Out in the Open

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Though Bright Green ’75 Corvettes aren’t exactly rare, ones that have never been repainted are highly unusual. Thanks to its lack of use and garage storage, this Corvette’s paint has held up remarkably well. However, the paint on the urethane bumper covers had yellowed markedly and begun to crack by the time Smith bought the car. The Corvette had lost is chrome front bumper in 1973 and its shiny rear one in 1974, but the process of painting the rubber covers had yet to be perfected in 1975—and it shows.

Hesitant to alter anything on the car—though new tires were mounted right off the bat—Smith put up with the decrepit appearance of his Corvette’s bumpers for a number of years. In December 2004, he decided to have the bumpers repainted, handing the

car over to Rob English at Restoration Connections in Mays Landing, New Jersey. English replaced the bumper covers with reproduction items then shot them Bright Green, taking pains to make sure the new paint blended into the existing color. “He did a bang-up job,” says Smith, who says that he’s never seen another ’75 Corvette with the same exterior color in the 12 years he’s owned the car. Many people are surprised to learn it is a factory color; they often assume the car sports an aftermarket respray.

National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) judges, on the other hand, know exactly what they’re looking at. Smith’s car has earned Top Flight status at two NCRS events thus far. The car’s originality and mostly unrestored state have been praised by judges. They’re impressed by such things as the water pump being the same item that was bolted on at the St. Louis assembly plant, and that inspection stickers are still present.

The Corvette garners less attention and fewer awards at local “beauty shows,” says Smith. Removed from the the cognoscenti, this ’75 coupe is just another Corvette. It doesn’t have a big-block engine, an elaborate stereo system or acres of chrome. Nevertheless, Smith enjoys entering his car in such events and has plenty of trophies to show for his efforts. He’s become expert in the art of concours preparation. “You learn by doing,” says Smith of his self-taught techniques.

THE CORVETTE HAS NEVER GIVEN SMITH A LICK OF TROUBLE. In the course of maintaining it, he has only needed to have the spark plugs replaced. On the other hand, the odometer reading hasn’t changed all that much. It now reads just over 15,000 miles.

Smith does drive the car regularly, though, usually down the Jersey Shore, with destinations such as Seaside or Wildwood. The longest drive he’s taken it on was from Linden down to Atlantic City, a roughly 100-mile journey. Smith says the Corvette got lots of attention in that party town, which he ascribes to its paint color, as well as its vintage appearance.

Interestingly, a totally different demographic is attracted to it for the same reasons: “Kids really love it,” Smith says, noting that the car causes a stir when he drives by the local grammar school. No longer sequestered away in a garage, this Corvette is out being seen. According to Smith, this fact greatly pleases Joseph Camasta, Sr., who despite moving away from Linden, still likes to hear about his son’s Corvette.

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