A Vintage 1963 Corvette Race Car Is Discovered After 44 Years!
In a world where almost everything is available on the internet, imagine discovering a rare, 1963 Corvette Race Car in the classifieds section of a local newspaper. In a story originally published by Motor Trend magazine, that’s exactly what happened…and we were so blown away by this incredible story, and even more incredible discovery, we just had to share it here as well.
The story begins with Todd Evans, a Corvette enthusiast living on the west coast. Todd had spent his evening reading the Sunday classifieds section of a local newspaper that serves the High Desert areas of California and Lake Havasu, Arizona, when he came across an ad that read simply: “CAR COLLECTION FOR SALE: 1963 Corvette cpe, 4 sp, SCCA race car w/spares.” Although the ad also included a handful of other cars, a trailer, and two motorhomes, it was the Corvette that immediately caught Todd’s eye….along with the seller’s phone number at the very bottom of the ad.
Todd was elated, his pulse quickening at the potential of what this classified might be advertising. Although the listing admonished would-be buyers not to call after 9 pm, Todd was simply too excited by the posting to wait until the following morning to call. In his own words, Evans explained “It was 9:30, but there was no chance I could wait until morning. I would have gone clinically insane.”
The voice at the other end of the phone number belonged to John Lloyd, the amicable owner of the Corvette race car in question. After apologizing repeatedly for the post-9 pm phone call, Evan listened as the good-natured Lloyd explained how he had purchased the car, which had been a stock 1963 Coupe when he found it for sale back in 1968. It was Lloyd who transformed the car into a “dream racecar” in the early 1970s.
Evans continued, “I’m not even entirely sure I heard what he said during most of the conversation. My mind was racing so fast, it kind of reminded me of having a chat with Charlie Brown’s teacher. He said it had big flares, big turbine wheels, a big-block hood, side pipes, and a ‘cage. He knew a lot of people wouldn’t like all of those things, but I assured him, in the calmest voice that I could muster, that I loved all of them. He’s telling me all of this and I still haven’t even seen a picture of it yet! I was crushed when he proceeded to tell me he already had a deposit on the car!”
Lloyd explained that he had raced the Corvette extensively throughout the 1970s, especially at Riverside Raceway, which had been his home track. Although racing was not Lloyd’s full-time profession (he owned and operated a Rialto Wheel & Tire shop), he spent his weekends enjoying the sport with his friends. They raced every chance they got, and Lloyd found some success, winning some of his races during the years he operated his Corvette race car. However, a growing family and a desire to pursue other venues saw Lloyd retire the Corvette in 1978. He parked the car in a friend’s yard outside his garage, and there the car sat for the next forty-four years.
After speaking with Lloyd for over an hour, Evans attempted to convince the older man that he’d drive out immediately with a trailer to purchase the car. Lloyd indicated that he already had a deposit on the car, but that Evans could travel up to Riverside in the morning and take a look at the car in the off chance that the current buyer decided to back out of the deal. Evans agreed and headed up there early the next morning. Evans recounted that the remainder of that night reminded him of the excitement he felt as he went to bed on Christmas Eve as a young boy.
When Evans arrived the next morning, he found the car to be even better than he’d imagined. Evans recounts his experience. “Aside from fading on some of the paint, it was just as it had been that day when he parked it almost 50 years ago. The interior, while obviously dirty, was like a time capsule, right down to the melt-in-the-sun, annoyingly sticky early-’70s SS steering wheel. I didn’t want to negotiate. I didn’t want to haggle. I had already told John numerous times that I would pay more than his asking price if he just let me buy the Corvette. John isn’t that guy, and said if I wanted the car, I could have it for the original asking price.”
After carefully moving the car from its decades-long resting place, he inflated the Firestone tires and found, much to his delight, that they all held air. He then winched the car up onto his trailer, thank Lloyd profusely, and headed for home.
Now that he has the car back in his own shop, Evans is considering what comes next in the life of this rare 1963 Corvette race car. First order of business, he wants to remove the assortment of mice (and other rodents) that have taken up residence inside the car. The car is full of mice nests, rat dropping, and even a few raccoon skulls, but none of that seems to deter Evans in the slightest. “I’ve never done much road course racing,” Evans explained, “so I would leave it just like it sits and make a nasty street car out of it. It still has the original VIN and title so it could be registered. We have a Hilborn-injected small-block sitting here in the shop begging to be put in something anyhow. It would be impossible to not love a streetcar that looks like it belongs in one of the best movies of all time, The Gumball Rally.”
We look forward to following Evan’s adventures with his new-to-him 1963 Corvette race car. We suspect that, given his immediate and overwhelming desire to purchase this car before he’d ever laid eyes on it, we’ll see this machine resurrected and back on the streets in no time. Until that time comes, we’ll be following Evan’s story with great interest and we’ll share updates on his progress as he resurrects this amazing example of vintage Americana!