John Haynal’s ears perked up when his friend Doug asked if he had heard about Albert Way’s old Corvette. Wasn’t that a 1967 big-block?
Haynal is a well-known car collector in the Ocean City,City, New Jersey, area. He has a 1934 Ford five-window nostalgia rod built in the 1950s; two Vegas, one he races in Super Pro and a second that is an old Pro Street; along with an original 1928 Model A sport coupe.Doug is a schoolteacher and does welding on the side. He was fixing an intake manifold for Haynal and shared the news that Way had passed away. Way’s brother Ron was handling the estate, which included a 1967 Corvette.
Haynal’s mind drifted back to 1981-1982 when he was a homebuilder in Ocean City and Albert “framed a house for me.”
“Then, one day he gave me a ride in a TVR, which is a little, foreign sports car with a V-8. Then he took me over to his house and showed me all the cars he had. They were stashed in all these garages. And the Corvette was there. And I said, ‘Albert why you just letting these cars sit?’ And he said, ‘Well, I don’t have time,’ etcetera, etcetera.”
Haynal had been very surprised to see two Cheetahs, one fiberglass and one aluminum, a real Can-Am race car, other “high-dollar” cars, and the 1967 Corvette convertible.
Apparently, Albert Way was into “serious sports car racing” that took him on trips all over the world, either driving his own cars or driving cars for other people.
Eventually, Albert Way more or less parked everything and drove around the rest of his life in an old pickup truck.
The next day John Haynal called Ron Way and went over to look at the 1967 Corvette. The car had been parked there for 35 years.
Opening the garage door revealed a “Corvette-In-A-Pole-Barn,” parked for 35 years. (Note: This photo shows the car after changing the tires and re-positioning from against the wall.)
All four tires were flat. They jacked up the front end first and mounted two tires. Then, they replaced the rear tires.
Surface rust galore covered the valve covers and air cleaner lid on the 400-horse Tri-power.
“He built the garage out of old telephone poles, laid out like a log house. The garage would hold 8-9 cars. There was the Corvette, a 1914 Vauxhall, and an old two-seater Mercedes from the 1950s. I couldn’t even tell what it was because there was so much stuff piled on it.”
Ron opened the garage to reveal a Vette gem in the rough sitting untouched for 35 years. The convertible was Marina Blue with a black “Stinger” hood and black vinyl interior, aluminum wheels, side exhausts, and both tops. This baby was a big-block. Haynal couldn’t wait to pop open the hood. “I thought it was a 390-horse.”
So, why was he staring at three Holley two-barrels? The air cleaner decal read “400,” so this 1967 was not the coveted L79 option 435-horse. Numbers checked out, and this was an L68, the 400-horse Tri-power, pretty big stuff.
Haynal made a deal for the Vette at a very good price, but not a steal. His plan is to “fix it up and drive around.”
“We live about a mile from the beach. We plan to just use it as a summer car, take it to local shows, take it to Carlisle. Right now the wheels are off and the car is all apart.”
Where 30-plus years earlier was a clear path, trees grew up, impeding the Sting Ray’s joyous exit.
The Vette would not roll. The right rear wheel was locked up. Muscle, rope and a come-along combined with nature’s kindly placement of tree trunks to inch the Vette closer to an open trailer.
Albert Way bought this Vette new. The lacquer paint, dusty and dirty, was still singing those St. Louis blues.
Haynal said the interior had no rips or tears. The inside was “a little wet,” so he has removed the entire interior to dry out. Haynal has zero intentions to restore the car. He is going to get it running to drive.
This is an old photo of Albert Way pushing his car back in the day. The bellbottom jeans hint of a 1970’s time frame. The checkered flags hint of an autocross event.
“The way we were” many years ago, Ron Way with long hair and in his youth, standing brash and shirtless, beside his brother Albert’s incredible ride, a 1967 Corvette convertible with both tops. Oh, to go back to those days; how promising and happy they appear in retrospect.
Pushing the car onto the trailer proved a sweaty job on one of the hottest July days of 2016.
Through a glass darkly, the patina in this old slide reveals autocross fun from 40-50 years ago. (Note old Ford pickup parked in background.)
Once home, John Haynal cleaned the Vette’s fiberglass body with soap and water.
Sometime decades ago, Albert’s Marina Blue 1967 convertible got parked beside a red midyear for a photo.