L48 Corvette

Born in a barn?

It’s fair to say that now I’m in my middle life, there are many things that I forget. People’s names have always eluded my memory banks and have led to me having a lot of ‘friend’, ‘mate’, ‘sir’ or ‘dear’ being added to my smiling ‘hello’s’ at people when I meet them.

Similarly, birthdays never register and frequently pass me by, upcoming events seem to arrive with ever-increasing panic and unless I have a list, never, ever, let me go shopping for food. The ingredients I will return with would baffle the most creative chef who would merely want to use me as the main ingredient.

But now, in my mid-life, all manner of things are going awry. On the memory front, I can, in a matter of steps from getting up in the morning, forget why I’m in the kitchen. The autopilot has made me land but I’m stuck on the runway with no idea where I’m heading. When I do remember that I’m in need of putting the kettle on, I’ll make a coffee and then promptly go off and shower and get dressed forgetting that there’s a hot coffee to be drunk and when I return, it’s cold. It’s a routine that I hate yet seem unable to break.

I will read my emails and have actions that require attention. I’ll make a list of the things to do and then sometimes will, without reason, get up and toddle off to do something else that my memory has just reminded me I was supposed to do days ago. Tax a car or pay a parking permit. Luckily, on the driving front, I can still remember how to do it and I’m massively thankful for having set up accounts to pay for the London congestion charge and the Dartford Toll because otherwise, I’d be seriously in debt just on those two things alone.

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I’d also hate to think how many good ideas have been lost because of me needing a memory upgrade. I started a daily journal once to keep them in because I knew I’d forget them. In good order, I’ve forgotten where the sodding journal is.

This type of forgetfulness is, of course, something that I believe we all have happen and so I try not to worry too much about it. I’m sure that there is a scale for this too which runs from daydreamer to complete vegetable and against this, I wonder where people who forget where there cars are will rate? I mean, we’ve all read stories of hoarders who keep cars in barns and there are people who genuinely have left cars in streets of cities around the world where they were so alcoholically obliterated that they left the thing there. Car parks seem to also have their fair share of cars that have been left. In London, you don’t need to go far to find rusting Jags, Rollers, Astons and a couple of Ferraris that have been sitting there so long that they are almost unrecognisable.

It made me wonder just exactly how you can forget about having a car and so, when I heard that there was a guy who had forgotten about an old Corvette he had in one of his farmyard barns, I had to go and meet him.

‘I don’t think it’s so much that you forget but you tune out to the fact that its there’ was his reply to my questioning. ‘It just becomes part of the background and so in the day-to-day of work, it just became part of the shadows.’ Interesting line. I may have to use that next time I’m asked by my other half if I’m listening to her.

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The car was originally purchased on a whim and was driven for a few sunny weekends seven years ago but then was put away and covered over with the intention of doing a road trip or two the following year. However, becoming a father for the first time meant that he had to work that little bit harder and so the following summer came and went. And then a few more too. So, why is it now making a re-emergence?

‘We were clearing out some old boxes in the house and came across a couple of photographs of the first drive I had in it. The weather was quite nice so we went and dragged the covers off to see how she was. Now, she’s not going back under cover for so long.’

Dragging off the cover and realising that the tires might need attention, it was of concern that starting and then moving the car may have been a bigger issue. The best selling Corvette, as this was, was never the best thing even when new. A woeful 195hp from the 5.7 litre L48 engine to move a bulk of 3 tons of iron meant that pushing it around wasn’t an option. However, a new battery was put on it and it fired first time.

‘It was a beautiful surprise to hear it rumble again, especially inside the barn where it echoed so well. We got it out, cleaned her off and just wanted to go and drive her again.’ And so, a service, MOT and new tyres fitted, that’s what happened.

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‘It’s not everyones cup of tea but I think that’s kind of the point. I was raised on a diet of imported American TV shows and a lot of the love I have for those cars has carried through to me now. The soundtrack has always been my favourite thing. Lazy steering response, lack of speed and the brakes are all things that mean I have to learn how to drive this car and I take it for that. I love it for those things.’

I guess this is true and why we here at TMC love to hear about these stories. A car that has made lists of not only the worst cars in history but also sits on a list of the worst Corvettes made, is of no consequence to the owner.

And, now that we’ve featured it here, at least I can scratch it off my list of cars to go and see and move on to the next one.*

*yes, I lost the list.