racing. “When I got my first teaching job, I was able to rent a house. So, I had to go track down my trophies to bring with me!”
A single woman with no children, Libby has reached the point in her life where she had to decide what to do with her beloved Corvette.
“I do have family, but I know it would be an inconvenience for them to take care of it,” she says. “I’ve been to the museum several times, including when it opened. I’ve always been a strong promoter of it. If I was going to put my car some place, I’d want it to be where it would be appreciated, viewed and taken care of.”
Check out this video that shows the day when Libby proudly presented her Corvette to the Museum.
As an NCM spokesman says, “Thank you to Libby for entrusting the National Corvette Museum with your beautiful car!”
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