The Time Machine

A "One-Driver" '69 Corvette.

Richard F. Newton Feb 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)
0102_VEMP_01_z_TIME MACHINE AC86 1/1

We've all heard of one-owner cars. This Riverside Gold '69 convertible isn't a one-owner Corvette, but it's essentially a one-driver Corvette. Of its several owners, only one person ever really drove this car-a little, and not-so-old, lady from Alabama we know of only as Mrs. Rose. She took delivery of this Vette on January 3, 1969.

Mrs. Rose drove her convertible around Alabama for seven years, then traded it in for a new model, and from the time it left her garage for the last time, it's hardly been used at all.

If you take a close look at this totally original Corvette you'll suddenly realize that this is a Corvette for the female gender, or at least the type of female that lived in Alabama in the '60s. It's pretty much a base '69 Corvette-standard vinyl trim (black), base 300hp small-block, automatic trans. It has the usual assortment of options: Positraction rear with 3.08:1 gears, air conditioning, power steering and brakes, AM/FM radio, and tilt/tele steering column. There are two options of interest. The first is that Mrs. Rose ordered her convertible with the hardtop only, no soft top. This leads to a second interesting option. This Stingray is one of the few convertibles ever built with a rear window defroster. When you consider that there's no convertible top, just the hardtop, it makes a lot of sense. The lady obviously knew how to order a Corvette that would suit her own specific needs.

Fortunately, right after Mrs. Rose traded in the '69, a collector ran across it and immediately put this unique piece in his controlled storage area, where it resided for the next 20 years. Hey, if you're going to survive you may as well do it in comfort. This is one reason you might even call this Corvette a time capsule.

During those two decades, only 805 miles were put on this Corvette. After this long hibernation, the car resurfaced in January, 1996 in a Pro-Team ad that read "'69 Corvette convertible, Riverside Gold, with complete documentation and only 7,900 miles . . .." This was when Barry Lash of Sanford, Florida, first ran across the car. Barry's quest to own the gold Vette was about to start.

When Barry checked on the car he found that not only did this Corvette have complete documentation, but it also had an absurd price tag. Barry had finally found the Corvette of his dreams, but the current owner was having dreams about how much money people would pay for an old Corvette. When your daily business is buying and selling cars you do have a certain sense of reality-even if you're truly lusting after a car.

Then one Tuesday morning in March 1997, Barry was at a wholesale auto auction in Orlando, purchasing cars for his dealership when he fell into shock over a mystery gold Corvette being run down the auction lane-a low-miles and very original gold '69 Corvette convertible with a factory hardtop. How did the car of his dreams end up in a dealer auction?

It turns out that a gentleman in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, had purchased the '69 Corvette with the intention of using it as a daily commuter. He had started negotiating with Pro-Team in January 1996 and finally, eight months later, they reached an agreement. Then the new owner moved his business.

All of the plans about driving the car five miles back and forth to work became just one more unrealized fantasy. This gentleman was not into large garage decorations so he decided it was time to move the '69 out of his house. He drove it down to the local Chevrolet dealership and traded it on a brand-new Corvette.

Very few new car dealers have any interest in old cars. They're not the type of car you place on your used car lot and hope that someone with a decent credit history comes along. There was only one thing to do with the gold Corvette-wholesale it. This was where Barry and his dream car would meet again.

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