Friday, April 12, 2013

Vintage Vettes is like a Corvette car show any day of the week

I could go look at Corvettes every day.  But there just aren’t Corvette shows every day.  So what’s a guy to do?  Well luckily, if you live in the Kansas City area, you can always go to Vintage Vettes in North Kansas City.  There, you’ll find a perfectly lovely selection of Corvettes that will easily fill your Corvette fix.  There are even some other interesting cars in there for the non-Corvette fans (is there such a thing?).

Another fun side story for this trip is that my dad visited the showroom for the first time.  He even drove me over there in his old ’61 Corvette.  Dad bought this car when I was five years old, and I still love riding around in it.  I’ve been riding in that passenger seat for 35-years, and it still looks, smells, and feels the same.  I can’t think of anyplace that connects me to my past better than that, and every memory is a good one.  Such is the power of old cars.  It took a neat picture outside of the Vintage Vettes warehouse, too!

Vintage Vettes had a couple of ‘61s of their own in their inventory as well.  Both were red, but I was kind of drawn to this one.  Their website describes it as “nothing special,” but I don’t necessarily agree with that.  I like that it’s a solid color (the other one had white coves), and it had a lot of potential.  It looked like maybe something had been spilled on it that bubbled up the paint, but you could have fun driving it without worrying about it.  I know it’s sacrilege to customize an old Corvette, but this one was crusty enough that you could do a few early-‘60s modifications and have something pretty cool.  If only I had an extra $50-grand lying around …

Midyears are always my favorites.  Here’s a ’63 roadster that looked pretty cool.  That hardtop is always a nice touch on these, and this one has the 360-hp fuel-injection option.  It also has power windows, which is relatively unusual.  The only thing that really took away from the looks of it was the tires, which had an aggressive, modern tread pattern.  But if I had $86,000 to spend on a Corvette, I could also afford to do something about the tires.  If that old mechanical fuel injection is well sorted out, it looks like it could be a fun car to me.

Not everything was a Corvette, however.  If you saw my coverage of the Kansas City International Auto Show, you will notice that the majority of the cars that were in the Kansas City Automotive Museum display are also in this photo album.  Many of my favorites from the Auto Show, including the ’58 Impala convertible, the ’60 Impala convertible, the ’70 Chevelle SS, and both the ’58 and ’66 Corvettes were all here at Vintage Vettes.  They look a little different in this dark warehouse than they did under the neon lights of Bartle Hall, but rest-assured, they’re still just as nice.

This red Camaro Z-28 was hiding in the back of the shop, and they didn’t have anything about it on their website.  I think it’s an ’81, the last year for this generation of Camaro.  I know it’s a nice one.  The Trans Ams of the era always seem to grab the headlines because of the Smokey and the Bandit connection, but these were cool too.  I remember my dad had one as a company car when it was new and I thought it was great when he’d get on it and that little air-flapper would open up behind the hood scoop.

This ’66 Chevy wagon was intriguing.  It was unceremoniously shoved off in the corner, and most of the pieces were in the back.  And it looked like it had been painted with a bug sprayer.  And it had hail dents.  OK, it was in a sad state.  But it had 427 badges on the front fender, and I could see a big block through the grille hole.  It also had factory air conditioning, a factory tach (which moved the clock to that dash-mounted location), and other desirable options.  The way it was equipped, it may have been one of the most unusual cars in the place.  I’d love to see it restored back to the way it’s supposed to be.

The slideshow from my visit is below, or click this link for a better version of the slideshow.  More details can be found at


  1. Pretty sure my memory is correct. If not, please correct me. The Corvette plant was at Natural Bridge & Union Blvd in north St Louis, MO. My dad said that across the street was the old St Louis Browns baseball field. Some of the men that went to our church worked at the Vette plant. Always said there was plenty of overtime. I was talking to one of the men in 1995 and asked about the plant & its history. One thing the gentleman said (this is heresay) was that the Vette plant had the highest rate of union grievances filed for all the GM plants. That was one of the deciding factors in moving the plant to Bowling Green - to get a better employee with a better attitude.Enjoy the column

  2. Wow--sounds like you know a lot more about it than I do! Thanks for sharing the story. :-)