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updated: 11/6/2017 6:15 AM

Co-owners share meaningful bonding experience

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  • 1963 Chevrolet Corvette

    1963 Chevrolet Corvette
    Photos Courtesy of Matt Avery Media

  • The Bombens returned the Corvette to its original Sebring Silver color.

    The Bombens returned the Corvette to its original Sebring Silver color.

  • In 1993, the car's restoration earned a Gold rating at the Bloomington Gold Corvette show.

    In 1993, the car's restoration earned a Gold rating at the Bloomington Gold Corvette show.

  • Though once modified for road rally racing, the Bombens were able to get a lot of factory parts original to the car when they purchased it.

    Though once modified for road rally racing, the Bombens were able to get a lot of factory parts original to the car when they purchased it.

  • The 1963 split window Chevrolet Corvette is often considered one of the most beautiful car designs of all time.

    The 1963 split window Chevrolet Corvette is often considered one of the most beautiful car designs of all time.

 
 

Dan Bomben's dad, Gino, left his home in Italy and came to the United States in 1959. It didn't take him long to fall in love with American sports cars.

The one that caught Gino's eye, and affection, was the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, which many deem one of the most beautiful car designs of all time.

"Dad always wanted one," Dan recalls. "He kept saying, 'One day I'm going to own one.' "

Dan Bomben of Chicago chipped in $100 for the honor of owning and working on the Corvette with his father, Gino.
Dan Bomben of Chicago chipped in $100 for the honor of owning and working on the Corvette with his father, Gino. -

That day finally arrived in 1973 when the eager enthusiast found one tucked away languishing in a Chicago garage. At the time, Dan was a 10-year kid who tagged along. The car had been modified for racing (a proper use for the performance runner) but Gino had no intention of mixing it up on a twisty road course. He wanted the car back to its full showroom glory.

Thankfully, the owner (who was its second) had preserved loads of original parts from the first owner and threw them in as part of the deal.

"He gave us a solid foundation to start with," says Dan, who agreed to chip in $100 of his own communion money to help pay for the car (which changed hands for $1,500).

Gino and Dan Bomben purchased the 1963 Chevy Corvette in 1973.
Gino and Dan Bomben purchased the 1963 Chevy Corvette in 1973. -

Dino and Dan got their car home but, unable to devote loads of time to it, could only work on it little by little. "I remember when we took the transmission out," Dan explains. "We had it all laid out on the workbench in our home's basement, going through a repair manual. For the most part, we were self-taught on how to work on the car."

Their determination paid off and the 'Vette was put back on the road in 1988. Its first trip was returning home from the painter.

"I rode Dad out on my motorcycle and I followed him home. It was amazing to be behind him watching him drive the car for the first time."

The Bombens returned the Corvette to its original Sebring Silver color.
The Bombens returned the Corvette to its original Sebring Silver color. -

The guys originally wanted the car to be painted blue. However, after finding its original Sebring Silver color hidden behind the taillight bezels, they changed their minds.

The car was completed in time for the 1989 Bloomington Gold Corvette show. After getting judged, their classic earned a Silver Award. They went home with a long list of items that needed to be addressed to garner a Gold rating.

"Dad wanted Gold. It took us nearly three years to go through that list but we went one item at a time getting it right," Dan says.

On a trip back home to Venice, Gino Bomben of Chicago scored a vintage license plate from Rome. Proud of his Italian heritage, he displays it on the front of his American dream car.
On a trip back home to Venice, Gino Bomben of Chicago scored a vintage license plate from Rome. Proud of his Italian heritage, he displays it on the front of his American dream car. -

In 1993, father and son returned to find their hard work had paid off; they were awarded Gold.

Gino has driven the car on longer trips, traveling to Hersey, Pennsylvania, and to the official opening of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

"We're like a couple of kids talking about the car or when we're working on it," Dan says. "It's an amazing feeling when you've had your hand all through a special project like this, and especially to have done it with your dad."

• Share your car's story with Matt at auto@dailyherald.com.

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