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Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum welcomes donation of four special Corvettes

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James Sandoro poses with the four recently donated Corvettes. Photo by Mark Mulville, courtesy The Buffalo News.

The Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum is best known for its collection of vehicles built in Buffalo, New York (and the surrounding area), but the facility also honors those with ties to its home state. Recently, the museum received a donation of four unique Chevrolet Corvettes, all with ties to New York, courtesy of Mike Yager and the Yager Family Collection.

1964 Corvette styling exercise

This fuel-injected 1964 Corvette coupe was modified by GM’s Tech Center for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Changes included a larger grille, custom side exhausts, dual sport mirrors, and a hood cutout to show off the fuel injection. Remaining photos courtesy The Yager Family Collection.

As museum founder James Sandoro explained to us, the four cars are the first Corvettes to join the museum’s permanent collection, and the donation came about after Sandoro was asked to appraise a car for Yager. There, he saw a candy apple red 1964 Corvette coupe originally built as a styling exercise for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and the Sting Ray immediately triggered memories for Sandoro.

1964 Corvette styling exercise

Built for Buffalo native Bunkie Knudsen, this 1964 Corvette coupe wears Cadillac Fire Frost Blue paint, a unique hood, an oversize cast grille, white-leather high-back bucket seats, Cadillac carpeting, a telescoping steering wheel, and custom side pipes. Power comes from a V-8, rated at 365 hp.

“Five of us drove down from Buffalo in a 1960 Chevy to see the 1964 New York World’s Fair,” he tells us, “but we didn’t have any place to stay and wound up sleeping in the car. I distinctly remember the red fuel-injected coupe on display at GM’s Pavilion.” That solidified the car’s ties to New York, and a few days later, Yager called to tell Sandoro that he’d be donating the candy-apple-red coupe to the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum.

1962 Corvette

This 1962 Corvette “tanker,” powered by a, 360-hp fuel-injected V-8, was raced to an SCCA B Production Championship by Long Island native Frank Dominianni in 1964.

Yager’s generosity wasn’t done. When the discussion turned to a second 1964 Corvette coupe, customized for Buffalo native (and then Chevrolet general manager) Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, the Mid America Motorworks founder decided this needed to be in the Buffalo museum as well. Two more donations followed, including a 1962 Corvette “tanker” raced to a 1964 SCCA B Production championship by Long Island native (and Bridgehampton expert) Frank Dominianni and a 1969 Corvette Stingray convertible raced to a 1978 SCCA A Production championship by Elliott Forbes-Robinson. This car’s ties to New York, aside from racing at tracks in state? It was powered by an L88 V-8, constructed at GM’s Tonawanda Engine factory in Buffalo.

1969 Corvette L88

Powered by an L88 V-8 built in Tonawanda, this factory lightweight Stingray convertible race car scored 46 in-period wins in 49 races. In 1978, Elliott Forbes-Robinson drove the Corvette to an SCCA A Production Championship at Road Atlanta.

Given the special nature and unique histories of the donated Corvettes, their collective value is said to be $6.3 million, making this the largest donation ever received by the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum. Western New York, thanks in part to the Tonawanda Engine factory, has always had a love affair with the Corvette (and other high-performance Chevrolets, such as Sandoro’s first new car, a 1963 Bel Air with a 409), and these four are expected to draw in as many as 10,000 new visitors annually.

The museum recently received more good news as well: Next year, the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum will serve as the starting point for the 2018 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty. Look for further details on next year’s Great Race following the conclusion of this year’s event.

For more on the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, visit