My father, Jim Braden, always had fun cars. I don’t remember the 1950(?) Willy’s station wagon or the 1952 (my year of birth) Chevrolet 2-door BelAir hardtop convertible, but I sure can remember his 1955 Chevrolet BelAir 2-door hardtop (265 power pack, powerglide); 1957 Chevrolet BelAir 2-door hardtop (283 power pack, powerglide); and 1960 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon (with air conditioning). Then there was his 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 (4-speed, knee knocker tach., bucket seats – my favorite while I was at home); 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 (3-speed with bench seats – at least it had air conditioning going for it …); 1970 Chevrolet Camaro and a few other Buicks, Lincolns and others for my Mom.
But, in 1973, Dad found a 1964 Corvette convertible and bought it. That was an awesome car, but I was already married and no longer home, so I really didn’t get to enjoy it much. (I’m pleased to tell you that I now have that Vette, although it needs some TLC. Stay tuned!)
Then, a few months later, Dad found a 1966 Corvette convertible that needed some engine work. Dad bought it and had the repairs done to get it back on the road. That was my favorite of the two, as it had the original L-79 and 4-speed. However, it needed repainting back to the original factory silver, along with getting rid of the ugly rear fender flares the previous owner had installed.
In 1977, I tried to buy the ’66 from Dad and have the bodywork and paint done, but he wouldn’t take me seriously. So, in another case of “I’ll show you,” I ordered a brand new 1978 Silver Anniversary Corvette! I kept that Vette for almost eight years before letting it go.