Fifty years ago, America’s astronauts were arguably the coolest guys in the country.
Naturally, the coolest men in America had to drive the coolest cars in America. In the mid 60s, that car was the Chevy Corvette, and there’s a very special one still cruising the highways of Florida’s Space Coast.
That's Neil Armstrong's old sports car! It was a rocket on wheels in its day. WAAY 31 spoke to the man who now owns the Corvette.
Joe Crosby is a soft-spoken classic car nut who loves restoring old cars. He specializes in Corvettes. When he found this one, it was owned by a former NASA employee living in Georgia, but he didn’t know its history.
“It was in the basement, up on jack stands, had boxes all over it. It had become a shelf,” he said.
It was in rough shape, but aside from a little body damage, in near perfect condition.
“And he said, ‘Oh yeah. That car belonged to Neil Armstrong,’" said Crosby. "I said, 'Oh no.' He said, ‘Yeah it did.’ I said, 'No it didn’t.'”
But it did, and Crosby has the paperwork to prove it. He brought it back to his home on the Space Coast with plans to restore it, but when word got out about its famous previous owner, he was advised to preserve it instead.
“The only thing not original is the water pump and the mufflers. The spare tire had never been out of the hanger. It still has the air in it from 1966," he said.
Each ding and dent, scratch and scrape is a testament that this sports car wasn’t just for show. The only real damage was to the back end. The story goes that Armstrong was doing donuts in a NASA parking lot and hit a light pole.
“They lived a fast life and had a good time, and good for ‘em,” said Crosby.
Crosby bought the car in 2012, the same year Armstrong passed. While he was cleaning out the car the first time, he says he found some old coins from the 60s, a small flag, a pen and a plastic green Army man. A few years ago, one of Armstrong’s sons confirmed that was one of his toys.