High Horsepower Cars Wrecked by Dealers are Nothing New

Photos Courtesy Peter and Bill Trant via driving.ca

Does anyone remember the 2012 Camaro ZL1 wrecked by a stealership just a few months back? We do – and it turns out that this isn’t the first time a brand-new machine has been wrecked by dealership employees over the years.

All the way back in 1965, a brand-new 396-powered Corvette met the same fate at a dealership in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to the story, the car rolled off the hauler and the car was taken for predelivery inspection and detailing. A 20-year-old service writer and mechanic put the dealer plate on the car, and the 425-horse machine rolled out. 

With three miles on the odometer, the driver decided to run the Corvette up through the gears – when a car backed out of a driveway, the car was simply going too fast to stop, and that was the end of the new Corvette. The car was a total loss, the driver and passenger were taken to the hospital, where the passenger nearly died.

The shell of the car was subsequently sold for salvage and purchased by local teacher Peter Trant and his brother Bill – who restored the car to new-appearing status, using their combined skills and the help of local bodyman Don Campbell to pull the frame back into place before proceeding with the restoration.

The car was daily-driven by Bill Trant for a few years, and subsequently sold for the princely sum of $3,800 – and never seen again. Bill purchased a new 1969 Olds Cutlass with the cash and didn’t look back.

Despite the salvage title, the new owner got a fully-optioned big-block Corvette that was the first one delivered to British Columbia, along with an interesting story to tell. If anyone knows the story of where the car ended up, let us know – we’d love to hear about its life over the last half-century!

About the author

Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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