A Trip Down '76 Stingray Memory Lane

Based on what I was told by the second owner the day I bought my new (to me) 1976 Corvette Stingray, the car was originally purchased by a guy who owned several other Corvettes.

According to the story, the original owner drove the car for a while, then stored it in his garage where it sat neglected for many years, along with the other Vettes, serving duty as a shelf for countless boxes, old carpet remnants, and other junk.

When it was finally "rescued" by the second owner, the original silver metallic paint (code 13) was faded, and in some areas badly scratched thanks to years of boxes being thrown and dragged over the car.

After taking possession of the Vette, the second owner took it to a local shop for much-needed bodywork and a color change. I was told that he picked a shade of red he liked out of a Mercedes Benz color chart and I have to say that he chose well.

The paint code, if it was ever available, was most-likely lost over the years which is a shame since it would have come handy when I had a few spots repainted. One of these days I will have it scanned properly to once and for all, determine the name of the mysterious and lovely shade of red, which I refer to as "Lipstick Red."

The only photos of the Vette at the body shop are four old Polaroids®. Remember, this was about twenty years ago before we all walked around with smartphones in our pockets with high-resolution cameras.

Vehicles always look horrible before coats of fresh paint are applied. Needless to say, proper surface preparation is crucial for a great finish.

Wait for it... I guess even back in 2000 there was always someone ready to photobomb a picture. But all kidding aside, I am not sure if the front bumper skin was replaced or they just sanded the paint down to the urethane. I never asked the seller since I just noticed this detail.

However, the fit was horrible and I had the front clip repainted a couple of years ago to fix the poor alignment issues.

The photo above shows one of the factory-painted bumperettes which were left painted red until I purchased the Vette. I've never cared for that look which—in my opinion—screams "REPAINTED!"

I was pleasantly surprised to see that they removed the doors in order to do a proper color change. Some shops don't even bother with that and the results are always terrible.

Having said that, they did cut a few corners, something that's confusing since it's easy to see they went the extra mile in other areas.

I wish I had more old photographs of my Vette, but these are the only ones I was given. Fortunately, the previous owner also gave me a bunch of invoices showing work that was done on the car as well as parts he purchased from different shops and Corvette parts vendors over the years.

Some of the old receipts also verified the authenticity of the low mileage of the car, something that I was happy to see and obtain.

During my ownership of the car, I have organized all the documentation I have collected in two large ring binders, and I am close to starting binder number three.

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