Jimmy Moran and Mike Kuybida (The Jersey Boys).
Two for the Road Trip
It was one of those typical February nights in 2007. The sun had set early and with the darkness the cold had come. There was also a little dampness in the air which was part of the average February nights in Jersey. Anyone who has spent a February living in New Jersey knows exactly what I mean. But this night was going to end up stirring dreams in the two life long friends that were working together in my garage.
Mike Kuybida and I were working on my 1975 Corvette as we had done many times before. We had been friends since meeting at the Jersey Corvette Club back in the mid 1960s. Not only were we close friends because of the cars we loved, but our friendship went deeper than just the Corvettes. We had many common interests and our families enjoyed social events together over the 40 plus years. But, the bond between us had started even before we met.
Mike's first Corvette--a 1960.
A Friend in Deed
In the early 1960s, never having met, we both bought 1960 maroon Corvettes. Mike's had a white soft-top (this is a picture of Mike's) and mine had a black convertible top. By the time I met Mike at a Jersey Corvette Club meeting, the '60 Vettes had been sold and newer ones were owned. I loved the cars and the mystique that went with them since I first saw pictures of the 1953 white one at the GM Motorama Auto Show in New York City. A life long love for Corvettes had formed long before I was able to drive and or to buy my own. When I first met Mike he mentioned that he had experienced the same feelings when he first set his eyes on a Corvette and this helped sealed the bond between us.
During the 1960's we both had a couple of mid-year Corvettes, but in 1968 when the C3 arrived, we had to have them. Without talking to each other regarding what we would order, Mike and I both purchased '68 LeMans blue cars with matching interiors....Mike had a roadster with a white soft-top and I had the first T-top (picture of my car). Both cars had some issues with body structure and a few other minor issues. I had a 400/427 engine with the 3x2 setup and Mike had the 350/350. We both had 4 speed transmissions, so there were fun cars to drive--most of the time.
Jimmy's 1968 big block.
During the summer of 1968, after having a few bad experiences with the cars, we both decided to order 1969 Corvettes. This time we did discuss all the options prior to visiting the dealer. We ordered roadsters. War bonnet yellow with black interiors and black soft-top's, we couldn't wait to get them. We were both signing up for the 427s....I had one in the '68 and loved it. Back in that era, gas was still relatively inexpensive and gas mileage was not taken into consideration, but power was!
Then the bad news--the St. Louis plant where Corvettes were manufactured went on strike. The strike lasted approximately 6 months and during that time I had gotten engaged and cancelled the order on my car. Mike had also gotten engaged but instead of cancelling his order, he opted to move it forward a year and waited for the 1970 models. Instead of a convertible, he changed the order to a T-top in green with a beige interior (Mike's 1970 when it was purchased). Mike still has this car. A few years back, Mike had the engine rebuilt and he is now getting ready to put the car back to its original state. Each year when we journey to Corvettes at Carlisle and Mike continues to buy more of the parts he needs or wants to replace. Needless to say, we will be working on this project together and hopefully having fun doing it. To add fun to the project, Mike is seriously considering taking the body off the chassis which will allow us to refurbish the chassis, put new brake lines in and replace all the body mounts. Once we get started, we are going to have several fun months of work ahead. But for us, working on Corvettes is almost as much fun as driving them.