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Brighter Than Ever

Mark Takacs Went the Distance to Revive This ’79

Randi Coleman Sep 1, 2001

Step By Step

After a heartbreaking crash, Mark Takacs took an original ’79 Dark Brown Corvette and transformed it into this breathtaking Torch Red beauty.

Mark first encountered his ’79 Corvette at Sabia’s Auto Exchange in his hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York. It was 1986, and the all-original Dark Brown Corvette had just been traded in with 59,000 miles on the clock. At the time, Mark was in the process of restoring a ‘77 Firebird Formula, but he fell in love with the Corvette and brought it home. For several years, Mark’s Corvette was just a “nice weather, fun driver.” He kept it in the garage and never drove it in the rain but, because he was busy restoring the Firebird, the Corvette didn’t receive any real mechanical attention until 1991. It was then that Mark decided it was time to give his Corvette the painstaking restoration he had given the Firebird. Between 1991 and 1998, Mark and Jim Sabia Jr. of Sabia Auto Exchange searched the Corvette bumper to bumper looking for the slightest imperfection to correct. Mark replaced the rear shock absorbers, detailed the engine compartment, and restored the seat leathers. He then turned the car over to Jim, who rebuilt the Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor. Eventually, they stripped the motor and repainted it, installed new valve-cover gaskets, hoses, belts, and spark plugs, and replaced the upper and lower mount cushions.

After the restoration, Mark was considering a new paint job for the car, but planned to enjoy the benefits of his seven-year labor before starting a new project. Unfortunately, another driver at a local gas station destroyed that idea. Just as Mark pulled into the station, a car rammed into the Corvette’s passenger door. Mark’s long-fought struggle to create a show-condition Corvette suddenly became even longer.

Jim Sabia once again became Mark’s companion in the new project. They replaced the door and trailing arm, and knew that the passenger side would require a new paint job. Jim, concerned that the new paint might not match the old paint, completely stripped the car. Knowing that Mark had considered a different color, he suggested that now was certainly the time to change it.

Mark had little trouble deciding. It had to be the classic fast-car color: red. He chose a ’93 Corvette color option, Torch Red, which both he and Jim agreed would look great with the car’s Doeskin/Black interior. After multiple coats of Deltron Base paint, four coats of Clear, and hours of wet-sanding and buffing, the car was beautiful.

In 1999, Mark entered his Torch Red ’79 Corvette in a few local shows. Each show produced a trophy, but these are only the secondary rewards for Mark. He says the greatest honor is all the positive comments he gets on the appearance of the car. Mark joined legions of fellow enthusiasts when he said, “It makes all the time and effort working on restoring the car worth it!”

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