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Extreme Vetting Failure

In the spring of 2010 a few months ahead of Coletta's 40th High School Reunion we had the occasion to visit with one of Sade's West Virginia pals. Her dad had recently completed a "restoration" of 1977 Corvette. We looked it over, it was pretty nice looking as you can see below. He told me he had put it together and painted it. I had the impression he had done a first class restoration. Boy was I wrong!

We left, and got to talking about how neat it would be for Coletta to drive up in that car. We called the guy and asked him what he was asking, the price was right and we told him we were interested. He said this: "Let me drive it around a bit to work out any bugs, I wouldn't want to ruin our friendship." We gave him several weeks, and the next time we spoke he said this, "Every time I take it out, it runs better."

So two months after we first set eyes on it, we bought it. I took it from his home 15 minutes from our lake house and parked it in the garage waiting for Memorial Day weekend 2010 the date of the 40th Reunion.

I drove up to the lake house from Maryland, parked my car and fired up the Vette, and drove her the 50 miles to Grafton on the curvy mountain road Route 50 presents. I turned the car over to Coletta who took her best friend for a ride and then back to town. I regained control of her, and the only glitch; the headlight switch. When I pulled the knob, the headlights came ON and the knob came OFF. I was able to turn the lights OFF later by fitting the shaft back into the hole from whence it came.

On Sunday, with Coletta following close behind we left Grafton and headed home to Maryland on the highway. We got as far as Hagerstown (half way home) when it started smoking. Badly. I pulled off the highway into a gas station. Popped the hood. Mechanic came out - "Looks like you blew a transmission coolant line. One of my mechanic's fathers works on Vettes, I'll give him a call.

He showed up, told me his Dad would be glad to have the car to work on and I followed him to his Dad's shop with Coletta following behind. That is where the Vette stayed for the next eight (8) months. Why?

Over the phone I instructed the Hagerstown mechanic to check out ALL the rubber hoses, belts, etc. and give it a good check up. "Oh, and could you replace the headlight switch?" I asked. When he pulled the dash to effect this repair he found: Instrument Cluster cracked in half and bondoed together. All the wires and cables to the heat and AC and vent were disconnected and vacuum hoses cut and stuffed with golf tees. The tires did not fit in the wheel wells and were rubbing the fenders. The coupling leading from the steering shaft to the front axel, the one with the rubber bushing? No bushing, metal to metal, close to failing all together. You could say the "friendship" ended right there.

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