When Dan Harrington got married in 1975, the only car he owned was a 1973 Corvette. Even as he got older and began to collect and race cars competitively, the ’73 Corvette kept a special place in his heart.
In 1992, Harrington was cruising the pages of a Thrifty Nickel paper on the East Coast, where he and his wife are originally from, and saw a 1973 Corvette Stingray for sale for $5,800. He jumped at the opportunity and immediately bought it. He owned five Corvettes at the time, but he had something special in mind for the Stingray.
Harrington, who now works at Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, completely took the car apart down to its frame. He was a member of a local Corvette club at the time, and his friends in the group couldn’t understand why he was stripping down a car that seemed to work just fine.
“It was a good-looking car and it drove nice,” Harrington says. “They said, ‘Why in the hell would you take apart a perfectly good car?’ I just figured it would take less work to rebuild a car that wasn’t already broke.”
However, the rebuilding project took two and half years to complete. Harrington began by acid dipping the frame of the car and repainting it. He then restored every part of the car down to its nuts, bolts and washers.
“I had already restored two Corvettes, and I wanted to make this one a custom racer,” he says. “Forty-four hundred hours later, I got it done.”
However, one of the toughest issues Harrington faced with the car came after he finished restoring it. He and his wife would sketch out paint schemes for the car and hand them to each other every night while they watched TV, wadding up and throwing away sketches they didn’t like. Finally they settled on an American flag-themed paint scheme, and Harrington painted the car himself on July 4, 1994.
During the course of its second life as a restored race car, Harrington’s ’73 Stingray has won 60 award show trophies, been displayed at the National Corvette started a nationally-televised drag race in Atlanta. However, Harrington stopped entering it in shows about five years ago and now only shows it about once a year at special local events like Fourth of July celebrations and at the VA Hospital.
“It’s a great car,” he says. “Even though it’s from 1973 and I bought it in ’92, I just hop in and it fires right up.”
Contact Darren Tromblay at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of What’s In Your Garage?