Islander’s 1967 Sting Ray still has value and cachet
Wouldn’t it be nice to be like the Chevrolet Corvette? To start off up near the pinnacle of cool — among the elite of things powerful, sleek, stylish and sexy — and then just keep getting cooler as the years roll by?
The 1967 Corvette models turned 50 this year, but have grown exponentially in both value and cachet during those five decades.
The 1967 model year marked the end of Corvette’s second generation, the final year of the Sting Ray name and, many collectors would argue, a high point in both styling and performance for America’s sports car.
In honor of that benchmark birthday, consider the ’67 Sting Ray convertible owned by Kathi Richardson of Galveston.
Richardson and her late husband, Randy, were Corvette enthusiasts, owning many examples over the years, she said. She now has four — the ’67, a 1958 convertible, 1963 split-window coupe and a 2002 model.
And Richardson has been more than a passenger in the Corvette lifestyle. She set two National Council of Corvette Clubs drag-racing records in the ’58, including one 11.92 quarter-mile time, she said.
But while that early Vette put her in a record book, she shares a special connection with the ’67. For one thing, it rolled off the assembly line the same year she walked across the stage at Ball High School to receive her diploma. More important, however, is what the car meant to her husband, who died in 2013, she said.
“Yellow is my favorite color, but I had to work really hard to talk my husband into buying a yellow car,” she said. “Back then, yellow meant a lemon; you just didn’t buy a yellow car.
“It turned out to be his favorite, though. That was his baby. He might get rid of the rest of them, but not that ’67.”
Chevy built about 23,000 Corvettes in 1967, according to the “Corvette Black Book” by Mike Antonick. Well more than half of those, a little more than 14,400, were convertibles. Richardson’s car, however, was among a much smaller pool.
More than 13,000 of the ’67 models came equipped with 327 cubic-inch V8s.
Richardson’s was among the remaining 10,000 that hit the road with Chevy’s fabled 427 cubic-inch V8. Hers is rarer still because it is among only about 2,100 “Tri-Power” Corvettes that came equipped with three Holley two-barrel carburetors and rated at about 400 horsepower.
Hers also came with factory air-conditioning.
The car is original, except that it has been repainted once in the same “Sunfire Yellow” paint that it came with new. Despite the bias against yellow cars, Sunfire was the fifth most popular of nine colors offered that year, adorning 2,325 units, according to the black book.
Richardson has owned the car since 1986, a year before it became a “classic,” by some definitions of the word. After more than 30 years, she plans to part with it, but not soon and not for a lot money.
“I told my grandson that he could have the car when he turns 30, provided he learns how to drive a stick — because all my Corvettes have manual transmissions — and earns a four-year college degree,” Richardson said.
Connor Richardson, 22, spent some time in the U.S. Air Force, but is now pursuing that degree.
“He’ll probably be 30 by the time he finishes college,” Richardson said.