Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Story of the 1962: David Donoho's Donated Vette

David Donoho was a die-hard Corvette enthusiast, developing an infatuation from a young age and even saving up enough money to buy his first – a brand new 1962 – when he was in high school.  David was so obsessed, in fact, that he earned the nickname “The Weather Man” because his friends would tease him about how closely he would watch the weather, and quickly take his Corvette home when there was a chance of rain.

David loved the car and had a kindred spirit towards the car… so when it came time to make plans for his estate he knew he wanted it to go to a loving home where it would be respected and cared for.  “David didn’t want it sold; he wanted it to remain well maintained by those who would protect it,” said longtime friend and attorney Beth Sease.  Beth had suggested David consider donating his prized vehicle to the National Corvette Museum.  “Wendell [Strode, Executive Director] visited and developed a relationship with David.  Wendell assured David that the Museum would preserve it according to his wishes.”

“David was an unassuming and simple man,” said Beth.  She added that as a long time blue-collar worker, David saved his money and invested it wisely to have the funds to support his Corvette hobby.  David was the proud owner of four Corvettes in his lifetime – a 1987, 2001 and 2006 (in addition to the 1962) and all were garage kept.  He personally cared for the cars and only had people he trusted do work on them.

As David’s health prevented him from being able to get out and enjoy the car, Beth encouraged him to donate his 1962 before his passing to reap maximum donation and tax benefits.  The car is black with red interior and mostly in its original condition – with the exception of the convertible top being replaced with a hard top.  In 2011, David turned over the keys to his beloved car – a car he had owned all of its life… just over 50 years.  Beth says that turning the car over to the museum seemed to be the best thing to benefit David and preserve his memory.

After various health issues, David passed on June 6, 2013 at the age of 76.  In his will he left another gift to the museum… funds to care for his car.  “David’s cash gift will help us ensure that his car is maintained in a way that would please him,” said Wendell.  “To be gifted a Corvette that has had only one owner and been kept in such great condition all these years is rare.”

On February 12, 2014 Mother Nature struck the Corvette Museum, taking David’s prized car several feet down into a sinkhole.  Luckily, the Corvette was one of the last to fall in and suffered minor damage in comparison to the others.  GM’s Design Center in Warren, MI will be overseeing the restoration of the car.  “While it breaks our heart that this happened to David’s car, we know that it will be in good hands with GM overseeing the repairs.  Several experts from the National Corvette Restorers Society have also reached out to offer their expertise,” said Wendell.  “We look forward to getting the car repaired and back to its former glory.”