18 Years Brings Lifetime Achievement
An 18-year restoration project brings together father and son
Story Eric Kaminsky - Images Bill Erdman - June 20, 2011 09:00 AM
It all began when Richard Loschiavo purchased this 1964 Corvette in 1985 for $5,500 after seeing it advertised in a local newspaper. Over the next 18 years, he worked with his son Rick off and on to restore this second-generation coupe. Call it a labor of love.
It certainly didn’t start out that way, though. “It really was a wreck,” Richard told us. The car had been drag raced, and the interior was gutted, and it sported headers, plus incorrect valve covers, exhaust system, trim and hubcaps. It had even been repainted. But that’s where the journey begins.
Richard’s son Rick was just 13 at the time when the Corvette arrived. And it would be mainly Rick’s efforts that would bring this coupe back to factory-new condition. Richard admitted it took “a tremendous amount of work” to restore it, including finishing the car off by repainting its original factory color, Riverside Red, the most popular choice in 1964. The father-son duo would take 18 years to finish the project, with completion coming in 2003.
The project’s unusually long time span was partly due to the fact that Richard had three children in college during this time frame. The retired teacher (with 41 years in the education field), who used to teach high school auto mechanics, combined that knowledge, plus skills picked up from his older brothers who were also into cars, during the restoration. In 26 years he’s owned it, the car has been on the road a total of about five years, which accounts for its low mileage (just 31,738 at the time of our photo shoot).
When we asked why this model, Richard replied that when he was in college in 1962, he fell in love with the styling of the second-generation 1963 coupe with its split rear window. “But it was out of my price range,” so he ended up with the next best thing, a 1964 model. It’s the only collector car he owns.
And this coupe is no slouch in the performance department, as under its hood is the optional high-performance 327ci, 365hp V-8 with solid lifters. That engine, ordered by about a third of the buyers in 1964, was a definite improvement over the base model 327, which only output 250hp. It was also a bargain at only $107.60. Add on a four-speed, close-ratio Muncie transmission (for another $188.30), and this car was meant for the open road. It was one of the many things rebuilt or refurbished during the car’s restoration.
Other options found on this coupe include air conditioning ($421.80), power brakes ($43.05), power steering ($75.35), back up lamps ($10.80), and an AM-FM radio ($176.50). The air conditioning doesn’t work right now, but Richard has all the dash components. That may get done in the future, but for now just enjoying the car is a top priority.
Richard admits that not everything would meet NCRS standards – like the Dunlop P205/75R15 radials with the thin whitewall – but that wasn’t the goal. “We use the car every Sunday for short rides and really enjoy the car and the years we worked together,” he said. It has also won some first and second place trophies at local car shows.
It’s apparent that Richard has passed his love of cars and mechanics on to his son Rick, and this restored Corvette is the result. Sharing in its restoration just makes it even better.