By on May 2, 2012

As a teenager, I idolized Tom Wolfe after reading Bonfire of the Vanities. By the end of high school, I had read every single book read by him, and his too-brief description of the muscle cars of American astronauts in The Right Stuff instantly came back to me (along with the smells of my high school cafeteria) upon seeing this ad.

Wolfe recounts a story of the astronauts befriending car dealer and 1960 Indy 500 winner Jim Rathmann. Rathmann was also friends with Chevrolet head Ed Cole. The two of them made sure that the astronauts got behind the wheel of Cole’s products

Eventually, Gus and Gordo had Corvettes like Al Shepard’s; Wally moved up from an Austin-Healy to a Maserati; and Scott Carpenter got a Shelby Cobra, a true racing vehicle. Al was continually coming by Rathmann’s to have his gear ratios changed. Gus wanted flared fenders and magnesium wheels. The fever gripped them all, but Gus and Gordo especially. They were determined to show the champ, Rathmann, and each other that they could handle these things. Gus would go out rat-racing at night at the Cape, racing full-bore for the next curve, dealing with the oncoming headlights by psychokinesis, spinning off the shoulders and then scrambling back up on the highway for more of it. It made you cover up your eyes and chuckle at the same time. The boys were fearless in an automobile, they were determined to hang their hides right out over the edge—and they had no idea what mediocre drivers they actually were, at least by the standards of professional racing.

Like Gus Grissom and Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong evidently had a Corvette at some point in his life. This example, now owned by a private citizen who apparently bought it from a NASA employee after Armstrong’s use, isn’t in the best condition. British classic car fanciers would tout its “lovely patina” and “provenance”.

Just what type of restoration the car would need is up for debate. I’m of the opinion that cars should be driven and enjoyed, not garaged and gawked at, but it’s important to strike a balance between keeping the car’s history intact, and bringing it up to an appropriate condition.

Thanks to Bring a Trailer for the link

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18 Comments on “Neil Armstrong’s 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427 For Sale...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    120K on ebay and reserve not met.
    Sorry, just because Neil owned it for a year in the 1960s doesn’t make it worth more than meticulously restored examples that don’t have broken speedometer cables to hide their true mileage. But if he’s got a fish that big on the line I’m sure an off ebay deal will be struck.

    Considering the work required and various unknowns I would peg it’s value at 20-30K depending on what an inspection turns up.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Someone should scarf this up to restore it, drive it and enjoy it and place it in its proper relationship to history.

    All that, but do not under any circumstances make it a trailer queen.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Place it in its proper relationship to history? Hmm, I know a nice vacuum-sealed display area for it, right next to a couple of dusty footprints, some other interesting late-sixties machinery, and a carelessly-knocked-over flag.

      It’s a little far away, though…

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Isn’t Neil Armstrong that trumpet playing guy?

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      I thought Neil Armstrong rode bicycles and had testicular cancer.

      BTW, there’s a Betty Boop cartoon on youtube with the Louis Armstrong orchestra playing live during the opening credits. Made in 1932 I believe. The only Betty Boop cartoon more surreal than that is the one with Cab Calloway doing Minnie the Moocher.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    I would not pay anywhere near that even if Louie Armstrong owned it. This celebrity worship really does drive prices to delusional levels.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    APaGttH, you just lost your ‘best and brightest’ card.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    Unfortunately, between the astronaut connection and the fact that a ’67 427 is something of a holy grail for ‘Vette fanciers, I think the odds of this car ending up as an over-restored garage queen are pretty high.

  • avatar

    “Thanks to Bring a Trailer for the link”

    I know it’s a for profit enterprise, but BaT deserves some kind of award for service to the enthusiast community.

    So does Ate Up With Motor’s Aaron Severson.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Did Armstrong slap those nasty looking fender flares on?

  • avatar
    multicam

    “By the end of high school, I had read every single book read by him…”
    Damn, that must have been a lot of books!

  • avatar

    I would love to own the Moon Man’s ‘Vette, however that is definitely an out-of -this-world price tag.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    As I understand it, this is only a claim that this Corvette was owned by Mr. Armstrong. There isn’t any real proof.

    Is it true? Maybe, but it takes more than a picture to verify that it is true to collectors.

    As for restoring it, should probably as Armstrong what he thinks should be done with it. I’d find that answer more interesting than anything else.

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    If you ever get to visit the Kennedy Space Center, they have Alan Shepard’s 1968 Corvette 427 Roadster on display at the Apollo – Saturn V exhibit. This one is a beautiful car and with a documented history.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Just for the record, one of the original Mercury 7 preferred a different set of wheels. John Glenn was a man apart, more serious and sober than the rest. His ride, according to Wolfe, was a little NSU sedan, believe it or not.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      And Yuri Gagarin, unable to get his thrills in a (chuckle) Soviet sports car, went one better and “test-flew” unarmed MiG-15 trainers frequently.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Currently at 250K with three days to go. Someone is getting a new house out of this. Reserve not met, best way to get out of ebay fees.


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