Not the most surprising title ever, but it proved fitting on the weekend before last, when I spotted an early C3 Corvette Stingray.
It all started when I was heading out for a quick trip to the local grocery store. Typically, I’ll take short trips like this in the Miata to keep the battery charged throughout the week and also because it’s just a fun car to drive. Unfortunately, I was met with a flat rear passenger tire. This wasn’t the first time this had happened. Before moving house last year, the car was sitting for a while and I’d periodically have to air the tires back up. So, I hooked up the air compressor and started filling it back up, only to be greeted with the sound of “PSHHHHHHHHHHH!” It turned out that the old valve stem had finally let go. For whatever reason, when I had the tires changed about a year ago, the shop that I took the car to for mounting and balancing had not asked about changing the valve stems. I was so used to going to a shop where they always did ask, that I didn’t even think about it until after I left with the car. It was something I’d been meaning to address for a long time, but with the complete changing of the coolant hoses and other services happening, along with my move and a very busy semester of grad school, it just never got done. And since we’d moved, I’d been driving the car often enough that for whatever reason, the tires thankfully held air. So, I drove the Volkswagen up to a local shop to see if they had time (and were willing) to just change a valve stem without un-mounting the tire and having to rebalance it. The whole reason I had taken the car to the other shop which had forgotten the valve stems was because they had a Hunter balancing machine and it was a way of ensuring a more accurate balance to avoid a common “55mph shimmy” that Miatas can sometimes be afflicted with.
Walking up to the shop, I spotted this beautiful third generation Corvette Stingray in the garage. It appears to be either a ’70, ’71, maybe ’72, definitely post-’69 judging by the shape of the side gills. When I returned with the wheel and tire, I captured a few photos with my phone which I’m sharing here.
It looks to be in fantastic shape, complete with the factory wheels and no body damage. You don’t see examples like this very often anymore. After this model, the ’73 Corvette would evolve into the later look, first with a fiberglass molded front bumper, and then the following year a molded rear bumper as well. This example is likely equipped with the regular 350ci V8 engine, no big block, but it’s still quite a looker.