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It's Never Over (Let Alone Forgotten)

David Bowman

I purchased my 1971 coupe in the summer of 1974. It was one of three on Clark Williams' car lot. All were coupes, but the Warbonnet Yellow stood out from the other two (one white, one black). It was the saddle brown interior (versus traditional black upholstery) that 'sold' me. It was a 454-LS5, 4-speed, A/C, and PS/PB. Simple options for a 22 year-old. I cherished the coupe for 6 months before deciding to go another direction. The coupe was traded back to the same dealer for a loaded 1-2-ton pickup. But I never lost track of that coupe.

An acquaintance from the local Corvette Club purchased it. The new owners cruised many a mile in that coupe, adding a dealer-installed luggage rack when a baby occupied that tiny storage space behind the two front seats. But fate would strike that couple in two ways. The couple divorced and the husband was later tragically killed in an industrial electrocution accident. In his will, he gifted this coupe to his young daughter, who would not be able to drive for several years. In the mid-1990s, I saw a Corvette coupe advertised in our local 'Wheels-n-Deals' supplement. Upon seeing the ad, I called with my registration slip from 1974 in-hand. Karen recognized me and shared the VIN. It was the same car! The daughter was preparing to go to nursing school and needed to sell her Dad's legacy.

We hired separate appraisers and confusion on pricing set in regarding the LS5's value (versus a LS6). Needless to say, I left my business card with a fair but firm offer for this coupe. Six years went by and I witnessed another issue of Wheels-n-Deals listing 1971 'Warbonnet Yellow' coupe. The number was a few miles away, but the VIN matched my former Corvette. The new owner described how the young owner had some mechanical issues from this coupe sitting in storage for years. Otherwise, it was near-perfect for its age.

This owner was a SASE-certified mechanic, NCRS-knowledgeable, and quite fond of the old car. Item after item was carefully rebuilt or refurbished. We shared insights into what was done, as well as what such a car was worth. We promptly settled on that value and I drove the car home to my garage back in 2001. The odometer reads right at 90K-mile. It is not perfect by any means, but true survivor cars seldom are!

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