1969 Chevrolet Corvette - Me & My Vette

Chuck Gelsomino, Jr. / Rochester, New York 1969 427/390 Coupe

This 427ci/390hp, four-speed came with a 4.11:1 rearend setup. The chrome Cragar mags and a little extra chrome on the engine give it a nice '60s look. Now, almost 30 years later, I am still the owner of this '69 Corvette. A lot of people find it hard to believe that I am the only owner this car has ever had. In our local Corvette club, I am the only person who has purchased a new Corvette and kept it for this many years. As a matter of fact, it took the Survivor Award at a recent Rochester Corvette show. Unless you look really close, you'll see it's showroom clean. The paint job is original, so is the interior, and also the complete motor. Many people have asked how a car so old could look so good. I answer them by saying, "With a lot of waxing, scrubbing, cleaning, and tenderloving care, and with the grace of the Lord."

When I first bought this car I drag raced it on many tracks, and it turned times in the low 12s. That is without headers, and running slicks. In order to get the maximum power out of this engine I add 5 gallons of 106-octane racing fuel to every tank. This keeps the engine running as good as it did in the '60s. It is one of those cars that gets a lot of looks at cruise nights around Rochester. The air shocks also give it a nice raised look.

I have antique plates that go along with this antique car. As a matter of fact, to make this situation even more unique, these old plates have been with me through most of my teenage years. They were on my '64, '66, and '68 Chevys. When I bought the Corvette I transferred them onto it and kept them until New York changed the color of the plates to yellow. I then took off these old plates and tossed them into a box in my garage rather then the garbage.

Anyway, when I found out you could go antique with your car if it was 25 years or older, I called the DMV and asked if I could put my old '60s plates back on like when I bought it. They said that I could as long as I had antique insurance and met all the other criteria. So I went through all the necessary paperwork, and I proceeded to dig out my old plates to put them back on the car where they belonged. With a little scrubbing, buffing, and waxing, my old '60s plates looked almost new. The final touch was to find a '69 sticker to go on the plates for an authentic look, which I did. They look perfect on the car, right where they belong.

Well that's my story and my love affair of three decades with my Corvette. I thank God that I have truly been part of the American dream.

Editor's Note: This series spotlights reader experiences with their own Corvettes, described in their own words. To be considered for publication, submit a selection of pictures and your own typewritten Corvette experience in 500 words or less to: Me & My Vette, Vette Magazine, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870. Please send your submission on computer disk when possible. If we use your story, we'll pay you $75.

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