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A Friend for Life

Ken Jelley

On Oct. 20, 1965, I found a slightly used 1964 Silver Blue Corvette Convertible at Dickey Chevrolet Buick Inc. in Grove City, Pa. I was 18 years old at the time and wanted a Corvette more than I had wanted anything. Unable to resist, I went to the dealership after work and got the salesman to let me take it for a test drive. I can remember the intense look on his face as I "TESTED' the performance of the 327 C.I. 365 H.P engine as mated to the close ratio four speed transmission and the 4:11 differential. I know he wanted to ask me to slow down, but he also didn't want to ruin the sale so he let me have my fun. A tentative deal was struck, but being only 18 years old, I still needed my father's approval and signature to complete the transaction.

After what seemed like hours of discussion, I was somehow able to convince him to at least go look at the car with me. In the end, the Corvette came home with me that evening. It has now been part of my life for nearly 49 years. It went with me during my USAF service years; it took me on my honeymoon; it brought a daughter home from the hospital when she was born; and it participated in drag racing, auto crossing, and Nelson Ledges Road Course time trials with the Cleveland Corvette Club.

It was my only transportation for many years, which meant it was driven in all kinds of weather that sometimes required studded snow tires. After driving it hard, and then storing it for a long period in the garage (as life required a more practical vehicle), I decided to give it a complete frame off-restoration as my retirement project/hobby. In April of 2014, looking brand new again, I took my Corvette to its first car show, hosted by the Shenango Valley Corvette Club, where I am a member.

Through internet access, I was able to locate the original owner, Bill Reznor, and invited him to attend the debut showing. He was kind enough to bring me an original picture of the car from 1964 that he had found in his old photos. It was a thrill to meet him face-to-face and show him the Corvette looking as it appeared the day he bought it new in March of 1964. Funny coincidence: it turns out Bill took that same Corvette on his honeymoon in 1964! As its only two owners, we reminisced over the fun we’ve had in that Corvette.

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