I was recently in the car with my nephew, coming back from an afternoon trip to the mall in the Barracuda and enjoying the weather when Pink Floyd’s “Time” came on the radio. What struck me wasn’t the lyrics of the song, but the way the melody and words seemed to reach my nephew in the same way they had affected me when I was that age. We enjoyed listening to the song so much, that I dug out my old record player when we got home.
This moment got me thinking about what truly makes a classic. Is it critical reverence? The song certainly had it. Popular appeal? That was also the case. But, I think the answer lies in its ability to make you go the extra mile for something.
And in the case of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, it is undoubtedly a classic vehicle car owners routinely go the extra mile for this car. This has lead to heavy praise from news sources like Edmunds.com, which noted that, “more than four decades after its introduction, the 1963 Corvette remains one of the most startling, engrossing and completely delightful automotive designs of all time.”
But, this reverence is also backed by personal stories. In the March issue of Popular Hot Rodding magazine, Johnny Hunkins profiled the story of car owner Mark Rife, whose 1963 Corvette has helped him through the ups and downs of life.
Rife’s ‘vette is certainly a performance wonder. With a 427 ci LS7 engine providing more than 450 horsepower, a Tremec five-speed transmission and an original frame, the car has helped him compete in auto events like the Goodguys Columbus and Goodguys Indy autocross events.
But, what makes his car truly special – and this Corvette in general – is how it has the power to help people through adversity. After Rife’s wife died of pancreatic cancer, he was able to complete the trip out west they had planned but never taken. There aren’t many cars that help people live their dreams and find peace, but the ’63 ‘vette seems to be able to do just that.
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