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Michigan man to part with classic 1954 Corvette

Jim Liedel says he's ready to hand over his coveted 1954 Corvette

DETROIT – lTheir love affair started in 1962. Jim Liedel met her at a Monroe gas station and took her home for $1,800.

Her red paint, chrome wheels and V-8 engine kept Liedel happy for 50 years, but now they're parting ways.

Liedel, of Maybee, Mich., was only 19 years old when he first laid eyes on the 1954, two-seat convertible Chevrolet Corvette.

"I'm 68 years old now and when I sit in that car today, I still feel like I'm 19 again," he said.

Images: Liedel's 1954 Corvette

When Jim bought the car it was just 28 cents for a gallon of gas. He had a new engine installed as well as a four-speed manual transmission to replace the two-speed automatic which was standard at the time in the little two-seater convertible.

In fact, the 1954 model of the Corvette didn't sell as well as expected when it was introduced because motorists wanted more power for the price.

"I walked away with it for $1,800. It was a deal, boy," said Liedel.

After 50 years of driving, the two made a lot of memories together.

"Everybody in town knew me and knew that car," he said. "We used to cruise from the Dixie Drive-In to the Park 'N' Snak. We'd wave to people 100 times driving up and down Monroe Street." he said. "It's a gorgeous car."

Liedel took it to car shows, fixed it up in the garage and even drove it to Miami with a buddy.

"In 1962, when I first bought her, my buddy and I jumped in the car and cruised to Miami Beach," he said. "We went through Tennessee and Kentucky. It was one of my favorite memories."

But now at 68 years old, Liedel says it's time to turn the keys over to someone else.

"It wasn't an easy decision. But I don't drive her as much any more and she just sits in the garage. It's time for someone else to enjoy her, it's time for her to go," he said.

He's advertised it on a couple of websites for around $39,000.

"It's a rare car. It's hard to get, hard to find. If it had the original engine in it and was in mint condition it would go for over $100,000," he said.

He has had interested buyers from as far away as California, Florida and Australia.

"Guys all over the United States are calling me. I have six people very interested right now," he says.

His only regret is not driving her along Route 66. While he says it's time to move on, he'll never forget the day the wind first blew through his hair back in 1962.

"When I look in my garage and it's gone, I don't know how I'll feel, it's bitter sweet," he said.