Corvettes For Sale

Ebay Story of Barn Yard Find

 

  • This is an eBay story about a classic Barn Yard find of a 1959 Corvette just waiting in a storage barn to be restored and maybe even show up on eBay for you to have an opportunity to bid on yourself. Share it with others who love old cars.

But when someone comes to eBay to sell an incredible car and tell a pretty amazing story, well, that is as rare as a Dean Martin’s 1962 Ghia L6.4. Today’s remarkable listing is this 1959 Chevrolet Corvette (barn find):
1959 corvette hardtop
Our seller, vicksue1208 talks about how he found this car in his hometown, where it had been sitting in a shed in gathering dust.

He bought it three years ago, with the intention of restoring it. This is his story, in his own words – it is a long story, but absolutely worth a read:

Idaho Corvette Story
In the summer of 1959, a week before my eleventh birthday, I was riding with my mom in our 1957 Chevy Bel Air through the small rural southern Idaho town where I grew up.

Our farm was on the outskirts of town and a trip to the store was always something to look forward to. As we passed the Chevrolet dealer my heart missed a beat. There in the middle of the showroom was a new 1959 Corvette. After a little pleading my mother pulled over so I could have a closer look. In 1959 the only place I could see a hot rod or an exotic car like a Corvette was by looking at a magazine in the Rexall Drug store a few blocks down the street.

When I walked into the showroom I was greeted by Elwood Hedrick. His son, Tom, was a friend from my fourth grade class so I had been to his house a few times. Since my parents had bought their 1957 Chevy from Mr. Hedrick a few years earlier, I got VIP treatment. The Corvette glowed with its white paint job and red interior. He opened the driver’s door and invited me to slide into the seat. Nothing compared to what I was feeling inside. It was like looking at all my presents under the Christmas tree, only better. The 1959 Corvette had the most beautiful dash and steering wheel I had ever seen in a car. I still feel the same way about it today. As I looked around the interior I noticed the Powerglide shifter. Even at eleven years old I knew an automatic was not as cool as a manual but it didn’t matter. I was sitting in a real Corvette.

When I got back in the car with my mom I told her that I just got to sit in my dream car. She said maybe some day I would have one of my own. I didn’t know how quickly her words would come true. A week later while opening my birthday presents, there it was—an AMT 3 in 1, 1/25 scale 1959 Corvette model car kit. My dream had come true, well kind of. The kit started out plain white to match the one in the showroom but was later painted orange and received tear drop spotlights, sunken antennas, decals, lake pipes and everything else that was included in the box. This model car was the beginning of many years of model car building and my lifelong interest in cars.

I never did see that white Corvette cruising the streets of our small town but a few years later I saw a black one just like it with red interior. I always wondered what happened to the white one.

In high school I worked for my brother-in-law Steve at his American gas station. I loved working there and enjoying the privileges of working on customer’s cars and tinkering with my own car, a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria. I got to wash new cars that the Ford dealer brought over when they were too busy. I remember late at night washing one of the first Mustangs that came to our town before most people had ever seen one. One time my best friend, Wes, who also worked at the gas station, told me that he got to replace the battery and shocks on a black ’59 Corvette. I remembered that day in the showroom several years earlier.

****

Fast forward to the summer of 2010. I was 62 years old and was returning to my hometown to attend a family reunion. My whole family was there plus my new son-in-law, Robert. As we were sitting around one day I told him about an old wrecking yard on the edge of town. It was full of mostly ‘50s, ‘60s and some ‘70s cars and didn’t show much sign of activity. When I was in high school it was operated by a man who really didn’t seem to like high school kids…well me anyway. It was now owned by his son who relied on the junkyard’s past glory and was selective about who got to look around. My old gas station friend Wes, from many years earlier, knew the owner and got us permission to visit. We spent much of the afternoon walking up and down rows of classics from the past. What a glorious summer afternoon that only a car guy would understand. Eventually the owner came out and asked if we had found anything interesting. For some reason I recounted my story from 1959 and my visit to the Chevy dealer. He didn’t offer a reply and accompanied us as we finished our tour. As we walked toward the front gate he hesitated then said “Follow me, I have something you might be interested in”.

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We entered the door of a shed that had been remodeled and enlarged several times. Before us were piles of collectibles, some car-related, some not. It was dark inside and the only light streamed in through gaps in the siding. We approached an enormous safe that previously resided in the bank building downtown. Just beyond it was total darkness. I was instructed to reach up high and twist the single light bulb that hung above my head. I was totally unprepared for what I was about to see.

As the bulb illuminated the end of the shed, there before me was unmistakably an old Corvette. The color was obscured by years of accumulation of fine dust that had sifted in through the gaps in the siding. My first indication of the color was when I noticed cat tracks across the trunk lid. The car was black. It was a black 1959 Corvette with red interior. The shed allowed me only the slightest amount of room to slide along the driver’s side for a closer look. When I saw that classic steering wheel and dash my thoughts went back to 1959—but then I noticed something else… a Powerglide shifter.

****

Back in the 1959, sales orders for new cars were written by hand and then typed up by a secretary and then mailed to a district sales office where they might get retyped and then sent to the factory where everything was entered manually again. There was plenty of room for error. So after weeks of waiting, when Fred Axxxxxxx’s 1959 Corvette arrived at the dealership, it was Snowcrest White, not Tuxedo Black. Although white was a nice color, he had ordered black and he wanted black. He refused to take delivery so it was put on display in the showroom. After a few days of driving past the showroom Fred changed his mind. At least it had the Powerglide he’d ordered.

A little more than two years after taking possession of his pride and joy, things went bad. A terrible engine noise was followed by total silence. A mechanic at the dealership delivered the bad news. A valve had let go and hit a piston. Not only was the piston and valve damaged but so was the block and head. The dealer advised him that he could wait four weeks for a factory replacement engine or accept an alternative. A warehouse in Salt Lake City had a brand new 1961 Chevrolet 283 V8 long block designated for a passenger car. It even had power pack heads that made it identical to his damaged 230-hp engine. The dealer said they could have the new engine shipped and installed in two weeks or less. Fred agreed to the solution but came up with another idea. Since the car would be sitting at the dealership for a week waiting for the engine to arrive, why not paint it black during the wait? Two weeks later Fred was back on the road driving the car he had originally ordered, a Tuxedo Black 1959 Corvette.

****

In 1968 Joe Vxxxxxxxx was in the market for a sports car. He had saved his money during high school and intended to head off to Idaho State University in style. After many years of faithful service, Fred’s Corvette was ready for a new owner, so in a few days it was headed for Pocatello, Idaho with Joe at the wheel. While attending college Joe worked at St. Anthony hospital. After college Joe was ready to start a new career at a military hospital in San Diego, California. Since a wife had been added along the way, storage space in the Corvette was at a premium. The couple considered trading it for something with more room but the Corvette won out in the end. Joe bought a luggage rack from a newer Corvette. He cut it down to fit the trunk, drilled four holes, and soon they had room for another suitcase. A year later the couple returned to Idaho to visit family. The old Corvette was tired and blowing smoke out the draft tube and a baby was on the way. The Corvette had to go. In a small southern Idaho town, a tired old Corvette was a tough sell. The only taker was Dave, whose dad owned the local wrecking yard. He had always wanted a Corvette, so the car had a new home.

In 1971 Dave was an accomplished drag racer but wanted a classic to restore some day. A 1959 Corvette was not really a classic because it was only 12 years old, but something about it appealed to him, and now he owned one. He drove the car a little during that fall and into spring just to check it out. Sure enough, it blew smoke, but the car was complete and would be a good candidate for restoration. He threw the luggage rack behind the shed and patched up the holes in the trunk. He soon decided that he didn’t have the time for such a large undertaking. There was an empty shed on the property, so after dismounting the Hollywood mag wheels and after putting on a set of “rollers” the Corvette went inside. That was the spring of 1972. Over the years the shed that housed the Corvette got crowded with other treasures. First, were potato sack scales followed by a safe from a local bank. Finally, the shed was too small to hold everything, so it got a major addition, then another addition and yet another. Eventually there was only a man door and there would be no way to remove the Corvette without tearing the siding from the shed and removing most of the contents.

****

Back to 2010 and the junk yard tour. After briefly checking out the old Corvette I knew I had to have it. This was the worst mistake a potential Corvette buyer could make but I didn’t care. I was certain it was the black Corvette I had seen several times during my youth and I wanted it. We struck a deal, but I was told it would take about two weeks to dismantle the shed and remove the contents. Dave would call me when the Corvette was ready to be pulled from the shed. He gave me the original title he received when he bought the car from Joe. It was never retitled, so that meant I would be the third titled owner.

In the days that followed, I planned out how I would document removing the car from the shed. It would be an epic tale suitable for a PBS documentary. Then came the phone call. The Corvette was out of the shed, washed and ready for pickup. WHAT!! Trailering the car to my shop in Boise made up for the disappointment of not getting to personally extract it from its 38-year resting place. I was towing a barn-find 1959 Corvette! I became used to getting a “thumbs up” as cars passed on the highway. A lady pulled up beside me waving me to stop. I thought I had a flat tire on the trailer. She had to tell me the story about the 1959 Corvette her mother had when she was in high school.

After getting the car home the work began. A cat had made the interior his home for many years. Mice had taken up residence in the glove box, trunk, and on top of the intake manifold. What a great deal for the cat. While cleaning out the trunk I noticed the cardboard trunk panel was drooping down. I wasn’t prepared for what I would see behind the panel—white paint.

A few days later I got a telephone call from Dave at the wrecking yard. He was calling to make sure I got home safely. He also wanted to make sure I knew that the Corvette did not have the correct engine. My heart sank because “original motor” spells “gold” to a Corvette collector. Now I was going to pay for my impulsive actions. He said that if I checked the block stamp I would find that the engine was from a 1961 Chevrolet passenger car. Then came the good news. When he bought the car in 1971 the seller gave him the original engine. It had remained with the car its entire life. He asked me if I wanted it.

The next weekend I quickly headed back to the wrecking yard. I followed Dave out to the side of the shed. There was the original engine. A few yards away was the disgarded luggage rack. Near that were the Hollywood mag wheels with BF Goodrich Silvertown dual whitewall tires. Things were looking up.

A short time later the engine, luggage rack and mags were retrieved and securely loaded in the back of my SUV. The engine stamp identified it as a 1959 Corvette 230-hp block assembled on June 2, 1959. This matched up with the VIN that indicated the car was assembled approximately June 12, 1959. It also matched up with my visit to the Chevy dealer in July 1959.

On November 11, 2010 I prepared to fire up the Corvette for the first time in 38 years. I replaced the Atlas battery that was installed by my buddy when we were in high school. The gas tank and carburetor looked like new inside, thanks to Dave, who had drained the gas in 1972. After a little coaxing the 283 sprang to life. Nut shells and mouse droppings blew out the tail pipes, followed by chunks of rusty muffler baffles. I drilled out the crude bondo plugs on the trunk and reinstalled the luggage rack just like it would have been in 1971.

Occasionally, I see a car for sale that says “a no-story car”. To me the story is as good as the car. I have several old cars and of all them have a story about as good as the one I have just told. When I walk around my old Corvette I see the dealer’s script on the trunk and the 1968 Idaho license plate with a 1972 sticker. I see an Idaho State University parking sticker dated 1968. I see another parking permit for St. Anthony Hospital and another one for the San Diego Naval Air Station dated 1971. When I see the 1971 Corvette luggage rack on the trunk I think of a young couple headed off to California to seek their fortune.

I still have the 1959 Corvette model car I got for my eleventh birthday. I finally got the real one just like my mother prophesied as we drove away from the dealership. The original owner, Fred Axxxxxx, will never know the impact of his decision to order a Powerglide. That choice is probably what saved this Corvette from the hands of a hot rodder. Except for a few wear items like shocks, battery, plugs, wires, and tires, the car is quite original with the bonding strips intact and no signs of major body damage. . In the corner of my shop is an engine stand with the original 283 block that failed in 1961. It is bored out .80 over to clean up the damage when the piston met a valve. One day it may go back home.

There is more to learn about the car on the listing, and an excellent description of the all the work that needs to be done for a full restoration. It also includes a list of original and not-original parts. This is truly a one-of-a-kind find, and what an amazing story!
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