Published May 03, 2012
It didn’t go to the Moon, but it sure looks like it did.
A 1967 Chevrolet Corvette once owned by Neil Armstrong is being auctioned on eBay.
The blue coupe sat unused in a garage since 1981, before being purchased by its current owner in February of this year. It’s in barely running condition, but is mostly original. Aside from a new carburetor, water pump, muffler and wheels, the only major modification is a set of poorly done fender flares.
The fully-documented ‘Vette has a 390 hp 427 cubic-inch V8 running through a four-speed manual transmission and, fitting of a Florida car, factory air conditioning as well as power windows. The odometer shows just 38,148 miles, but as it only has five digits and hasn’t worked since the 1970’s, there’s no telling how much mileage the car really has on it.
According to the seller, the yet-to-be-first man on the Moon took delivery of the ‘Vette in December of 1966 as part of a special program run by Melbourne Chevrolet dealer, Jim Rathman. The enterprising salesman used to offer astronauts a special one year lease deal on ‘Vettes so they would always be seen behind the wheel of the latest model. One of his employees bought the car in 1968 when it was turned in for trade.
Chevrolet’s connection with the space program launched in 1961, when GM President Ed Cole presented the first American in Space, Alan Shepard, with a new 1962 Corvette upon his return. Afterwards six of the seven Mercury astronauts would join him as Corvette owners, with only John Glenn opting for a Chevy station wagon. Many other folks with the right stuff would follow, and the Cape Kennedy Corvette Club held a parade of cars with 30 surviving astronauts on May 7th, 2011, two days after the 50th anniversary of Shepard’s flight.
The auction for Armstrong’s car ends on May 6th, and as of this writing the bidding is closing in on $250,000, about $1 for every mile to the moon. That’s still not enough to meet the unpublished reserve, so the sky’s still the limit for this very unique piece of American history.