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1968 Corvette Up Close

The Early Days

1968 Corvette, Safari Yellow

For the next two months "Safari" (its new nickname) became my daily driver. I have a 40 minute commute to work in Valencia which usually did not involve traffic. This was a getting to know each other phase.

  • The new (for me) position of the ignition key took some getting used to. It is located on the dash to the upper right of the tachometer. I was constantly going to the steering column and then having to remind myself that no, this car is different and the difference made it special. The steering column ignition mounting on modern cars was a federal requirement designed to reduce auto theft. That's a noble effort which is hard to argue with but it is nice to know that I was starting my car the way the designers wanted it to be started, not the way some insurance lobbyist thought was best.
  • Shifting was a new experience. The five speed manuals that I had been used to for the last 36 years became more of a habit than I had realized. Sometimes while enthusiastically running through the Corvette's four gears, while getting on a freeway for example, I would try to shift it into a non-existent fifth gear.
  • The manual steering was not the big deal I thought it might be. I had been driving a manual steered 1990 Mazda Miata for the last 21 years, which probably helped.
  • Driving a car as distinctive as a 1968 Corvette is different. People, mostly male, (unfortunately) have two questions: "What year is it?" and "What's the engine?". You also soon realize that if you plan on doing something you're not supposed to do, do not do it in a vintage Corvette. Acquaintances are always mentioning "I saw you at the corner of X and Y on Tuesday afternoon".
It took me about two weeks to become comfortable with the car. Comfortable as in a new pair of shoes, which, when first owned, take some getting used to. During that time I was wondering what surprises there might be. I was lucky in that respect; no breakdowns occurred and there wasn't an "OH NO!" moment. All proceeded as well as could be expected. I had purchased the right car.
Vette Set Corvette show, June 11, 2011, Rosies Diner
The first car show for "Safari" was June 11, 2011 at Rosies Diner, Redondo Beach CA. It was sponsored by The Vette Set club. This was something new: participating in a Corvette show as an owner, not a spectator.
Super Car Sunday
Appearance at Super Car Sunday, a regular Sunday morning gathering in Woodland Hills CA. Surrounded by the blue oval competition, Safari was confident.

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Comments (3)

Royal Hibbard(Vancouver, Washington, US)says...

Just wanted to add to my comments. I never thought of the C3 body style as "coke bottle" rather I referred to it as "Mako Shark" type.

Royal Hibbard(Vancouver, Washington, US)says...

Great information thank you for all your work putting this together. I had a 1968 convertible 327/350 hp, LeMans Blue/ white top, 4spd.I bought it in 1970 and it still had the firestone redline tires on it. Two weeks later the right rear axle bearing basicly melted, what a learning experience that was. 10 years later I was the Corvette,heavy duty truck,and motorhome mechanic at lyman Slack Chevrolet in Portland Oregon.A couple of things I noticed as per differences between early and late 68's was the late's had a brace between the fender and the wheel well at the hood hinge area to help keep the Fiberglas from cracking in that area.Also the trim piece that runs under the front fender back to the rear wheel well was black on the early's but silver on the later models (as I remember it ) so I painted mine silver. My steering wheel looked to be wood and I never had a left hand clearance problem with it.

Scotti Von Douglas(St Peters)says...

I Love Corvette Stingrays. Always have‼ i used to work at a Corvette shop in Westport plaza in Maryland Heights Mo. from 1977 to 1982. I've owned a 67 a 73 and a 79. Always something to learn. Great hobby❗

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