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59Tom and others, please read this

Bo Dillingham

Well-known member
Jun 23, 2001
Cortland, NY, 13045, USA
1965 crimson pearl (2002 cadillac?)
To Tom, Steve, Billagroom, William, and all who responded to my questions of late, Thank you very much. I thought you might appreciate the story of my Corvette, and why I am trying to figure out so many things.

The 1965 Corvette convertible belonged to my brother in law and dearest friend, Charley Lella. He was killed in a plane crash in 1970. He was a foreman for the local Chevy dealer, so he was allowed to buy one car a year at cost. Since he could make the most money on Corvettes, he bought one every year and sold it at a profit. He fell in love with the ’65, so it became his baby. When I graduated from college in 1968, Charley arranged to buy a 1968 Chevelle Malibu convertible for me at cost, thus sacrificing his own annual buy. He also is the guy who helped me restore my first car, a 1951 Ford.

When he died in the plane crash, my sister got the car, and drove it for about 15 years. During that time, she got into three accidents, but always got the car repaired. When she got too old to handle it, my nephew got it, and has been driving it ever since. A long time ago, I told him that I would buy the car from him if he ever got into financial trouble, and take good care of it until he could buy it back.

I got that phone call a few months ago. Since I have only a two car garage, I had to sell my 68 Chevelle to make room for the 65 Corvette. I would rather have my brother in law alive and have my Chevelle back, but I gave my nephew my word.

I worked on the Chevelle constantly until 1987, when my job started to take me all over the world. I guess that makes me an old gearhead; 14 years out of practice. Today, I stopped at an auto parts store and asked for a set of AC-44 spark plugs, and the kid behind the counter looked at me like I just came out of Jurassic Park. I guess they quit using the number 44 some time ago?

At any rate, I have rebuilt smallblocks, altered all the systems in a car, successfully experimented with vapor injection, swapped all kinds of parts, rebuilt many many parts including all kinds of carburetors, and done my share of body work. At one time I took the Chevelle down to the frame, sandblasted, primed and painted everything all the way back together. It’s just been a long time since then, and I have never worked on a Corvette (except to swap engines for a friend).

With this in mind, I hope you will continue to help me, as I will need it. Neither my sister nor my nephew know anything about cars; this poor thing needs everything, including a new frame (or at least the rear half). I am not at all worried about original parts or restoration; it is too far gone. But I do want to fix it up and make it safe to bomb around in. It will never be worth the money and time that I plan to invest, but I figure that I will be returning it to my nephew in about ten years, and I want to give a nice car. Charley was a insatiable gearhead, and I know that he would do the same thing. He is undoubtedly the one who swapped the parts that are already non-1965.

Thanks again for all your help; I hope you understand where I’m coming from.
Bo Dillingham
Bo, I wish, just one of my sisters would have married that good, I also hope that my sisters have as good a brother as you. Having said that, click on my signature, there are pictures of body off restorations there that may give you some idea of what you are getting yourself in to and maybe give you a little help. A picture speaks a thousand words. Once your at my site click on the My 58 icon. It is a 58 I did for a guy, and there are a lot of pictures there. I'll let Tom give you the numbers and we all, will help with the work................Steve

It is a noble cause to save a car that has so much meaning to you. I fully understand. I totally enjoy figuring out these old Corvettes so anything I can help you with I will.

I know how the frames rust in the rear and I saw one at Bloomington rusted at the front of the side rails. Repair sections are available but maybe the smart thing to do would be to get a good solid rust free complete frame and build on it. You would have to check out the Corvette used parts businesses out west. There should be a lot of frames in the desert states southwest of you.

See a doctor QUICK

You have one ( of many cases ) of "The Fever"
Which all of us have... if you haven't gathered that by now.

Your story is quite moving.. I would be proud to assist in any form possible which I'm sure everone else here shares the same feeling.( Electrical & AC are my bag )

I cracked up at the 44 part..... I get that ALL the time...Kids these days >>>DUH... dude!

Good luck..keep the car on the road... not many left.

old gearheads

I try to thank people who treat me well, but Vigman does not accept e-mail at this site.

So.......Thanks for the kind words, Vigman. As long as youv'e been around long enough to remember 44's, you may want to comment on my "old tune up trick" in the Off Road Discussion forum dated 6-27-01.

Thanks again,


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