Class of 1965 Chevrolet Corvette - The Class Of '65

A One-Owner Corvette Returns To West Point.

Richard Prince May 1, 2000 0 Comment(s)

While his high-speed jaunts on the Nurburgring were certainly a thrill, it was not the only legendary racing circuit Ross visited while stationed in Germany. He and his beloved Corvette also made pilgrimages to Spa in Belgium and LeMans in France to watch the races.

"I put a lot of miles on that car in Europe," he remembers with a chuckle. "It performed beautifully and was an extremely rare sight wherever I went. There were so few Corvettes outside the states in those days. Even in larger towns and cities most people had never actually seen one in person and it attracted attention everywhere. Kids would point and wave. And of course whenever I went someplace I would always get the prime valet parking spot. It was really a lot of fun, especially for a young bachelor!"

After two years on the continent Ross was called upon to serve in Vietnam. Obviously the Corvette could not go with him and he thought long and hard about whether to ship it back to America or simply sell it in Europe.

My father urged me to sell it in Germany," remembers Ross. "Because there were so few Corvettes there it was worth more than it was here. I really didn't want to sell it but I did come very close to trading it. My landlord in Dortmund had a 300 SL Gullwing Mercedes and I almost made a deal to trade the Corvette for it. Ironically, the Gullwing is one of the few cars whose current value rivals that of the mid-year Corvette."

In the end Ross decided to keep the Corvette, a decision he has never regretted. It was shipped back to the U.S. and put into storage at his parent's house during his 1968-69 tour of duty in Vietnam.

When his service in Vietnam concluded Ross was stationed in El Paso, Texas. The Corvette was taken out of storage and again brought to the Lone Star State, where it fell comfortably into its role as provider of both reliable transportation and limitless fun.

In 1970 Ross resigned his commission and he and his old friend headed to Acapulco for a much-deserved vacation. They spent two glorious months exploring Mexico in the fast lane. As in Europe, a Corvette was a very rare sight south of the border and the roadster, which by then had been painted silver, caused quite a stir wherever it went.

Following a minor scrape with a palm tree in Acapulco the car was again painted, this time in yellow, which led to even greater attention.

When his extended vacation wound down Ross and his newly-painted Corvette returned to the States for a slightly more sedate lifestyle. Settling in New York, he began his law practice while his Corvette went into semi-retirement.

Instead of 130-mph jaunts to LeMans or along the Autobahn it was stored for several years and then served as a weekend toy, ferrying Ross from his New York City area home up to West Point for football games and other occasions.

When not cruising up to West Point or on an occasional outing, the Corvette was stored in an indoor, guarded parking garage on New York's Roosevelt Island. In spite of being parked right next to the guard station the car was twice broken into while in the garage.

Though the garage thieves did not succeed in stealing the Corvette another band of miscreants almost did. Ross drove the car to LaGuardia airport to pick up his arriving son and parked it in a one-hour lot. When he and his son emerged from the airport they discovered the roadster firmly attached to an idling tow truck. When Ross protested two of the four men present ran away while the other two said the first two claimed the car was theirs.

Motivated in part by the security problem and accompanying difficulties with insurance, but mostly by the fact that he only really used and enjoyed the car when he drove it around at West Point, Ross decided to relocate his old friend.

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