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Mike Sams' '70 Corvette Coupe

This '70 Provided Solace During A Turbulent Time

Andy Bolig Jun 1, 2001

Step By Step

July 22, 1970. To some, it's only a date in history; to Mike Sams, it's the date of his homecoming. While the people of the United States were absorbed by the shootings on Kent State and Jackson State campuses, Mike was leaving the horror of the Vietnam war. Amidst all the turmoil both home and abroad, Mike found serenity in this Bridgehampton Blue '70 Corvette coupe. He purchased it from Timmers Chevrolet in Atlanta, Georgia. It was the only one they had, due to a strike that was going on at GM.

Mike's dad took an instant liking to the 350/350 Corvette and told Mike if he took good care of it, the car should last him 10 years.

Mike drove the brand new Corvette to Savannah to finish out his last six months of service-duty, and drove the car every day until 1972 when he married his wife Toni. He continued to drive the car occasionally but, after a while, the needs of family life took priority over the need to drive a Corvette.

During the years that Mike and Toni were raising their three daughters, the Corvette rolled away the years in their barn. Mike insists he never had any intention of selling it, and the '70 patiently waited its turn as Mike purchased and restored a '60 Corvette. With the '60 restored, Mike set his sights on restoring this '70 to its current like-new status. The restoration was simplified because Mike says he "never thought of changing the originality of the car" and he "went to great lengths to make sure that everything that came on the car, stayed on the car."

That's not to say the restoration was easy. Mike spent two years restoring the car, doing all of the work, except the paint, in their home shop. This 3,000-square-foot facility features a lift, a bead blaster, heat and air conditioning, and also cable TV (with Speedvision, of course!).

Mike admits they aren't driving the car much these days. They trailer it to events, but he has no doubt this '70 is as road-worthy as it ever was. He did drive it over to show his father, and his dad laughed as Mike reminded him of his words when Mike first purchased the car. Mike's dad is 93 now, and was amazed at the condition of the car. His dad's opinion: "It looks better now than it did then" could also be said for the times. And for Mike, it keeps getting better.

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