Contributed by Kim Groves
Kim grew up with three brothers (Larry, Terry, and Gary) so it’s no surprise where she got the love of cars. Dad wanted to name her Mary, but her mother put a stop to that. Kim’s brothers drove muscle cars and her father had a soft spot for the classic ragtops. Her first cars were a 280Z Datsun Turbo, a Formula, and a Toyota Supra. She has always wanted a Corvette but the opportunity never presented itself.
Years later (2019), upon scanning and dreaming on Ebay, she found a 1969 Corvette 427/390hp, 4 speed, T-top Stingray up for auction. The burgundy color caught her attention. The bonus was that it was an authentic GM $1 lease program Astronaut Corvette. With 4 seconds to go, she won the auction.
As the large ring binder that accompanied the Corvette would reveal, the first owner was Colonel Francis Gregory Neubeck USAF, member of the Magnificent 7 from the 1960’s NASA program. He was one of the 32 finalists for the NASA Astronaut Group 2 in 1962. He was later selected for the Manned Orbital Laboratory. Seven of these astronauts became part of Group 7 in 1969, all of whom eventually flew in space on the Space Shuttle between 1981 and 1985.
A friend of Colonel Neubeck in New Port Richey became the second owner in 2003. He kept hand written letters from Neubeck, the original title, years of registrations, the window sticker, NASA documents with the Colonel’s history, and years of repair receipts. Kim is officially the third owner of an original survivor Corvette (only one repaint) and only 96k miles. She shows the Corvette around Central Florida and her long-time dream is now a reality, but the history is one that will be told over and over.