Woman finds the car of her dreams — and buys it

·3 min read

Sometimes, a woman knows just what she wants. Then sets out to get it.

Margie Cornett longed for a 1960 Chevrolet Impala, preferably red with a white side stripe. Like the one pictured here, the one she bought in July to fulfill a wish she has harbored since childhood.

"When I was a little girl, and growing up, my dream car was a 1960 Impala," the 32-year-old Bloomington woman said. "It was modeled after a rocket, like it could fly."

Cornett's father and uncle have classic Chevrolets — a 1937 and a 1955 — and she spent her childhood tailing after them at car shows. She had seen this particular Impala at shows the past few years and knew the older couple that owned it had no interest in selling the car.

In June, she spotted it again at a show in Mooresville. Like always, she swooned over it.

"I found out they told my uncle they were going to sell it," Cornett said. "He wanted to buy it, but he didn't have garage space and really didn't have the money then."

She had not only space in her garage but the willingness to go into debt to buy the 48-year-old Chevrolet.

"I had been looking for a car just like that," she said. "It was just luck finding one so well restored. It was more than I wanted to spend. But I love cars, all cars."

Especially this one. Besides being her most valued possession, one she intends to keep forever, the Impala is an investment. "It's a car, and a 401K, too, because its value will continue to increase," she said.

The sport coupe, one of 204,467 manufactured in 1960, is restored to its original state, down to the red-and-white houndstooth upholstery and bias-ply tires. It's painted Roman Red with an Ermine White stripe, the same colors it was when it rolled off the assembly line in Janesville, Wis., nearly five decades ago. The 1960 model was drastically different from the 1959 Impala. The bat-wing tail fins were reshaped and each gained three round taillight lamps.

The Impala became the nation's top-selling car in 1960, a rank it held for a decade. General Motors still makes Impalas, although they slowed production of 2008 models last spring.

The Impala of Cornett's fancy came with a 283 V-8 engine, a two-speed Powerglide transmission and power steering.

The cars could be equipped with several options of the day: cruise control, a speed warning device called the Speedminder, an illuminated compass, four-way flashing hazard lights, a rear-window defroster and a vacuum-suction ashtray that sucks ashes into a container inside the trunk.

When Cornett drives down the road in her car, passersby hold their thumbs up as she goes by. Some do a double take.

She sent her fiance, Mike Brewer, to pick up the car when she bought it. "He called me and said I was going to have to get rid of the car," she said, figuring some mechanical breakdown had occurred. "When I asked him why, he said I would get way too many looks in this car."

1950s Fins and Chrome

If you are sending holiday cards this season, the U.S. Postal Service has some 42-cent postage stamps you should check out. The series, called 50s Fins and Chrome, features five stamps illustrated by car designer and artist Art Fitzpatrick. The cars? A 1957 Chrysler 300C, a 1957 Lincoln Premiere, a 1957 Pontiac Safari, a 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk and a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado.

Got a story to tell about a car or truck? Call 812-331-4362, send an e-mail message to lane@heraldt.com or a letter to My Favorite Ride, P.O. Box 909, Bloomington, 47402.

Margie Cornett only brings out her 1960 Chevrolet Impala for fair-weather drives and car shows.
Margie Cornett only brings out her 1960 Chevrolet Impala for fair-weather drives and car shows.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Woman finds the car of her dreams — and buys it

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