THE CAR AND ITS OWNER: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette convertible owned by Chris Mazzilli
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING: With its high fenders and low pointed snout, the third-generation Corvette -- known as the C3 and built from 1968 to 1982 -- could trace its roots back to General Motorsa 1965 Mako Shark II show car penned by legendary auto designer Larry Shinoda. Today, C3 convertibles and coupes continue to gain in desirability, especially the earlier cars with chrome bumpers. Mazzilli says he believes his award-winning ride may be unique because it is so loaded with factory options. "Apparently," he says, "the original owner purchased the car for his wife, which explains the long list of options, including the 427(cubic inch)/390 horsepower engine, automatic transmission, power windows, shoulder belts (1 of 600), rear defogger (1 of 2,485), 3.08 "Positraction" rear end, power brakes, speed warning indicator (1 of 3,561), AM/FM stereo radio and red leather interior (1 of 181). The original price was $5,660.95."
HOW LONG HE'S OWNED IT: Since 2004
WHERE HE FOUND IT: Mazzilli bought it from a California owner. "I grew up in Northport and have loved cars as far back as I can remember," he says. "My Dad worked for Chevrolet back in the 1950s and early '60s. I started looking for a C3 in the early '80s. About 20 years later, I found a great car."
CONDITION: "It only had 55,000 miles and the original documentation included the bill of sale, the window sticker and the vehicle invoice," Mazzilli says. "Everything was original, but the paint was showing its age so I had it repainted in its correct factory color of 'Monza Red.' "
TIPS FOR OWNERS: "Figure out what you want -- what is really going to make you happy -- and go out and find it," he advises. "If you are not an expert, have someone who knows about the particular car you are looking for check it out. It may cost you a few hundred dollars, but in the long run it will be worth it. Have fun and enjoy the process."
VALUE: He estimates the Corvette is worth $65,000 to $70,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE: "It's rare to find a 'big block' Corvette that has not been abused and has its original components and drive train," Mazzilli says. "I lucked out because the original owner had this car for 30 years and it was well cared for. Every time I open my garage and take the cover off, I still can't believe it's my car."