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1969z280 09-26-2012 09:53 PM

1961 Blue Angel Corvette
12 Attachment(s)
1961 Blue Angel Corvette

I purchased this Survivor Corvette from Reggie Jackson earlier this year. Reggie did not know any of the history of the car but the Blue Angel Window Sticker intrigued me. Through a previous California registration, I was able to contact Capt. Jerry Jacobsen and he provided the following very emotional history of this Beautiful Corvette. Curiously, Lt. Mike Van Ortís mother and brother live approximately 20 miles from me now in North East Indiana.

This 1961 Corvette was originally owned by Lt. Mike Van Ort who was a U.S. Navy Blue Angel pilot from 1961 to 1965. Mike was based at Pensacola Naval Air Force Station, Florida and grew-up in Willow Springs, Illinois. Mike purchased the Corvette in 1961 at Community Chevrolet in Berwyn, Illinois. The perfect car for a Blue Angel Pilot. Unfortuanately, Mike died in an F-11A Tiger crash on December 8, 1965.(

His father, Earl Van Ort (who passed in 2009 at age 94), took the Corvette back to Willow Springs, IL after Mikeís death and kept it in a barn until 1981 when he contacted Ed Luedeking (U.S. Navy Pilot), a friend of Mikeís, and asked him if he wanted to purchase the Corvette. Apparently, Earl needed money to put Mikeís sister, Sissy, through college. He didnít really want to sell the car but if he had to he was glad it went to Mikeís friends Ed. The Corvette had 51,000 miles on it at that time.

Ed Luedeking contacted Jimmy Bolski (as told by Ed Luedeking and Jimmy Bolski) a mutual friend of his and Mikeís about getting Mikeís Corvette running and shipped to California where Ed was now based at Norton AFB with the USAF flying C-141ís (Ed transferred from the Navy to the Air Force when orders arrived for another Carrier Tour). Jimmy contacted another friend, Lane Buck, to help work on the car. Mike, Ed, Jimmy, and Lane had been friends for many years. Ed, Jimmy and Lane are still friends.
From late 1981 to spring of 1982 Jimmy and Lane got the car ready to ship to California. Jimmy Bolski recalls:

1. Servicing both the engine and transmission. Neither needed to be rebuilt.
2. Rebuilding both carburetors.
3. Replacing the exhaust with stainless steel exhaust.
4. Installing a new convertible top.
5. Installing new brakes and tires.

Jimmy and Lane trucked Mikeís Corvette out to California in spring of 1982. They pulled a trailer and since there was snow on the ground in Illinois they covered the car and built a splash shield on the front of the trailer to protect it from road damage. They drove 40 hours straight through to Norton AFB and arrived in the late evening. They couldnít get a hold of Ed that night and were afraid the Corvette might get stolen so they slept in the truck until Ed found them in the morning.

Ed kept the car at Capt. Jerry Jacobsenís home in Redlands, CA (an Air Force Captain flying C-141ís at Norton AFB) until he purchased the Corvette from Ed in 1988. The Corvette has been stored in Newport Beach since 1988. The Corvette currently has 61,853 miles on it. It has Mike Van Ortís original Pensacola NAS sticker on the bumper as well as Blue Angel and Red Ripper stickers on the front window..

m22mike 09-26-2012 09:59 PM

Re: 1961 Blue Angel Corvette
WOW, may I be the first to... [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/drool.gif[/img] And go NAVY... [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/flag.gif[/img]

elonblock 09-26-2012 10:10 PM

Re: 1961 Blue Angel Corvette
Beautiful car! Nice job on the detective work and researching the history.


bergy 09-26-2012 11:12 PM

Re: 1961 Blue Angel Corvette
Great story - it makes an outstanding car even better!!

Charley Lillard 09-27-2012 02:31 AM

Re: 1961 Blue Angel Corvette

firstgenaddict 09-27-2012 02:41 AM

Re: 1961 Blue Angel Corvette
That is one of the nicest Straight Axle Vettes I have seen... WOW WOW WOW!

mockingbird812 09-27-2012 12:00 PM

Re: 1961 Blue Angel Corvette

RPOLS3 09-27-2012 12:10 PM

Re: 1961 Blue Angel Corvette
Very nice Ed!


Jack_Tar 09-27-2012 12:58 PM

Re: 1961 Blue Angel Corvette
That is an Awesome story!! and Go Navy!! [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/flag.gif[/img]

markinnaples 09-27-2012 01:18 PM

Re: 1961 Blue Angel Corvette
Amazing that it stayed in that condition. God Bless all of those serving to protect the US, and God Bless America.

Great find, wow.

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