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1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 427/435 HP Tri-Power Formerly Owned by Astronaut Gus Grissom

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 13:47
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 S176 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Formerly Owned by Astronaut Gus Grissom Photo 1

Astronauts are by their very nature a breed apart, none more so than the seven pioneering men of the Mercury space program launched by NASA in 1959. Among the most famous of them was Lt. Colonel Virgil “Gus” Grissom, who on July 21, 1961, became the second American – after Alan Shepard – to travel to outer space, and in March 1965 the first NASA astronaut to repeat that monumental feat. Grissom perished with his Apollo 1 colleagues Roger Chaffee and Edward White in a launch pad fire on January 27th, 1967, their heroic efforts paving the way to the historic 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, fulfilling the goal set forth by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

Like his fellow astronauts Grissom was also adventurous on Terra Firma, and in 1967 he took delivery of this L71 427/435 HP Tri-Power convertible from Jim Rathmann Chevrolet in Melbourne, Florida. Rathmann, himself an adventurer who raced in the Indianapolis 500 14 times and won in 1960, witnessed many a race at the expansive Cape Canaveral NASA complex between Grissom and Shepard, who drove an identically-equipped Corvette.

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