The Lost Corvette
After decades of dreaming about it, Chris Mazzilli was able to create the 1983 Corvette that never was
For the first two decades of its existence, Corvette improved in nearly every measure at an exponential rate. Though engineering and styling occasionally clashed, both with each other and with GM’s money managers, they were otherwise free to propel the car forward. All of that changed by the early 1970s, when federal and state governments began to impose increasingly stringent noise, fuel-economy, emissions and crash-worthiness mandates on the auto industry. This dramatically shaped the development curve of all vehicles, including Corvette, and played a key role in the scheduling of the fourth generation’s introduction.
These struggles to meet governmental requirements were not the only factor that influenced the timing of the C4. The age-old conflict between styling, which wanted a mid-engine machine, and engineering, which wanted to stay the course and optimize the traditional front-engine configuration, also slowed progress on the new Corvette. And the car’s strong sales growth throughout the 1970s, in spite of decreasing performance and increasing prices, did nothing to encourage top GM management to invest in the creation of a true “next-gen” model. Ironically, work finally started on the C4 late in the 1979 model year, which to this day remains the all-time highest production year for Corvette at 53,807 units.
Modern Dealership | How to Build the Sports Car of Your Childhood Dreams ( Or, at Least, How Chris Mazzilli Did )
From 1953 to 2019, a new Corvette was designed and released every year but one: 1983.
This omission has played on many Vette aficionados’ minds, including Chris Mazzilli’s ever since he was a kid, when he would sketch his own designs. As the son of a Chevy salesman and street racer, Mazzilli – owner of Dream Car Restorations in New York – has been fascinated with Corvettes from as far back as he can remember.
Hemmings Daily | The Lost Corvette
The 1983 Chevrolet Corvette, due to arrive 30 years after the model’s debut, was designed to be a game-changer. From the beginning, the fourth-generation Corvette was meant to be a world-class sports car, but engineering, regulatory, and development delays pushed its launch into 1983, as a 1984 model. Officially, there were no 1983 Corvettes (at least in dealerships), prompting Corvette collector, restorer, and friend-of-Hemmings Chris Mazzilli to ponder what might have been. The Lost Corvette, a one-hour documentary premiering July 8 at 10:00 p.m. on the History Channel, documents Chris’ efforts to construct his version of the ideal “1983 Corvette.”
MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) — Unveiling a rare one-of-a-kind collection of Corvettes at the New York International Auto show at the Javits Center, you get a glimpse at what makes them so unique.
Some are shiny with mirror finishes, while others are dull and dust covered.
They are classic and make up what’s called the Corvette Heroes Collection.
Pointing to a 1956 Corvette painted in cascade green and white, Corvette expert Chris Mazzilli said, “I think it screams 50s. It looks like a diner to me.”
Mazzilli walked me through this one-of-a-kind collection of Corvettes, which features seven at the Auto Show — only a part of a 36-car collection thought to be one of the greatest in history.
“One from every year from ’53 to ’89, and what makes it special to me is the fact that they stayed together,” Mazzilli said.
A large photograph shows all the cars discovered in a Manhattan garage, covered in dust and dirt. Some have flat tires, all parked together.
When asked if this is how Mazzilli found them, he said, “This is exactly how we found them. The first time I went into the garage and I saw the cars entombed, the hairs stood up on my arms. I couldn’t believe it.”
Once owned by famed pop artist Peter Max, they were in disrepair.
“He was going to paint them and auction them off at Yankee Stadium, Mazzilli said. “That never happened, so they sat for 25 years.”
Purchased in 2014 by the Heller and Spindler real estate families, the collection is being brought back to life one car at a time by Mazzilli’s company, Dream Car Restoratons, in Hicksville, Long Island.
Adam Heller, one of the owners, explained what happens next.
“We are going to do a sweepstakes and give 36 of them away separately,” he said. “They will still be connected for the rest of their lives.”
Mazzilli said a portion of the proceedings is going to benefit the National Guard Educational Foundation, a partner in the sweepstakes.
You can preregister for the sweepstakes at the Auto Show, and some are already dreaming.
“We will be here at the New York Auto Show next year, and soon after that, we will have the drawing,” Mazzilli said.
The collection is worth seeing, as one-of-a-kind Corvettes come to life again.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
S7 E1 “Just Tell Him You’re the President”
For the inaugural episode for season 7 of Comedians in Cars getting Coffee, Dream Car Restorations NY and Chris Mazzilli are proud to provide President Barack Obama and our loved, Jerry Seinfeld, with a fully restored 1963 Corvette splitback to drive around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
This car is one of the few 1963 Corvettes ever made, and less than a handful to be found now, which is a shame as this is a car that exudes cool. Like Bond cool.
To view the episode, visit: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee