1962 Chevy Corvette - Sebring Survivor

A Look At What Was Once Cutting Edge.

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Shortly thereafter, noted vintage racing enthusiast and Corvette collector Rich Mason happened to call the Nabers to ask if they knew of any cars with good race history that were for sale. Mason was something of a regular at the Monterey Vintage Races held in Laguna Seca and noticed the scarcity of Corvette entrants there in 1979 and '80. He intended to rectify that with the purchase of a high-quality vintage Corvette, if he could locate one.

The timing was perfect and the Naber brothers put Mason in touch with DuPre. In short order the two struck a deal, and Mason dispatched a friend to Houston to pick up the car and drive it to Nevada.

Though it had seen hard use on racetracks around the country, the old warrior was in remarkably sound, original condition, having traveled only 29,919 miles since day one. As Rich Mason tells it, his friend's long drive back to Nevada was uneventful and in one respect even rather comical.

"The return trip required only three fuel stops, as the 37-gallon gas tank was still with the car. The gas station attendants could not believe the car could hold so much fuel, and at each stop the attendant tried to figure out where it was all going!"

After taking possession of his new prize Mason had the exterior stripped and restored to its initial race appearance. He also rebuilt the engine and fuel-injection system in preparation for the vintage racing he planned to do. Most of the rest of the car, including the interior and chassis, were left alone. These areas remain original and in excellent condition, with a beautiful, mellow patina.

In the ensuing years Mason actively campaigned the car in vintage events, making appearances at Riverside, Portland International Raceway, Willow Springs, and elsewhere.

Last year the old Sebring racer found a new home with another noted Corvette collector. Mason was reluctant to part with the car, especially after owning it for 18 years, but concluded that it deserved more attention than he was able to devote to it.

"This is a beautiful car with a great racing history," he explained shortly before selling it. "It should be shown and raced so Corvette enthusiasts can see it. Between family and business obligations I'm limited in how much I can do. When I have displayed or raced a car in the last few years it has always been one of the other cars I own."

Today, nearly 40 years after it was built, Delmo Johnson's '62 Sebring racer is still going strong. It very well may be as poor riding, uncomfortable, and ill-handling as it was to begin with, but the car is also just as beautiful, exciting, fast, and captivating as it ever was.


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