High-mileage Corvette is grandfather's legacy

  • Don Hoskins was active in the National Council of Corvette Clubs and won many awards at shows. Here he displays some of his trophies in 1965. His beloved 1960 Corvette is now owned by his grandson, Brian Hoskins of Utica.

    Don Hoskins was active in the National Council of Corvette Clubs and won many awards at shows. Here he displays some of his trophies in 1965. His beloved 1960 Corvette is now owned by his grandson, Brian Hoskins of Utica. Courtesy of Hoskins family

  • Don Hoskins' Corvette was in a fender-bender in 1972.

    Don Hoskins' Corvette was in a fender-bender in 1972. Courtesy of Hoskins family

  • Will Rivera of Chicago purchased his 1970 Corvette Stingray, above, at the Toy Store in Rockford as a 23-year-old in 1983. Will has since completed a 3½-year, full restoration. While he wasn't always a fan of the green paint, he has since come to love its uniqueness.

    Will Rivera of Chicago purchased his 1970 Corvette Stingray, above, at the Toy Store in Rockford as a 23-year-old in 1983. Will has since completed a 3½-year, full restoration. While he wasn't always a fan of the green paint, he has since come to love its uniqueness.

  • The 10th annual Vettester's Magazine Corvette Show April 23 in St. Charles.

    The 10th annual Vettester's Magazine Corvette Show April 23 in St. Charles.

  • Corvettes of all generations were on display at the show, which kicked off 2017's suburban car show and cruise night season.

    Corvettes of all generations were on display at the show, which kicked off 2017's suburban car show and cruise night season.

  • Corvette owners from around the Midwest converged in downtown St. Charles last weekend.

    Corvette owners from around the Midwest converged in downtown St. Charles last weekend.

 
 
Updated 5/1/2017 6:27 AM

Looking to grab my attention? Tell me about a classic car with 280,000 miles, owned by the same family since it was new. Tell me it's a 1960 Corvette and there's loads of old family photos with it, too, and you better believe I'm in for the full scoop.

I got it all, thanks to Brian Hoskins of Utica.

 

Hoskins displayed his 1960 'Vette at the 10th annual Vettester's Magazine Corvette Show last weekend in St. Charles -- and I made sure to get his full story. It's nothing short of amazing and a tale that came so close to never happening at all.

Rewind back to the year 1960 and you'll find Brian's grandparents, Don and Erna Hoskins, living a simple life in rural Des Moines, Iowa. They weren't ones to go after fancy things but when an aunt passed, Don was left with a sizable chunk of change. His heart raced at the chance to buy his dream machine: a gleaming Corvette.

Brian Hoskins drove the car his grandfather purchased in 1960 to the 10th annual Vettester's Magazine Corvette Show in St. Charles April 23.
Brian Hoskins drove the car his grandfather purchased in 1960 to the 10th annual Vettester's Magazine Corvette Show in St. Charles April 23. - Courtesy of Matt Avery Media

Mulling it over, Don settled on letting the notion go. Once Erna caught wind of his resolution, she came and changed his mind.

"Grandma prompted him to pass on saving the money and to go buy the car he always wanted," Brian says.

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With her encouragement, the couple headed to Wright Chevrolet in Carlisle, Iowa. There, they traded in their 1956 Chevy 210 sedan to purchase the 'Vette. From that July day to Don's passing in 1972, the Corvette was they only car the couple drove.

Saying Don was Corvette-crazy would be an understatement. He and Erna jumped right into the club scene and were founding members of the Corvette Club of Iowa (which is still active today). Don served on the club's board of directors every year and was governor from 1962 to 1966. In 1962 he was voted Outstanding Club Member and in 1968 was honored with the President's Award from the president of the National Council of Corvette Clubs.

Don Hoskins' Corvette was in a fender-bender in 1972.
Don Hoskins' Corvette was in a fender-bender in 1972. - Courtesy of Hoskins family

Don served as the official flagman at club events, standing out with his unique flair for dancing around while waving the checkered flag. He and Erna attended every National Council Convention from 1964 until 1972. That last event was held in Dallas and while heading home the couple was rear-ended. It was a major wreck but the car was fixed and back on the road in no time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

During Don's ownership, the car was washed at least every other day and waxed once a month. Don was known to dust off the car during his lunch hour at work and he kept a steering wheel cover in place whenever it was parked. Despite the extreme babying, he was never afraid to drive it, motoring to many out-of-state destinations. One regular travel spot was to Duluth, Minnesota, to visit Brian's family.

Brian's earliest memory of his grandparent's 'Vette was when they brought him a small toy Corvette of his own that he could ride on.

After Don's passing, Brian's father took over ownership. He, too, loved the sportster and racked up more miles, cruising to local shows and events. Last year, Brian's dad surprised him and handed over the keys. Facing some health issues, he wanted Brian to carry on the family tradition.

"I'm going to keep driving it," Brian says, "and keep the spirit of my grandpa alive."

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

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