In a storage unit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is hidden an 1972 Corvette convertible: Bryar Blue, white top, 454, four-speed, wearing its original Firestone Wide Oval tires, 100 percent stock and un-wrenched upon, with 967 one-owner miles.
After reading Vette’s July 2017 Rare Finds about the 1972 with 3,749 miles discovered in Canada Jim Kevan contacted us.
He had one with many fewer miles, plus Kevan bought his Corvette brand new. But how did this all happen?
Kevan made a trip to Grabiak Chevrolet in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, to order a brand-new 1972 Corvette, when he was single and only 22 years old.
“I was working, but I was still living at home. I met my wife when she was 16 in high school and we were dating. We’re married 43 years now.”
Kevan remembers thinking he better get his Corvette before he started a family and bought a house or he would never be able to get one.
The timing was right.
Kevan was ready to buy the Corvette of his dreams, which would be the hottest in the lineup: a ZR1.
“I talked to my uncle. He set up a meeting. I went out to Grabiak and I told the guy what I wanted, and he said, ‘Son, you don’t want that car.”
“I say, ‘Well, I drive a GTO and I race it every summer night across the McKeesport Bridge.’ And he says, ‘Son, this is nothing like your GTO.’ He said this car here is a race car. This car is radio delete. It has standard steering. He says you couldn’t handle this car. I said I think you’re wrong. I drag race every night. And he said ‘Son, this is nothing like you are used to,’ and I bought into it. I wasn’t going to argue.”
Kevan ordered a 454 instead.
He was aware the emissions had lowered LS5’s horsepower rating to 270 but the potential was there for an easy 425.
After purchasing the Vette, Kevan contacted his insurance agent at Donegal and was shocked to hear an annual rate of about $1,200, that was too much after writing a check for $6,200 for the Vette.
“I said are you kidding me? He said you’re 22 years old. You’re not married and you want a Corvette insured? He said if I would wait until I was 25 and married the rate would go down to about $400.”
The man garaged the Vette, but a few times he drove it round trip to Grabiak (50 miles each way) four times “through the park”.
“All my buddies were saying how could you have a new Corvette sitting in the garage and not drive it? And I said well I had no choice. I couldn’t take a chance. I was in the midst of buying a home. We were getting married and planning a family, and I couldn’t take a chance on driving without insurance, so as much as it killed me, that’s why I ended up putting it in the garage. And then by the time I turned 25 and married, we already had a couple kids and now the Corvette wasn’t a big issue.”
He didn’t plan to park the amazing Corvette for 40 years in the garage but that is what happened.
“I was thinking if I keep that mileage under 1,000, it’s going to be one of a kind. If it goes over 1,000 miles, it’s like the old sale price, $99.99 seems like a bargain compared to $100. That’s why I never put it back on the road again.”
Kevin wonders how much a 967-mile ZR1 would be worth, and how much his life would have been different owning that car all these years.
He’s gone over that ordering session with Grabiak several times.
“If I would have told him, hey look, this is what I want. I’m willing to pay an extra $1,000. You either order it or I’ll go to another Chevy dealer that will order it. There were 20 of them made in 1972: 20 ZR1 packages. I mean, to be that close to getting one and not getting one, oh man.”
But Kevan got the next best thing, an LS5 454, which he ordered in a convertible that has a great color combination.
“It eats me to this day when I see how much fun I could have had driving that car new, but then there’s the other side that says well you still got this car now and you got it with 900 miles.”
For sure Jim Kevan has the lowest mileage 1972 Corvette on the planet.
In a 454 that is a big deal.
If the 22-year-old Kevan had been a little more persistent, the Corvette hobby might have a one-owner 1972 ZR1 with less than 1,000 miles.