"It's the culmination of a life-long desire to own one."
How many of you said that, when asked about your first Corvette? And, how many of you said that years after seeing a Corvette that inspired you to get one(s) just like it?
Count Tom Mulligan among them. His Midyear—his first Vette, by the way—is the realization of a long-ago memory. "I have a very vivid memory of seeing a car that looked just like this, on the street, when it was new," he says. "It stuck with me."
Nineteen sixty-seven was quite a year for Chevrolet-related memories. There was the all-new Camaro and a redesigned light-truck line, plus tastefully-updated Chevelles and big Chevrolets, plus carried-over Chevy IIs and Corvairs. But the "old" Corvette Sting Ray, in its fifth year, was still the biggest head-turner in the Chevy lineup.
That memory stayed with Tom as he began buying and owning collector cars. "I searched for Corvettes many times over the years, but the process of buying a Corvette seemed overwhelming at the time," he recalls. "Especially when C2s became very popular as collector cars, and the propensity for fraud and so forth, over what you were really buying." He adds, "It wasn't until I established myself with a group of really good friends who were Corvette enthusiasts, that I had the confidence to go out and finally purchase one, in 2010, when I bought this one."
"This one," a Lynndale Blue convertible, was no stranger to one of Tom's Corvette-owning friends, who had a '67. "Back in 2004, he was parked next to it at an NCRS judging meet in Canada," Tom remembers. "He knew the car, and he had pictures of it."
Six years later, that friend saw that Vette again—advertised for sale in Montreal. "He found it advertised for sale on the internet, in Canada, and he emailed me and said, ‘You ought to look at this car!'"
A trip to Montreal confirmed what was in the pictures—an original '67 Sting Ray convertible, optioned with the L79 327, M20 four-speed, and N11 offroad exhausts. It had been restored some years earlier, yet it looked St. Louis-fresh. Says Tom, "It was everything that I was looking for in a car."
That included its factory color scheme. "It's got the unique white-and-black interior, with the Lynndale Blue exterior, which was one of the few combinations that I was looking for," says Tom. "Most Lynndale Blue cars came with a teal blue interior, which doesn't look that well-coordinated. My view is, of the three interior color choices that the factory made available with Lynndale Blue, the white interior was the best." All-black was the only other standard interior color choice with Lynndale Blue, per Chevrolet, which meant if you wanted a different color interior, you'd go through the Domestic Special Order (DSO) process to get it.
After he purchased it, Tom then brought it back to the States. Unlike those who ran into trouble when they tried to bring a modified or "gray market" car in, Tom had no such problem. "It's a little more complicated to bring a car in," he says. "There was no problem getting it into the country." He took his '67's documentation to the U.S. Customs office in Newark, New Jersey, where it came in even handier than a complete-document set at an NCRS meet.
From that moment on, Tom's importing process ran like clockwork, or a well-tuned L79. "I got all my documents stamped, and got U.S. Customs to sign off on everything," he says. "They were enormously helpful, so by the time I went to the (New Jersey) Department of Motor Vehicles, there was no question that the car was in the country legally. Everything was signed, sealed and delivered properly, so I had great documentation, so it was not a problem."
Since the time that Tom's C2 cleared U.S. Customs and began wearing its current Garden State plates, he's had few problems with it. "Other than replacing a fuel pump and a radiator, I have not had to do a thing to the car," he says. "I've put a few thousand miles on it since I've owned it, and it's performed flawlessly."
He's also swapped out the original Rallye wheels and bias-ply tires for the N89 bolt-ons and redlines on it now, as well as the original under-car N11offroad exhaust, which he replaced with the correct-for-'67 N14 sidemounts.
Tom's driven it regularly, something that the '67's previous owner didn't do very often. "He primarily trailered the car to NCRS events, and one of the reasons that he sold it was because he was not using it," says Tom. "Even though it was an older restoration, it looked like it was done the day before I bought it.
"I was a little skeptical of car that, even though it looked great, didn't get a lot of use. It was my intent to use the car, not trailer it."
And use it, he has. Need we ask what it's like to drive this sweet smallblock-powered droptop Midyear? "It's terrific," says Tom without hesitation. "It's a great car to drive. It runs fabulous, and it's just a ton of fun."
If you have a long-ago memory that's inspiring you to seek out a vintage Vette, Tom advises that you join your local Corvette club, as well as the NCRS, before you buy one. "Get to know the people who know these cars really well, no matter how much you think you know about cars." Says Tom, "You'll find that the best cars tend to change hands among people who know each other, or know the cars from the past.
"It's great to have an infrastructure of friends and colleagues that you can rely on, to help you with this process."
They'll be there to help you with your search, which—if you're as lucky as Tom was—you'll find a Corvette just like the one that inspired your long-ago dream!
|Vehicle:||1967 Corvette Sting Ray convertible|
|Owner:||Tom Mulligan, Ringwood, NJ|
|Engine:||Original Chevrolet small-block V-8 (RPO L79)|
|Block:||Original L79 cast-iron, casting No. 3892657HT|
|Displacement:||327 cubic inches (5.3 liters)|
|Heads:||Original L79, cast-iron, casting No. 3890462|
|Valves:||Stock L79, 2.02-inch intake, 1.60-inch exhaust|
|Camshaft:||Stock L79, hydraulic lifter|
|Pistons:||Stock L79, 11.0:1 compression|
|Crankshaft:||Stock L79, forged steel|
|Oil System:||Stock L79 with mechanical pump|
|Carburetor:||Restored original L79 Holley R3810A four-barrel, PN 3906631|
|Ignition:||Restored stock L79 AC/Delco non-points-type|
|Transmission:||Restored stock RPO M20 four-speed manual, with factory shifter|
|Exhaust:||Restored stock RPO L79 exhaust manifolds and RPO N14 sidemount exhausts (original N11 offroad exhaust system removed and retained by current owner)|
|Frame:||Restored stock '67 Corvette|
|Suspension:||Restored stock '67 Corvette (front) coil springs with unequal-length A-arms, tubular Delco shocks and antisway bar (rear) steel leaf spring bundle and Delco tubular shocks|
|Brakes:||Restored stock '67 Corvette four-wheel disc, non-power-assisted, with new-for-1967 dual-circuit master cylinder|
|Wheels:||Reproduction RPO N89 aluminum bolt-on, 15x5½ inches all around (Owner still has the OEM, new-for-'67 Rallyes the car was built with)|
|Tires:||Michelin 205/75R15 redline radial, all around|