How did this happen?

Double Take: 1960 Chevrolet Corvette ConvertibleA call from a friend last Thursday night led to a short-notice trip to a local auto auction the next day. Unfortunately the group I went with was in a bit of a hurry, so we could only stay for a couple of hours.

Even though I only covered about 25 percent of the vehicles on display, I still managed to snap 300 pictures of a couple dozen of them, including this 1960 Corvette.

Low miles!
1960 Chevrolet Corvette convertible front left headlightMost of us are familiar with the potential behind barnyard finds. Some of the most interesting artifacts will turn up from underneath piles of forgotten clutter.

Occasionally these discoveries yield interesting automobiles. Take, for example, this subject car which consistently had a crowd around it. At first glance, it seemed like a poorly-maintained classic that was out of its element amongst the many mega-buck vehicles in the room.

Upon closer inspection, it became clear just what was drawing in the onlookers.

1960 Chevrolet Corvette convertible odometer

Take a look at the odometer. It registers 77 miles. Yes, 77.

I didn’t get a chance to talk with the owner but there was a large poster board with some details about the car and the auction house’s website offered the following description:

This fascinating 1960 Chevrolet Corvette is the archetypal “barn find.” It was discovered on a residential property in California where it had sat for over 50 years, its paint and interior worn by decades of exposure to the elements and yet showing overwhelming evidence that it had been barely used before being put away. The most telling indication is its odometer reading of 70 original miles, a fact underscored by the almost pristine state of its undercarriage and running gear, most notably in the as-new condition of the brake mechanicals and other details such as the absence of wear on the pedal pads, carpet and passenger seat belt. The matching numbers driveline comprises the baseline 283/230 HP engine and 4-speed manual transmission. It is a hardtop-only car optioned with deluxe heater, parking brake alarm, sunshades, radio and temperature controlled radiator fan, all documented in the accompanying original paperwork, which includes the original window sticker, sales invoice and pre-delivery checklist.

1960 Chevrolet Corvette convertible rear rightSo, there aren’t any details about why this Corvette was driven a mere 77 miles before being parked 50 years ago, but there is an abundance of tell-tale signs that point to the claim’s authenticity (some of which are described in the quote, above).

Plus, I have to say that seeing it in person it honestly looked like a brand new car that had aged not by use but by long-term exposure to the elements. With the exception of its superficial degradation, panels lined up and its interior components looked unused.

1960 Chevrolet Corvette convertible interiorEven though the exterior paint appeared to be beyond restoration, interior materials were a bit dried out and the seats were heavily cracked, the poster displayed beside the car indicated that: the under-dash heater and hoses were in new condition; the clutch, brake and throttle pedals show no wear; the trunk area appears “untouched”; the “front brakes retain factory markings with no wear”; the passenger seat belt has “never” been unwound (not sure how that was determined); the heel pad on the driver’s floorboard is “unblemished”; and, amongst other indications, the under-body shows no dirt or signs of road use.

1960 Chevrolet Corvette convertible

Despite this car’s almost unbelievably low mileage, it is still going to require a lot of elbow grease and, no doubt, a lot of money. But, to an enthusiast, getting there is usually half the fun.

And there must have been someone that saw the potential in this relic. It was auctioned off for a cool $70,000.

Be sure to check out the high resolution photo gallery which contains the images shown above, plus many more. (I’ve also got a few dozen more that are not included in the gallery. If anyone is interested in seeing more, feel free to email me.)

Continue below to the photo gallery.

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