The "daily driver." Usually, this moniker is given to a pretty reliable four-wheeled machine that serves as nothing more than steady, unfaltering transportation; the ride to and from work, back and forth from the grocery store, and darn near everywhere else that our needs and wants direct us. For first year drivers, the daily driver is sometimes what used to be either mom or dad's old car, for others, it's what $100 a week working part time at TGI Fridays with tips can get you (and that isn't much).
During college, the quality of cars varies from the usual hand-me-down, the high school graduation gift, which tend to be nicer, and the same old beater. Depending on marital status, the bachelor or bachelorette's car can differ as well. But, even under the most ideal of circumstances, it's rare when one's daily driver-and only source of transportation-is an original '66 327-powered Sting Ray.
Freddy Bruder, a proud employee of the United States Postal Service, picked up this Mosport Green '66 Corvette on March 4, 1966. Specifically for the '66 model, certain changes were made from the previous model, though subtle. An egg-crate pattern was cast with the plated mesh-style grille, while additional "Corvette" scripted tags adorned the hood that now was smooth from the previous year's faux ventilated version. Slated as a base-optioned Corvette, the $4,000-plus shark consumed most of Freddy's paycheck, making it his only source of transportation. Freddy took the Vette everywhere he had to go, no doubt making him the main attraction in his company parking lot for quite some time. When Freddy wasn't going about his daily business, he pulled the Sting Ray up to the staging lights and drag raced the convertible every now and again. Letting the 300 horses stretch their legs was merely a perk to driving the '66 drop-top wherever Freddy went.
The base engine's overall performance was boosted from the '65 model from 250 ponies to 300 with the then-standard-for-1966 Holley carburetor. What that meant was more "bang" for Freddy's buck. But Freddy didn't buy this Corvette totally stripped of everything. He did opt for the $131 optional side-exit leg pipes and close-ratio four-speed manual transmission. Those options bolted to the 300-horse 327 made for a fun little screamer that could hold its own against anyone, from the kids in Mustangs to the euro-snobs in cloth-top Italian roadsters. Freddy kept driving the Corvette regardless of rain, sleet, or snow. (Would you expect anything else from a postal worker?) Freddy, since that spring in 1966, has taken this Sting Ray across thirty-seven states, having to tow it home only a few times.
But what makes this long-range missile most impressive is that over the lifespan of the car, it has totaled up 275,000-plus miles on the odometer! Now, don't be fooled, the Corvette has needed some help every now and again to make it this far. Freddy admitted that parts were replaced over the years when things went awry. Back in 1991, Freddy felt is was time to give his roadster a fresh start, so he left his Sting Ray in the hands of Chip Whittington at The Paint Works in Woodbridge, Virginia. The Corvette received a new coat of lacquer Mosport Green just like it did before being finally assembled back in 1966. Freddy also had the interior touched up with new black vinyl covers by Seatco in Falls Church, Virginia, making the Corvette suddenly look 25 years younger.
Freddy boasts taking this...
Freddy boasts taking this drop-top beauty across 37 states. That's a heck of a travel log. The seats have since been recovered and repadded with new foam.
In 1994, Werner's Corvettes was given the green light to revive the Corvette's stout 327. Refreshed and ready to go, the small block still punches out the same magic 300 hp that it was bred to produce. Freddy loved the drop-top Corvette just the way it came so he kept almost everything just how the factory left it. Even the wheels and tires are identical to the day it left the dealership. He did treat himself to an aftermarket radio so that he could enjoy some cruising music while on the road. Though Freddy has another car to serve as his daily transport for around town and the Corvette now is registered amid the rank of other NCRS Corvettes, he still indulges in pulling the convertible out and driving it like he did for some many years without fail. Having lived with the Corvette for so long, experiencing so much of life behind its wheel, Freddy joked with us, "if only someone had paid me $10 for each time I've waxed the car, I could retire." CF
Freddy Bruder's '66
Corvette by the Numbers
by Alan Colvin
Engine: 327 ci
Transmission: Muncie Four-Speed
Engine Code suffix: HE
Casting No. 3858174
Casting No.: 3782461 or 3890462 (cast iron)
Intake/Exhaust Valve Size: 1.94/1.50
Combustion Chamber: 62.076
Intake Manifold (Cast Iron
Casting No. 3872783
Casting (Left Hand) No. 3846559
Casting (Right Hand) No. 3872765
Stamping No. 1111153
Engine/HP/Application: 327/300 hp
Housing: Cast Iron External Adjustment
Notes: Tach Drive, Vacuum Advance
1100693, 37 Amp, All 327
Four-Speed Close Ratio Muncie M21
Extension Housing: Aluminum
Type: Synchromesh, all forward gears
Gear Ratios: 1st: 2.20:1
Maincase Casting No.: 3885010
Extension Housing Casting No.: 3857584
Sidecover Casting No.: 3884685
When Freddy picked up the...
When Freddy picked up the Sting Ray in March of 1966, he didn't skimp on some of the General's cooler options such as these side pipes and the four-speed manual gear box.