Friday, July 2, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray

Here at California Streets we've taken a look at the histories of cars by examining X model's lineage and features and comparing them to the car I happened to find parked on the street. But often the story of that individual car is more interesting. The problem is, usually when I pass by, the car is just sitting there and I never meet the owner. That was not the case with this one.

It is a 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, a fine example of the C2 generation of Corvette and one of the purest forms of the design language. It isn't trying to look like a big-block muscle car. There are no large scoops, stripes, sidepipes or mag wheels. This baby is all stock with full chrome wheelcovers, whitewall tires, and a lovely shade of code 912 Silver Blue. And it looks great that way.
Speaking of owners, I was just finishing up my shoot of this car when an older man walked up holding the keys. He said he bought the Corvette over forty years ago, and it's the only car he's owned in that time. To live in a place like San Francisco, and own a Corvette as your only vehicle for 40 years, and drive and park it on increasingly packed, deteriorating streets with minimal space, takes dedication. And it shows, from the straight body and shiny paint, the clean and un-scuffed tires, healthy fiberglass free of cracks, and the general lack of rust on the metal parts. It looks all original, with black plates and just enough evidence of rash on the body to suggest that it has never been restored. It wouldn't surprise me if there is an unmodified original 327 V8 under the hood, too. What leaves me curious, is whether the kindly fellow is the original owner. The car is now 46 years old, leaving some room in his 40+ year ownership estimate for him to have bought it used. If a new license plate was issued at the time of sale, that would date it to 1965 or '66. Was it sold new at Stewart Chevrolet in Colma or did they receive it as a trade and slap their plate frames on it when it went to the used car lot? Maybe I'm looking too far into it and should just appreciate it as a fine example of a vintage Corvette. Because that much I know for sure.

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