Everyone in the Corvette hobby probably has a story about the one that got away. You know-the '67 L88 Corvette you saw behind a guy's house when you were a kid that sat there for years, then disappeared the day before you figured out what it was. Or the '62 fuelie hardtop that sat in the local junkyard for 25 years, complete with the original engine and tranny, only for some dude to buy it and turn it into a glorified go-cart two weeks before you came up with the cash to buy it. These stories seem to haunt us as time marches on. Many of us still hope to stumble upon a mother lode of cars or parts that have been waiting for us to show up with a briefcase full of cash.
This is one such story. Charlie Lillard of Woodland, California, recently shared with us the story of how he bought five Corvettes out of a Brooks, California, barn and garage. While this is probably the Corvette find of the decade, we'll let Charlie tell us what really happened.
"The Corvettes were in an old service station and barn in Brooks, California. All the cars were hauled up here from Southern California 20-plus years ago to be tucked away as investments by a fellow who's now in his eighties. They have been a legend around here for years. People tried to see them, but the owner would very seldom let anyone in. I had known about them for at least 15 years, but had never seen them personally.
"All were California cars; four had black plates and the fifth had a blue personalized plate. There was a '56, two '63 split-windows, and two '67 coupes in the group. The blue '56 was a hot rod. The red '63 was a numbers-matching 75K-mile car with paperwork. It had a 250hp engine with a Powerglide, power steering, power brakes, and windows. The green '63 was a hot rod that's a numbers-matching 300hp/327, but with an added fuel-injection unit that was originally painted Tuxedo Black. The silver '67 was a 51K-mile, original-paint, numbers-matching, 327/300hp four-speed car. The yellow '67 was a 327/300hp numbers-matching automatic with 48K miles, A/C, and power steering."
Charlie continues, "When the family decided to sell them, somehow a friend of mine was told about it and I got a phone call. I dropped everything and was there within the hour. I was able to reach an agreement with the owners to buy them all, including the parts they had accumulated over the years. It was exactly 19.6 miles from my driveway to theirs, and I made five trips to get the cars home with my one car trailer. It was kind of a quest to see who would end up with them. All the cars have now found new homes. Four of the five Corvettes ended up going to Musclecars Northwest in Renton, Washington. I have to say that the adventure of finally buying the Corvettes was well worth the effort."
What a story. Let's take a look at what Charlie found in that barn.