Joe Atkins’ Corvette Love Story

Filling Station Hangout

1967 Corvette Convertible

1967 Corvette Convertible

As a young boy I grew up around a filling station, that’s a gas station to you young folks, and observed many cars passing through.   I started around the time I was 7 or 8 years old until I was around 30 years old. There were always car buff’s hanging around there. I remember a ’47 Ford coup w/406, 4-speed; a ’49 Mercury with 389 tri-power 4-speed; a ’55 Chevy hard-top; and numerous high performance Dodges and Plymouths. What really got my attention was when a yellow 1967 Corvette convertible with black interior and a wicked 4-speed came rolling in. Wow, that was an awesome car!

One day a customer of my Dad’s filling station called and said he was in jail. He was a construction worker and was from out of town. His bond was $3,000.00 and he asked my Dad if he could loan him the money and he could hold the title of his Corvette for collateral. His Corvette was a convertible 1965 Nassau blue with white

interior and a 4-speed. So sure enough they made the deal and I got to drive it and keep it clean hoping the he wouldn’t come back after it. On the last day he returned and paid back the money, took his car, and left me with “Corvette” fever forever!

I’m Gettin My Own Corvette!

Then along came a 1968 convertible with a 327 cubic inch engine and a 4-speed; a ’69 T-top coupe with a 350 cubic inch engine, and a ’75 red coupe with black interior. This is about the time I decided to take the plunge to order my own new Corvette. So in October 1978 I went to the local Chevy dealer to order a ’78 SA Edition but was told it would have to be a ’79 as the model change was already in effect. I decided to ordered a red 1979 with oyster white interior. This baby would be optioned with a 350 cubic inch engine, L82 automatic, T-tops, and much more. I was told it would be about eight weeks for delivery.1979 Red Corvette

Three months passed and still no new Corvette. Five months passed and still no new Corvette. I went to the dealer and saw a red 1979 Corvette with black interior that was loaded. I asked if that was my new vehicle and the dealer said no. He told me that a doctor had ordered this car and it was going to be shipped to Germany. I asked about my Corvette and they said it had not been built yet.

It was April and car shows were just about to start and I had no new Corvette to show off. I happened to be in Evansville one day where I knew a salesman at the local Chevy dealership. I went in and asked him how I could check on the status of my new Corvette order. He gave me the number to the St. Louis plant. I was told that they did not have an order number in their system for my new Corvette. I asked them how I could find out where my Corvette went. They said for me to call the local area representative and he could help me. I called him and was surprised to find out that my order had been cancelled. I’ve been waiting since November of 1978 for this car! Boy was I upset! I had all this paperwork tied to a car that I wasn’t going to get.

Still No New Corvette…

I continued to talk to the rep and he said “If I can still get the car made, do you still want it”? Of course I said yes. He told me to call him back in one week and he would tell me if he could get it done for me. One week later I called and was told my 1979 Corvette would be delivered on June 21, 1979. Meanwhile, there had been a price increase since I placed my order in November and since I had my price quote sheet and an order confirmation number I wasn’t going to have to pay the price increase.

Sure enough when June 21st came, my new Corvette arrived! Boy was I happy to see her! I kept that beautiful car 20 years and only put 19,979 miles on it. I loved taking it to car shows over the years and most folks really seemed to like my Corvette when on display.

Corvette Fever Strikes Again!

Joe Adkins' Convertible 1997 Corvette

Joe Adkins’ Convertible 1997 Corvette

Then in 1999 I got the fever for another one and purchased a red convertible 1997 C5 with black interior. It was only two years old and had 18,000 miles on her…boy what a car! I decided to inquire to see if anyone would be interested in the ’79 and ran an ad in the classifieds with a price higher than I thought anyone would pay. To my surprise I got an offer and couldn’t back out. I learned a valuable lesson; never price anything you don’t want to sell.

Many good things came from owning the Corvettes over the years as I’ve met numerous good people. Some closer than others and some I can count on anytime I have a Corvette question.


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