Real Wheels: Garage finds — Lucky day finally arrives

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. – I am always intrigued when I read stories about “garage finds” in newspapers like The Lima News.

A Model T found in the corner of a Lima man’s garage is typical of these stories. It was in terrible shape, buried under golf clubs and “who knows whatnot.” It was refurbished and brought back to life.

Then there was the Trans Am that a 23-year-old St. Marys man found in a barn. The mice were having a feast on it until he rescued the car.

And how about the Columbus Grove man, who found a 1970 Oldsmobile 4-4-2, and turned it into a father-son restoration project. That was special.

I always wondered, “How do these people find these cars?”

Little did I know I would have two finds of my own in less than a year.

The first one was a 1966 Corvette.

Being in the car repair business my whole life, I always loved Corvettes. I belonged to a local Corvette Club, and one of the members gave my name to a friend of his who was having trouble bleeding the brakes on his car. I had pictured in my mind a beat-up clunker.

Imagine my surprise when I went to help the gentleman that he had a fully loaded 1966 Corvette coupe sitting in his garage in great shape. The car had been sitting for years and he wanted to get it running to sell it. I helped him bleed the brakes and proceeded to explain what we had to do to get it running. He was in ill health so I was glad to help.

When I told him we needed to drop the fuel tank and flush out the system because the gas was so old, and would need to go through the whole car to get it running, he collapsed in his chair and said, “ I just want to get rid of this damn thing. My kids don’t want it and I am trying to help my wife get rid of it as I am in ill health.”

I made him an offer to buy it and he said yes.

On my way home I called my wife, Connie, and said, “How much do you love me? I just bought a car.”

Fortunately for me, Connie is also a car nut. She owns a 2005 Corvette and a 1964 Corvair convertible with rare factory air-conditioning.

I trailered the 1966 Corvette home and went through the whole car and got it running. It runs great and shows well at all the local car shows in which I take it. It’s a fun car to drive.

Unfortunately, the gentleman with whom I purchased the car passed away a few months later.

The second “garage find” was a 1971 Corvette coupe.

I was looking for an original jack for the 1966 ‘vette. On our local sales network someone in a nearby town had a Corvette jack for sale. I called the person and went to his home to buy the jack. When I got there we walked into his garage. Tucked away in the corner was a 1971 Corvette. It looked like new and I was admiring it when he said he was going to sell it as he couldn’t drive it anymore because he broke his back.

After talking with Connie, we made a deal and bought the car.

The car had been sitting for a few years, so again, I flushed the fuel system and went through the whole car. I got it running and it runs great.

But now the best part.

At the end of August each year Connie and I go to Corvettes at Carlisle, the annual show in Pennsylvania that features thousands of Corvettes representing all generations of America’s classic sports car. We had planned to take her ‘05 Corvette, but when looking over the information for the show, we noticed they were making a big deal about the 1971 Corvette.

Then it dawned on us.

This year they were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Corvette.

Each year Corvettes at Carlisle has a special tent for Corvettes that are 50 years old that year. This year it was the 1971. We had taken our ‘63 ‘vette in 2013 and had a blast. After making a quick phone call, we were able to enter our 1971 Corvette with the other 71 Corvettes. It ended up receiving a Celebrity Choice Award from one of the event’s celebrities and as a result, we were included in the parade.

So now I am on the lookout for the next garage, barn or basement find!


The Lima News publishes photographs of vintage cars, 20 years or older, free of charge in Real Wheels. It is easy to get your car featured:

Mail: Real Wheels, Newsroom, The Lima News; 205 W. Market St., Suite #100A; Lima, OH 45801.

Email: [email protected]

Include: Photograph of your car; year of car, make and model; how many years you have owned the vehicle; car’s history; best memory of car; your name, address and telephone number (the phone number will not be published).

If you have further questions, contact The Lima News newsroom at 419-222-6397 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.


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