When Craig Johnson of Los Angeles, California bought this 1961 Corvette roadster around 1974, he hoped to have it completed in time for his son to drive to his prom in the mid-1980s. Alas, that dream didn’t come to fruition.
Now, with his son turning 55 years old, Johnson decided to part with it, and the car is up for sale by a new owner at no reserve on eBay.
The new owner will receive tons of documentation all the way back to the original owner, Stephen Burdick, who was stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California and eventually lost his life serving our country.
The second owner was Gene Tomazin of Riverside, who bought the car on Feb. 4, 1966 through Burdick’s credit union that had taken possession. Now 78 years old, Tomazin told the current owner that his father bought it for him at age 22. He remembers it as one of the fastest cars he had ever driven and says he “sure burned rubber” but didn’t get any tickets because he knew all the cops in town. Ironically, an off-duty policeman pulled out one night and hit the Corvette in the passenger side fender, and the car was parked (likely around 1966 as that is the last time it was apparently registered) until Johnson came across it while searching for a project car around 1974.
After having the Corvette hauled to his garage and getting the front end clip repaired, Johnson never did find enough time or desire to finish the project – which ultimately proved to be a good thing for whoever wins the current auction since its indoor storage prevented further damage from the elements.
With three days left in the auction, the high bid in the no-reserve auction is $28,200.
The car still has some of its original Sateen Silver paint (the rarest color that year with just 747 produced) and also retains its numbers-matching drivetrain with the 283 2×4 dual quads V8 engine still under the hood. Though it’ll need some work to get it running again, the engine does still turn by hand so that’s a positive sign. The original four-speed manual transmission also remains in place.
Overall, the car needs a complete restoration, but photos seem to show a solid vehicle to begin such a project, with what appears to be a solid undercarriage in place.
While this Corvette never made it to Mr. Johnson’s son’s prom back in the ’80s, we’d love for the new owner to restore this car and allow Johnson’s son to drive it to, say, his 40th class reunion in a few years. Wouldn’t that be a fitting addition to this car’s history?
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