Just because Kai Spande is in charge of the production of the current generation of Corvettes doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an appreciation for vintage models of America’s Sports Car, too.
“In a way, I believe that the C2 era of Corvette is reminiscent of what the new Stingray has done for the Corvette brand,” says the Bowling Green Assembly Plant manager. “At the time, this car was simply off the charts with technology and unparalleled performance, just like the 2020 Stingray. The two cars are vastly different, but to me represent the same level of performance for their respective times.”
You can check out Spande’s current Sting Ray – a low-mileage ’66 coupe – at the National Corvette Museum, where it will be displayed for the next several months on the turntable in the lobby.
“I have owned a number of Corvettes and many other fun cars in my life,” Spande says. “My Corvettes, in order of ownership, have been 1978, 1965, 1999, 1969, 1973, and a different 1999. I performed a lot of the work on many of these cars, but for the first time, with this 1966, I bought an old Corvette that was ready to drive. Given the limited time I have to work on cars this made the most sense.”
While he is obviously passionate about the new eighth-generation mid-engine Stingray, Spande also is a fan of the big block Corvettes from the second generation. His ’65 was a big block “not all original” convertible, and the ’69 was an L71 427/435 coupe that he subsequently sold to Corvette restorer Kevin Mackay.
Spande started looking for another C2 last year, eventually locating this high-quality ‘66 with just 39,000 miles. Originally purchased in the Northeast, the car found its way to a doctor in Franklin, Ky., and then moved on to a well-known collector and restorer who brought the car up to Bloomington Gold standards. Most recently, it had been in California, where the owner had recently passed away.
Spande says he was attracted to the car’s very low mileage, originality, and level of options, especially the side pipes, 4-speed manual transmission, 427/425 hp engine, and knock-off wheels.
“The power, noise, and nostalgia are spectacular with this car,” Spande says. “Although it is not the rarest Corvette in the world, it is a shining example of a fantastic time in Corvette history.”
National Corvette Museum
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