Many years ago, when I was just a kid, one of my grandparents’ friends came over with his 1967 Corvette and gave me ride.
Every car lover has a story about that first car, the one that showed them how an automobile could be so much more than a four-wheeled machine that got you from point A to point B.
For me, that ’67 Vette was it.
So I was understandably excited to see that a nearly all-original example would be up for auction in Indianapolis by Mecum on May 19. The estimate for the LZ1 convertible hammer price is between $400,000 to $500,000.
This is obviously not a barn-find Vette that’s been painstakingly restored. Rather, it’s a Vette – and a rare one – that was babied by its owners for over five decades.
The second-to-last owners, Tom Kolvat, “drove it sparingly before placing it in careful storage in his Colorado garage,” according to Mecum, and kept the odometer under the 24,000 miles.
Chris Piscitello bought the Tuxedo Black Vette, outfitted with a 435-horsepower big-block Chevy 427 engine, in 2002 and continued the Vette’s museum-piece treatment. Fifteen years later, it has only 24,000 miles on the clock.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” Piscitello told Business Insider. When asked about his passion for collecting vintage American cars, he said that “They’re artwork, and I’m an art collector.”
The Vette’s rarity and specs made it an especially tricky vehicle to look after.
“Of the 22,940 Corvettes built in 1967, 3.5% (815) were Tuxedo Black, which leaves approximately 100 total coupes and convertibles black 435-hp cars built,” Mecum noted.
“Of those, approximately half were convertibles. Less than 10 convertibles are known today with certified original engines. This car is the most untouched original Tuxedo Black two top convertible 435-hp left known to exist.”
Piscitello, who owns several other classic Vettes said that it’s important for collectors to “exercise” their cars. But that practice didn’t apply for the black Vette – even if black is his favorite Vette color.
“It’s not practical to drive,” he said. “You can’t buy right gas for them anymore” – they come from the era of leaded fuel – “and the high horsepower goes through gas like water.”
So why is Piscitello letting the Vette go?
He has ten cars in his current collection, and when a new one comes in, he lets one go. And although it might be hard to see the ’67 Vette off, he seems ready to move on – and leave the preservation of perfection to another enthusiast.