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First Corvette (1965) Hit By A Deer

Steve Chichester

I have been a car enthusiast since even before I got my driver’s license. My first performance car was a 1965 Mustang, fastback A-code four-speed. I bought my first Corvette while I was still in the Navy back in 1971. It was a 1965 four-speed convertible. I don’t know what the original color was because It had been repainted Cadillac Fire Mist brown. It had black interior. Those were the days when originality wasn’t an issue and the color combination looked good. I also learned later that it was an L84 but the fuel injection system had been replaced with a Holley carburetor, a common mod back then. But it still ran very strong, and I loved it.

Unfortunately, one night on a trip back to the Navy Base I came over the crest of a hill on the highway and a deer ran in front of me from the median and headed directly for my headlights. I hit the brakes, but I hit him on the driver’s side (front) almost at speed. He flipped all the way over the Corvette. After I finally stopped, I was pretty shaken up. I took a few minutes to recover and then looked for the deer but didn’t see him. I assumed he had hobbled off into the woods beside the highway. I then saw where his antler had come through the convertible top on the driver’s side. Pretty close call. Since the initial impact was on the driver’s side headlight, I was running without the headlight for the remainder of the trip.

Fortunately, the Corvette was drivable. As I drove away I had mixed emotions, I felt lucky I wasn’t hurt and terrible about the deer. I had the Corvette repaired at a body shop close to the base. It was a decent job but not as nice as it was before the hit. When I got out of the Navy, I went back to college and ended up trading the Corvette in on a Toyota Corolla in the spirit of more economical transportation. And yes, I regret that decision to this day! But who knew back then? I also knew that I would eventually get another Corvette. Since then I’ve owned three, a ‘79 L82, a ‘92 LT1 convertible, and my current ‘03 50th Anniversary convertible.

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