While Angelo Van Bogart was poking around in Tulsa aching to see a "perfectly new" '57 Plymouth get lifted out of a supposedly sealed concrete time capsule, I was in St. Charles, Ill., taking notes about a perfectly preserved '72 Corvette that had traveled only four miles in 35 years!
The like-new '72 'Vette was surrounded by signs documenting its history.
Yes, Virginia, you can preserve a car the way it was when new, but you probably don't want to try it by entombing the car in a concrete vault. The '72 Corvette was one of six cars inducted into the Bloomington Gold Hall of Fame, and it was a truly outstanding automobile.
Ed and Cindy Foss, of Roanoke, Ind., were able to buy this car from the daughter of the original owner when the vehicle was 30 years old. Over the five years they have owned the car, the couple have picked up two "Top Flight" awards, Gold Certification, "Special Collection" recognition and "Triple Crown" honors.
The car's original owner was C.L. Green of British Columbia, who came up with the idea of buying the last 1972 Corvette convertible and keeping it as a collectible in unused condition for a minimum of 10 years. Green went to KATLA Chevrolet-Oldsmobile in his home town of Port Alberni, B.C., Canada, to see if this was possible.
While he didn't get all of his wishes, on June 9, 1972, Green ordered a heavily optioned car with the highest horsepower engines offered that year. (How could he know that the LT1, rated at 255-hp, would become the more-sought-after performance mill?) The dealer sent a letter to GM of Canada explaining that Green's order was a bit out of the ordinary.
"Our customer for this vehicle intends to purchase this car with the idea of keeping it as a collector's item and wishes to have '0' miles on it," the letter explained. "He intends to put it in a display room in his basement and keep it for at least 10 years. He has asked if this car could possibly be the last one off the line for the year."
The convertible Green got has serial number 1Z67W2S521567. The last '72 convertible has serial number 1Z67K2S527004. But, GM of Canada did get him a car that at least had less than one mile on its odometer. The car came into the dealership with two-tenths of a mile "on the clock."
Green removed the doors and windows from the outside wall of his house and picked the vehicle up. He drove it the 3.6 miles to his home and placed it in the basement before putting the door, and windows back. He then drained the fuel tank and removed the battery. The car didn't move again until 1983, the year that Green sold his house.
The car was removed from the basement without driving it and transferred to a warehouse in Seattle, Wash. Green's daughter, Donna, had gotten the car after his death in 1999 and kept it until Ed and Cindy Foss bought it in 2002.
"We had the car shipped to Roanoke following our purchase," Foss said. "It had not been started since 1972, when Mr. Green drove it into his basement. We put gas in the tank, checked the oil, installed a new battery and the car started on the first try."