The car: 1980 Corvette T-top coupe
The owner: Mark Brandwein, Merced
What are the key features of your vehicle? Non-California car, 350 small block/four-speed, 78,000 original miles.
What did you have to do to get it in its present state? Had to repaint the back half of the car, fix up the brakes, have some interior work done and a sound system.
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What else do you want to do to it? All that is left to do is get the air conditioning working.
How did you acquire your vehicle? I bought it from a friend who needed to sell it to provide needed funds for his business.
Why did you pick that particular vehicle and what do you find appealing about it? I have always loved Corvettes. This one came along at a time when I could afford it and it didn’t need a great deal of work.
What started your love affair with cars? I started working on cars when I was 13. An old mechanic started teaching me, working in his garage behind his house. I worked in service stations all my growing-up years, which was really fun during the Minnesota winters. I’ve been in love with cars my entire life.
What advice would you give others about starting such a project? Make sure you have the time, workspace and, of course, money!
Do you have any other collector vehicles or project cars? I also have a 1965 Pontiac LeMans in GTO trim, and a 1975 Jeep CJ5 that I did as a U.S. Army Jeep.
What’s your favorite memory about this ride? I haven’t had it long enough yet to build many memories. I just love driving it on country roads in the evening with my wife, with the tops off and the tunes up.