NCRS MEMBER #63625       National Corvette Museum Member 



This is an amazing story about an amazing Corvette!   By Bobby Chestnut

The Journey begins.

For a little history I had bought this 1971 Corvette 454 LS5 Convertible and had just finished restoring it in 1997. I was the 4th owner and bought it from a friend there in Lousiville. In September of 1997, I took it from my home in Louisville, Ky down to the 5th Anniversary National Corvette Museum Show in Bowling Green.

 I parked it on the front flag circle of the NCM  earlier and took a couple hours to look through the Museum.  A buddy and me had just walked out to our Corvettes and got in them to drive it out to the drag strip at Beech Bend for the Corvette Drags, when a bunch of museum people in golf carts stopped me. They asked where I was going and I told them to go race my Corvette.

They pointed to a little grey haired lady and asked if she could sit in my Corvette? I said sure and she got it and started it up! I got a little excited about that and the museum guys all laughed and said “That’s Elfie Duntov…if she wrecks it GM will fix it for you!”   lol

 Well, they had driven EElfi all over the show for her to pick a car that exemplified Zora’s love of Corvettes, "That needed to be driven, raced, and enjoyed" and she did not want to pick a Corvette that was trailed to the show. When she heard that I drove it there from Louisville and was even going to drag race it, that was her pick for sure!

At the awards ceremony that night they presented me with the Nation Corvette Museum Trophy signed by Elfie, Tommy Morrison, Jim Minnick, Reeves Callaway, John Cafaro, and Dave McClellan. It was a beautiful Wooden Bowtie trophy which was stunning.

They also asked me to display the Corvette in the NCM, which was such an honor, and I did for a year.

Life takes mysterious turns and it did with the 1971.  I suffered a heart attack the following year tand had to sell the car to pay bills and lost income while I recuperated.

This 1971 then went through multiple owners including Corvette Only, Unique Corvettes, Future Classics, Conte's Corvettes and several private Corvette Collectors in the next 15 years.s

In  2003 Chis Mazzilli , owner of the Gotham Comedy Club in NYC, bought it and found my name in the paperwork and called me to find out any history on the Corvette I might know. That was the beginning of  a continued friendship, both business and persnal that continues to this day. This was Chris's first Corvette purchase and it got the spark started for his love of Corvettes so much he now not only has 6 Multiple Top Flight Corvettes but is own Corvette Restoration shop, Dream Car Restorations in Hicksville NY    www.dreamcarrestorationsny.com/  and  Dream Car Consulting  http://dreamcarconsulting.com/  of which I am a Team Member.

 I told Chris if he ever sold the 1971....I wanted first shot at it!  He was a man of his word as a year later he found another Corvette he wanted and offered the 1971 to me for sale.  It was twice the price I had bought if for 15 years earlier, but well worth it to get it back. I sold an award winning 1971 GTO and a 1987 Buick Grand National to fund the money to buy it back.

 After I got it back I began taking it to Corvette shows again and it garnered a lot of trophies. It even won several other Celebrity Choice Awards at the NCM in the following years after.

It has been the subject of many magazine articles including Corvette Fever, Super Chevy, and more, and was included in Jerry Heasley’s “Corvette Masterpieces hardcover book too.

 It has been quite a story and quite a special Corvette, as it is the only one in the world that Elfie picked to honor her husband, Zora for that special day at the NCM.

But then the 1971 took another interesting turn of events.  I was always poor enough to have to sell my cars to buy another car, and I did a lot of that and trades too! I got a call one day from someone who had seen the 1971 on this website and asked if it was For Sale?  I told him no. Then he asked "Would I like to trade it for something?" Well, I have done a lot of trading before and asked him what he had. He said "Him and his Dad were collectors and owned a Chevy Dealership in Dallas Texas and would love to have this 1971 Corvette LS5 for display on the showroom. They had 6 brand new 2006 Corvettes and would I like to trade even for one?" Are you kidding me?

 I had about $35000 in the 1971 and all of the Corvette stickered for about $54000.  I had to think about it a long time.  I had bought the 1971 back twice, and it really meant a lot to me, but, I had never had a NEW Corvette.  The temptation was too much!  I traded it and aawy the 1971 went in an enclosed trailer to Texas. I did make them promise to give me first shot at it if they were ever going to sell it though, again.   I always wondered if they were ever going to sell it and wondered if I might still het it back.

 I got ANOTHER call one day in 2017 from a guy who said HE had bought the 1971 and could I fill in some history for him on the Corvette? Deja Vu! The new owner, John Dean, reached out to me as a previous owner to help him research and improve this 1971 Corvette LS5 to NCRS Specs with the idea to do whatever it took  get it Top Flighted.  I told him he needed to join the NCRS and ask about displaying it at the upcoming Regional NCRS Meet in Lousiana. We then worked out a plan to have me help him in this endeavor and get this 1971 to it's highest level of achievement.

 John brought over the 191 and flew me down from Florida to a summer judging meet and school at Roland Boudreaux's Corvette shop in Rayne Lousiana in June .

  The 1971 was just like it was when I sold it back 12 years before. It was an emotional moment when I laid eyes on it again.

I drove the 1971 to all shows and never drove it.  I also never replaced parts on it that had to be replaced with NCRS parts, so, we only got a Third Flight with it. But at least we now got a detailed list of what need to be done to get it to NCRS Top Flight status.

 Next on the agenda was a planned trip to the National NCRS Meet in San Antonio, Texas in  July 2017. This was to be a very special reunion because I had talked with Chris Mazzilli and we decided it would be great to unite me, him, and John together at that event as trhee owners of the same 1971 Corvette LS5!  It was one of the greatest weeks of Corvette freindships between us three. We told many stories about this 1971 and had a great time planning what was going to be done to the Corvette in the future.

 Since then, the 1971 has been trailed over to Roland Boudreaux's Corvette Restoration shop in Rayne, La to get it up to NCRS Top Flight status.  Stay tuned.