1974 454 Corvette Coupe - Me & My Vette

Gary D. Shaffer Bedford, Pennsylvania 1974 454 Corvette Coupe

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While our children were growing up, we devoted much of our time and attention to their interests and activities as well as other typical family matters. When my wife, Becky, found the time she would dabble in needlepoint, she has always enjoyed reading a good book when she could prop her feet up and relax, and at one point she was very involved in collecting and making teddy bears. I have been involved in sports such as softball, tennis, and racquetball over the years, in addition to target shooting and playing the piano. We have always been supportive of each other, but our interests and hobbies have differed widely.

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At various times we discussed the idea of trying to find a hobby that we could get involved in together. We did not plan to give up our individual interests, but to enhance our free time by doing something as a couple. With our home and children's college educations paid for, and being empty nesters, we were searching for the perfect pastime. Dancing was the first activity we tried. We took square dancing and ballroom dancing lessons. However, it did not take long for us to discover that dancing was not going to be the hobby for which we were searching. We gave it a shot, but it was not providing the recreational outlet that we wanted.

In a brainstorming session, we recalled that we both have always enjoyed looking at old cars. On many occasions over the years we have gone to automobile museums, car shows, antique auto parades, and cruise-ins to look at and admire the beautiful old cars. The fantasy of owning one of those pristine old cars had crossed my mind many times over the years. Becky was very receptive to the idea and insisted that the car be something special or unique. The decision was made to pursue the notion of buying our own antique car.

Quite frankly, we did not know what car to buy or even how we should handle the details of locating, insuring, licensing, or transporting the car to our home in Bedford, Pennsylvania. We joined the Fort Bedford Region Antique Auto Club to associate with other people that had a similar interest and to get help and advice on buying a car. We heard several tales about how ads for cars on the Internet and in publications were generally overstated the condition of the car. The first ad we answered was for a Buick in "excellent" condition, but when we looked at it, we discovered that the car could not be driven. Not being mechanics, we wanted to buy a car that was truly in excellent condition. A sharp-looking car that would turn people's heads is what we had in mind. We did not want an old car just to say we had an antique. I greatly admire people who have the expertise to buy a project car and restore it themselves, but we could not go this route.We started to have fears and trepidation of getting a dressed-up rustbucket or an overpriced piece of junk. The uncertainty of whom we could turn to for reliable mechanical service once we purchased a car was an issue of concern for me. Availability of parts for certain models was also something we needed to consider. Our brains were overloading as we were becoming overwhelmed by advice. One day a friend told us not to worry about going out and finding the right car. He told us that we just needed to be patient and let the right car find us. I felt relieved by this profound statement. To ease our minds on transporting concerns, we discontinued considering cars that were beyond 50 miles from Bedford.

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