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This 1967 427/400 With Air and Automatic from Corvette Mike Is A Car Worthy of a Great Story And A Big Bid

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This car is a true Time Machine and it is selling on Bring A Trailer on Friday.


From Corvette Mike Vietro:

How this rare 1967 427/400 AC Auto A. I. R. Corvette Convertible was found….

I wanted to share with you the story of how I came to acquire this very rare and unique Corvette. It all started back around circa 1985 . . .

My sales manager at that time, was Mike C. On yet another sunny and perfect day in Orange County, CA, he took a call from a tipsy guy who claimed he had a ’67 (Sunfire) yellow Corvette convertible with a black leather interior and a 400 hp 427.

Wait, it gets better. Imagine a 400 with AC, automatic, and A. I. R. (smog pump), a convertible with full power options, headrests and a vinyl hardtop missing as well as the center caps on what looked like original Kelsey Hayes aluminum wheels. Pinch me, am I dreaming?

Missing? Yes, he claimed the hardtop was missing because two weeks earlier, a couple of derelict-type individuals stole it right off the car sitting in his outdoor carport. You can’t make this shit up.

It was about that time also as I recall that a couple of thugs came to my shop selling what appeared to be the exact hardtop off of this car. Of course, I couldn’t prove it, and I didn’t mention it because we made an appointment for me to come visit and check out this rare and unbelievable car—if it truly existed!!

When I arrived in Santa Ana, a stone’s throw away from my shop, I finally got to meet the owner, George G. — a large man with urban sensibilities and a cook at the local hotel, who explained that he drank beer continuously. That made sense, as empty beer cans were everywhere, clanking around in the rear compartment. George had bought the convertible when he returned home from Vietnam at Cormier Chevrolet in Long Beach, California. At this showroom, he had his choice between this yellow 427 fire-breathing dragon or a beautiful Marina Blue 350 hp air-conditioned coupe. Can you even imagine those days and those choices?

George was worried, given his propensity to drink, that he’d get pulled over and the cops would confiscate the car. And worse yet, he would receive a DUI. The hardtop was recently stolen, and he was sure the whole car was next.

The tri-carb hydraulic lifter 427 was smoking, a sure sign of neglect and a lot of miles driven.

Given that 435s were trading for about $6,000 in the early ’80s, I peeled off $5,000 cash and placed it on the fender. I said, “George, either you pick it up, or I will.”

Of course, he picked it up. Needless to say, he needed and wanted the cash; no doubt, visions of beer brewing burned a hole in his brain. And keep in mind this car needed a complete frame off restoration.

I quickly got the signed pink slip and scurried off to Orange, California, to park my new-found treasure in the showroom amongst her other stable mates.

Weeks later . . . A group of guys from Texas came to visit, stopping by on one of their jaunts to California to look for cars to restore. This group included Mike Pillsbury, Gary Nabers, and Ken Nabers, well-known for their excellent C2 Corvette restorations. After a lengthy inspection and discussion, Pillsbury said, “We’ll give you sixteen thousand, and you keep the bolt-on wheels.” They also gave me first dibs post-resto, which I insisted on.

A couple of years later, we all met in June 1987 at the Bloomington Gold Corvette show, where they said their price would be $42,000. So, I bought it back. Completely restored to perfection by Nabers Bros.

We had to fix a bunch of small items before judging in the parking lot of Dale Smith’s OEM glass company in Bloomington, Illinois. Those were the good old days when we would have a barbecue, hang out, and get the cars ready before Sunday’s judging event.

We all miss those days—those of us who are still alive, that is. The Sunfire yellow, rarer than hen’s teeth, had achieved its Bloomington Gold certificate and was now back on a truck heading to Orange County, California. I still have that Gold Certificate.

Back on the streets of OC, the transmission developed a problem. Once repaired and the car now priced at $55,000, a fellow Bostonian named John R. was in visiting and took a long look at it and bought it with cash plus he bought my 1964 Tripower AC GTO convertible 4-speed.

Can you even believe those early days of finding cars like that on dealer lots in rust-free California?

John eventually sold it years later. The car circulated to a few other owners before it ended up in New Jersey with another client of mine, George. I think it was George who then sold it at Kissimmee Jan of 2020. The car fetched a handsome price and the high bidder was none other than the same JOHN from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Again you can’t make this shit up!!

John did a bunch of small, knickknack restoration items, preparing it to go back to Bloomington Gold in 2021 to be reunited with other 427 Corvettes of the same era on the show field once again. John achieved his certificate of gold and was a proud peacock.

John fought cancer and died in the fall of ’23. His widow and I had many conversations about the collection of cars that John had amassed over the last five years to keep his mind off his illness. I wanted to be reunited with this amazing 1967 Corvette, having bought it from the original owner. So, a deal was struck, and all 4 cars headed west to my Southern California Showroom. Viper, Ford GT, Demon and my old yella!

And I’m proud to say, it looks great in my showroom some 39 years later, circa 2024.

I make it a point to stay in touch with all of my clients, who have become my friends over the years. I take great pride in representing these cherished Corvettes, of which I know the in-depth story since I bought so many of them from the original owners back in the good old days.

Sincerely, and fondly remembered, Corvette Mike Vietro

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