Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Operation Corvette Rescue

My eighty-six year-old neighbor, Bill, walks every day to keep fit.  From time-to-time he will stop by my garage and tell me, “My son, Ron, used to race Corvettes!”  I never gave this much thought until December 28, 2011.  Bill and Ron came to see me for help.  Due to a lifestyle change, Ron is moving from his 30+ year home in El Segundo California to Carlsbad.  He told me that he has two Corvettes “trapped” in a garage at his El Segundo home – a 1965 former SCCA race car and a 1967 Corvette Coupe.  Ron is the original owner of the ’67; he purchased it with the 427/435 high performance engine, drove it on the street, and raced it as well as the 65.  The cars have been in a small two-car garage for about 12 years.

I decided rescuing two Corvettes that were trapped in a tiny garage would be a great adventure, so I asked a few close friends to help out:  Don Kingery because he knows all about 63 – 67 Stingrays; Joe Jezisek because he knows big-block Corvette engines (and owns a garage-door repair business – you will see why this is important later); and Dan Schrokosch, because he knows everything about cars.  The four of us agreed to execute the rescue together.  Nan provided logistical support and encouragement.  Danny and Joe would bring their trucks and trailers.

After a few failed attempts in March and April to get the cars due to scheduling issues, we finally got clearance to go with Bill to get the cars on Saturday, June 2nd.  The cars were jammed into a small garage with a completely failed old-style tilt door.  The cars could not come out until the door was replaced and the door couldn’t be replaced until the cars were moved.  The resolution to this impasse was that a local garage door company was supposed to remove the old door, then we would extract the cars, then the new door could be installed.  When we arrived at Ron’s house the old garage door was still in place.  I called the service and they were now refusing to work on the door until the cars were “out of their way”.

Joe instantly found a solution.  Along with his buddy, Matt (who joined us for the day), the old garage door was torn off the house board-by-board!  Nice that the Rescue Team had a garage door expert!

Imagine our joy to find the cars inside relatively unharmed.  All the tires were flat after 12 years.  We pumped them up and miraculously they held.  But the brake pads had rusted to the rotors!  After breaking them loose, we were able to get the 67 Coupe out!

The 65 Race car had 4 wheels but only two tires.  Luckily I had brought two tires off my 62 Corvette.  After finding some spacers in the garage we then had the race car liberated.

Then we caravaned back to San Diego to put the cars safely in my garage. 

Many thanks to the Operation Corvette Rescue Team (left to right):  Bill, Matt, Joe, Dan. Me, Nan and Don!

The ending of this story became clear on Father's Day 2012:  A local San Diego SCCA race car enthusiast purchased the 65 car and Nan and Canon purchased the 67 car for me!  I love happy endings!

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