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1960 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible - Full Circle

A Father's Gift Became A Son's Tribute

Kevin Shaw Dec 1, 2005
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It isn't often a 16-year-old comes home to find a '60 fuel-injected silver-on-black convertible Corvette waiting for him. Landing a Corvette is almost every teenager's dream, so when Donald Knapp, of Clifton, New Jersey, was given this gorgeous, ultra-rare Tuxedo Black roadster for his 16th birthday, he knew he had something more than a first car. Donald's father wasn't anybody's fool, so he restricted his son to driving the car only on weekends and under his supervision. The car was a gift, but also a working lesson in responsibility that would later become much more.

The Corvette in question is this '60 fuel-injected 283, four-speed convertible, though it was in worse shape then. Donald recalls that the car suffered from the wear of many years of hard driving and usage. Cracked paint, stressed fiberglass, and a tattered and bleached interior inspired father and son to restore the car to show-quality condition. This entailed total disassembly from the ground up. Unfortunately, a year into the project, Donald's father, at the age of 61, suffered a severe heart attack and didn't survive.

From that moment, the car was shelved, as greater priorities took precedence. Donald lacked the know-how, mechanical ability, and fiscal means to even contemplate going further. He packed up the car and its assembly carefully, and sought to return to the project with more ammunition under his belt. He saved his pennies for 10 years, got a bank loan, and solicited the help of Mario Dishiani and his automotive restoration shop, Mario Dishiani Enterprises.

With Mario's assistance, Donald worked on the car every inch of the way. Mario has a reputation for building exquisite NCRS-worthy vehicles, which was Donald's goal. He was allowed full access to Mario's facility, and utilized all the equipment and tools necessary to bring his Corvette back from oblivion. What started out as a father-and-son project turned into a tribute to the gift his father had given him. Were it not for Mario's assistance, Donald admits none of this would have happened.

The black convertible now sees its fair share of the show circuit, and competes in NCRS events whenever possible. The 290-horse, 283 fuel-injected small-block is matched to a Borg-Warner four-speed, ending with a stout set of 4.11 Posi gears.

This 20-year project has finally culminated in what Donald and his father envisioned so many years ago.

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