The front detail of a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette is shown on the vehicle, which Joe Munch pulled the car out of storage about three months ago. / AP
SAGINAW— After 40 of keeping his 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray covered with blankets, hidden away in the back of a barn, Joe Munch and his car finally had their chance to shine on a recent afternoon at the Old Town Motorfest.The Hampton Township resident was greeted with pats on the back and felicitations by well-wishers throughout the day.
“The phone has been ringing off the hook this morning,” Munch said. “People congratulating me … happy for me. I just regret that there weren’t more people that I knew from when I was driving the car. I’m sorry they couldn’t be a part of it.”
Munch stored the car in a friend’s barn in 1972 before the birth of his first child. He didn’t think the two-seated speed machine would be appropriate for a budding family.
The car remained in storage for 40 years until a near-death experience made the now-64-year-old realize it was time to start living for himself. He suffered a heart attack and multiple minor strokes in November 2010. After more than a year of recovery he enlisted the help of Steve Snow, his friend and owner of Dynamic Corvettes, to fix the vehicle up.
The light blue convertible was on display in the showroom of Dynamic Corvettes, during the car show. Snow said droves of people turned out to see Munch and the car that he credits with helping him make it through his military service in Vietnam.
“Everybody wants to know where Joe’s at,” Snow said. “I said, ‘I don’t know he must of got lost,’ I said, ‘Be patient, he’ll be here.’ ”
Bud Baudoux worked for Munch for more than 30 years at the Joseph M. Gay Co., doing maintenance on boilers. He heard Munch’s car would be on display so he had to see it in person.
“He talked about it, I’ve never seen it for real, but ever since I met him he’s told me about this car,” Baudoux said.
Munch’s sons Andrew, James and Stephen all attended the show.
Munch removed the car from the barn in April and has had it on the road since Father’s Day, but he said the show was when it finally set in; he’s got his car back.