When Marc takes the '59 out on the roads of Central New York, it's a pleasure to drive. "It's not quite as good as my new C6, but it's not bad!" Marc says, while adding that he doesn't 'baby' the now-50-year-old C1. "I do drive it whenever I can, so it's not a trailer queen," Marc—a member of the Syracuse Corvette Club—adds. "I can always tell what kind of summer we've had by the mileage on the car at the end of the season." Two years ago, when the CNY summer weather was good, he put some 3,700 miles on it. "Last year, I was lucky to get 1,500 miles on it, because we had such rainy weather," Marc says while noting the five inches of snow that fell in Fulton the week before we spoke with him.
As the weather permits, Marc has the choice of two black Vettes—his C6, and this C1. But which does he prefer? "People ask me constantly which one I like better and I say that I like them both for different reasons, they're totally different, unique vehicles," he says. "They then say, 'Yeah, but which one do you like better?', and I say, "I really can't pick which one that I like better. But, if you mean which one that I'd sell if I had to get rid of one of them, the C6 is gone! I'd never sell the '59. They're totally different, unique vehicles."
Does Marc have any advice for those seeking an early Corvette for a cruiser or a project car? "Good luck! If you're fortunate enough to get one, you're going to pay for it," He says. "The route to go is cosmetic, as opposed to original numbers. Those are nice, but you can run into some big bucks when you start doing some cosmetic work on them. But for an everyday driver, you would look for different things. In my case, I was lucky because I got a car that's not only an investment, but we found that everything was right on it. For an everyday driver, you wouldn't necessarily have to have all that. But it's doing much better than my 401 (K) plan lately!
As the all-too-short warm weather season returns to Central New York, Marc will likely take his '59 out for spirited drives on many of the region's scenic and twisty highways, which include roads like U.S. Highway 20 past the apple orchards (and fictitious Giant) of Cardiff, and New York State Highway 14, which leads into Watkins Glen. If L. Frank Baum drove this '59, you have to wonder if he would have written The Great Road Trip to Oz. (Or maybe another verse to "See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet.")
Data File: '59 Chevrolet Corvette
Owned by: Marc Osmun
Fulton, New York VIN: J59S102340
(2,340th 1959 Corvette built at St. Louis Assembly)
Body Restored production 1959 Corvette with standard convertible top and optional (RPO 419) auxiliary hard top Changes For '59: Fake hood louvers and chrome spears on trunk lid eliminated Restoration: Performed in 1982 by Reymore Chevrolet, Liverpool, New York Paint: Originally RPO 440 two-tone DuPont acrylic lacquer (Tuxedo Black with Snowcrest White coves); Restored in original colors with PPG basecoat/clearcoat system with pearl mixed in with the white and "High-Build" clear urethane topcoat; Paint applied by: Fred Bidwell (owner of Kustoms, located in Phoenix, New York)