HomeThe MarketAfter 50 years (but only 8,500 miles), a hero's Corvette is going...

After 50 years (but only 8,500 miles), a hero’s Corvette is going to auction


First father, then son have meticulously maintained this car since new | Mecum Auctions photos by David Newhardt
First father, then son have meticulously maintained this car since new | Mecum Auctions photos by David Newhardt

Like many who were drafted into military service and sent to fight in Vietnam, and who were fortunate enough to come home, Keith Richard Litavsky returned and bought the car of his dreams, a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette: Marina Blue with Bright Blue interior, and a 427-cubic-inch, 435-horsepower V8 linked to an M21 four-speed manual transmission.

Fifty years later, the car has been driven only 8,533 miles, a figure that may tick up slightly as it is driven across the block at Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic auction, May 16-21 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Because of its very low mileage and meticulous care since new, Mecum Auctions labels the car as coming “out of the vault” and shares its story, as told by Litavsky’s son, Matt, who has owned the car since his father’s passing in 1993.

Car was cleaned, covered and on jack stands when not being driven
Car was cleaned, covered and on jack stands when not being driven

“Watching my hero die in front of me was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Matt Litavsky said in an interview shared by Mecum Auctions.

“My hero was my father,” he continued as he talked about a man who didn’t smoke or drink, who stood 6-foot-2 and weighed 220 pounds and worked out regularly, who carried shrapnel from one of his many front-line war wounds for the rest of his life, but who finally succumbed to cancer, traced to his exposure to Agent Orange, the chemical used to defoliate the jungle battlefields.

Matt Litavsky said his father’s last mission in Vietnam haunted him. There was a fire fight that claimed most of his father’s unit, and left his commanding officer badly wounded as well.

“My dad carried his injured commanding officer out of the fire flight,” Matt said, adding that the officer suggested that Matt’s dad be nominated for a Congressional Metal of Honor for his heroism in the battle.

“Yet he never received the medal because his commander lost his life in a helicopter crash before being able to submit the nomination,” Matt added. “That crash left my father as the only surviving soldier in his unit. He was released with two Purple Hearts, but it was an endless string of tragedies. We were so happy to have him come home, safe and sound … or so we thought.”

Car's been driven 8,533 miles by father and then son
Car’s been driven 8,533 miles by father and then son

Keith Litavsky returned home and used the money he’d saved during the war to buy the Corvette, which he treated as though it were one of his own children. Matt notes that his father never drove the car in the rain, wouldn’t park it in bright sunlight, constantly cleaned it with a soft cloth, and parked it under cover and on four carpet-topped jack stands in the garage. His father also kept a journal of every time he drove the car, even recording rpm figures.

Matt, who keeps the car — still on its original tires — on a lift in his own climate-controlled garage, recalls his father buying a second vehicle just so he wouldn’t have to put excess miles on his Corvette.

“I have tried to continue to maintain the car with the same love and integrity that my father did,” Matt said of a vehicle that’s all original except for its battery and mufflers.

Mecum notes that Matt has only driven the car 15 miles in the past 15 years and that the car has been so protected that it’s never been displayed by the family at a car show.

So why is he selling it now?

“It will be a release of something I think will be better, kind of turning a page in another chapter in my life,” Matt says in a Mecum video.

“I will miss this car more than you will know, as it has been a part of my life and something that truly strengthened the bond between my father and me. But, one thing I know for sure, is that even when the car is gone, the memories will live on.”
link to video:

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
  1. Man, I don’t see how a guy could part with this Corvette! I’d keep it, and drive it a bit. Anyone that tries to drive a Corvette in snow is an idiot and I understand his dad being a bit “OCD” about the whole car. I seen a few of those over the years. Personally, if it was my dad’s, I’d keep it in the garage and take it out now and then to drive it! That’s what it’s meant for, to drive! It’s not a piece of jewelry. I think his dad would want him to keep it and drive it. Not get semi-rich by selling it to the highest bidder. That seems like a shame to me. Because some rich guy will buy it, put it in his collection and it will never be driven. Truly a shame. Hell, C4’s were never my favorite, but I found a good deal on one and it now is practically my daily driver. I don’t drive it in bad weather, but it’s really fun to drive and still has the original shocks, etc. It’s more car than the average person could handle anyway.
    Keep the car, pal! Drive it and enjoy it, rather than getting six or maybe seven figures for it. Then what are you going to do? Go on vacation, or Vegas or something and waste your money? This car would still be an appreciating asset. Just continue to take meticulous care of it, and drive it now and then. I’ve driven a bunch of mid-year Corvettes. They are fun to drive!!

  2. I salute your father as a marine, and shake your hand as a man. I got to tell you, you brought tears to my eyes. You made him proud semper Fi AL Delgado ura.

  3. I agree with Al. Keep the car and drive it now and then. You can hand it down to one of your kids in the future.What better tribute to your father than to keep it in the family. Your father would want that instead of getting rid of it.

  4. What a wonderful story. Just when you think there are no more to be unveiled, here comes another.
    Thank you for sharing. I have no doubt that the decision to sell this Corvette was one that was not taken lightly. Noone knows just why it’s time to sell. You just know it is.
    Continue to treasure the memories of your dad….until you meet again.

  5. Please please please do not sell the car I have a 66 Buick skylark grand sport convertible Hope my son never sells it The money will be gone and so will the car Still wish I had my dad 72 Chevy pick up He was only 55 years old when he passed Yours truly Woody

  6. It should be kept as a family heirloom, and in his fathers memory, no matter what economical value is attributed to this 1967 BB Vette.

  7. After listening to the tape ….. I agree with the wishes of the family, and no one has the right to disagree otherwise !


  9. Many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines often purchase a specific car or motorcycle after returning from combat. I purchased my 3rd and only remaining Corvette after my return from Operation Iraqi Freedom. I still have it and its paid for. I try not to drive in the rain, but I am not afraid to venture out. I have 42000 miles on a 2006 C6, I do drive it. We buy the car for a reason, the symbol of American Freedom and dream of the American Sports Car. The Corvette’s were almost cancelled. If you have never served, often its hard to understand the mind set of a combatant. While I served in Iraqi, I could not feel the freedom of driving, press the accelerator, feeling the horsepower, and smile as I drove past the “sedan” commuter. Your Dad being a grunt soldier and I was a grunt soldier, we spend most of our time walking from place to place with everything we need to survive combat on our back. I dreamed of cruising, I talked about cursing, I could not wait to get back on the American Highways. I don’t always drive fast, I am a safe drive, and the Corvette looks fast standing still. Your Dad may not have told you the reason(s) why he choose the Corvette; however, he was committed to the American Dream of Freedom. He served this great nation and he passed the Corvette to you. Go get in the car and drive it to a VFW, listen to others talk about their stories and why symbols of freedom, the American Sports Car often passed the time when they were away from the USA. 1967 Corvette is an exceptional car at the time in America when we dominated motor sports. The Corvettes are now kicking everyone’s a$$ again. Keep your Dad’s dream in the family. I would be upset if my son or daughter sold my Corvette after I have passed. I can’t afford the price of a ’67, but its number 2 on my list after the ’63 split window. Semper Fi from a Retired Army Grunt.

  10. Addressing the “don’t drive a Corvette in the snow” comment, my Dad bought a ’66 convertible/both tops/390 HP/outside pipes/K66 ignition/power steering and brakes/AM-FM radio/Leather interior/telescoping teak steering wheel and proceeded to put 285,000 miles on it in ten years, using it every day including all winter.In fact, he took delivery of it in a ten inch snow storm. It’s a car and it should be DRIVEN.

  11. What a waste Corvettes were made to be driven not trailer queens I bought a 1965 with a 327 ci engine 345 bp 4speed put 124,00 miles on it drove it though a snow storm of 4 feer in Maine. Never had snow tires never was stuck gave it to my oldest son who drove in Pa. until he said he couldn’t afford the insurance never told me he had sold it until I asked him where it was and said he sold it for 1,200 dollars. Broke my heart you never sell cars like that.

  12. Hello Matt! Im a 19 yr service member, now a 100% disabled Vet. I also went to Vietnam! I would really like to know when this car will be going to action? I might be very interested in the purchase of it, being a fellow Vietnam Vet and suffer from severe PTSD and agent Orange! Please let me know when the action is! Thank U! [email protected]. Thank U Matt for your story, it brings back good and bad memories!

  13. The car sounds like it was one of the 20 L88 cars, yet, that is not mentioned, so it likely isn’t one of the rarest Corvettes ever. All 20 L88 cars had the 427/435, along with the M21 “Rock Crusher” Muncie transmission.
    If this car had the “Radio Delete” option, and actually was an L88, it would be worth more than $1MM. The last ’67 L88 to sell was down in TX???, and was a Marlboro Maroon color, and, it was believed to be the only ’67 L88 with all of its original quarter panels. The car was sold as part of an estate sale, and was sold to a Collector for $1MM.
    Marina Blue is one of my favorite colors!!!!!!!!
    Good luck to whomever it is that buys this car!!!!!!

  14. Dear Matt,
    I could not help but comment when I noticed your fathers Vietnam history. I did not experience the intense background your father had while in-country. But I did contracted the genetic altering result from Agent Orange exposure. I have been fighting my variation of Multiple Myeloma for fifteen years. When it first appeared my treatment started with a stem cell transplant and off and back on chemo since.

    There is nothing better than if I could bid on your fathers car. However, I can not bid due to my physical condition and lack of funds. Sure would be nice having the option.

    Good luck to you and God bless.

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