It would be the General's resuscitation of the Z06 badge that would throw the originals back into the spotlight, launching their desirability and, ultimately, final asking price into the exosphere.
Corvette enthusiast and proprietor of John's Motor & Transmission Shop, John Bergey, watched as these cars became the darling of the performance-collecting crowd, and his chances of ever owning one slip away. That would be until eight years ago when a friend, George Burgasser, would put John on the trail of a fabled split-window coupe with an odd brake option sitting in a garage in the Lockport, New York, area.
"But by brake option, did that mean it was a J65 option or could it be a Z06?" John wondered. Unfortunately, neither John nor George could pinpoint the exact location of the absent C2-only an approximate area down to a rather lengthy country road along the Erie Canal. It would be nine months later when another friend walked into John's shop talking about a silver Corvette sitting on a lawn with a For Sale sign in the window.
Driving from Lockport to North Tonawanda, the friend had noticed the corvette looked very rough, wielding header side pipes and Kelsey Hayes wheels. Further (frantic) questioning revealed the silver Vette was parked off the same road that he and George had combed earlier that same year. Now with the address in hand, they sped off to the location. Arriving on site, the Corvette was nowhere to be seen, so the pair knocked on the door. The owner answered the door and greeted them saying, "yes, the Corvette is for sale, and it's in the garage.
When the garage door creaked open, the two nearly lost their poker faces. George is a master judge with NCRS and had been judging for Bloomington Gold for ten years, so he knew exactly what to look for. Though faded, the paint checked out; the interior was surprisingly quite nice with only the carpets faded over the years. The headers were rusty, and the side pipes needed attention. But when they unlatched the hood to reveal the twin-line, dual-master cylinder with the copper cover they really celebrated.
"Looking under the Corvette, we could see the vented backing plates and the internal fins. Two of the drums were finned, and the other two were replacements. Obviously, our hearts were pounding, and we tried to contain our excitement that it appeared to be a real Z06," John says. "The frame had some rust and it would need a full restoration, but [it still had] its original brake parts and motor."