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[i]As for authenticating the Corvette as Armstrong's, Rathmann did keep files on all of his astronaut cars, but subsequent owners of the dealership destroyed those records. Still, Armstrong's name appears on the Protect-O-Plate, and Crosby convinced Jack Legere, a friend of his who works at NASA, to show Armstrong Crosby's photos of the Corvette during one of Armstrong's periodic visits to Florida. "He immediately recalled it and grinned ear to ear," Crosby said. "He didn't have time then to check it out in person, and we all know what happened next." Armstrong died in late August at the age of 82.
Up until this summer, Crosby intended to subject the Corvette to a full restoration, as he had with all of his other Corvettes, but then mid-year expert David Burroughs, a champion of original and preserved cars, convinced him to call preservationist Eric Gill of nearby Port Orange, Florida. Like Burroughs, Gill prefers preservation over restoration, particularly when it comes to cars with provenance, such as the Neil Armstrong Corvette.
"Preservation is the cutting edge in the hobby right now," Gill said. "The term is deceptive because some people think it just means sitting on the car, but we're actually developing protocols for retaining the history of a car, as opposed to wiping away all that history in a restoration. A historically significant car is only as interesting as the people who gave it that history."[/i]
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