FORT WORTH, TX — Having acquired an immensely rare combination of color and model year, local car collector Don Bryanton was reported to own one of just ninety-seven million, six hundred forty-one thousand, nine hundred thirty-five examples of the 2003 Chevrolet Corvette finished in “Red” from the factory.
“She’s a real one-of-a-kind,” he told us in an interview, affectionately patting the car’s roof a few times. “A collector’s item.”
“Actually, this ‘Vette is a unicorn,” he continued. “Only a select few 2003 models were painted in red. The vast majority were…well, some other color.”
Bryanton paused to puff the cigar he had been smoking. Unable to contain his excitement, however, he promptly resumed informing us about his prized possession.
“Uh buh, thuh bubha thub. …buh…nuh,” he grunted, the enormous cigar severely restricting his jaw’s range of motion.
We paused, unable to make sense of what Bryanton intended to say, or whether he meant to speak at all. Approximately half a minute of Bryanton looking for birds to shoo away passed before he saw the confused look on our faces. He then removed the cigar from his mouth, and extinguished it.
“I bought this bad boy new,” he clarified, realizing his babbling had been unintelligible. “That’s what I meant.”
Independent sources were able to confirm Bryanton purchased the vehicle new from a local dealership and has owned it ever since.
“I paid 50K out the door,” he boasted. “Absolute steal for a red ’03. That salesman had no idea what he had.”
The Corvette’s original MSRP back in 2003 was $43,635, or just over $60,000 today. The current value for a standard Corvette from this area hovers between $8,000 and $18,000, depending on condition, miles, and options.
“This is no standard Corvette,” Bryanton said. “The rare color of mine means you can’t judge the value based on other C5s.”
Statistics released by General Motors indicate red, by some margin, was the most common color for the 2003 Corvette. Other colors, according to these figures, are significantly more rare.
“I’ve listed it on eBay Motors for $150k, which is a steal,” he said, “but I haven’t yet gotten an offer worth taking. All these damn kids…trying to lowball me, but I know what I have.”
He paused, looked at the ground, and sighed. “One guy offered me forty-five grand for it.”
“That still hurts.”
Reaching into the pocket of his denim shorts, Bryanton fished out the keys to his vehicle and turned toward its driver’s side.
“I got the auto tranny,” he said, gesturing toward the gear lever after opening the door. “Most people think it’s so my ol’ lady can drive it, but the truth is my athritis really acts up if I drive a stick.”
“She aint’ gettin near this fuckin’ thing.”
His wife then yelled from inside, “Bran will you take out this gat damn recyclin’?”
Bryanton entered his car and started the engine. Waiting for the car to adequately warm, he inserted a Metallica CD into the player and raised the volume to a deafening level.
Once fifteen minutes had passed, Bryanton shifted his car into reverse and took meticulous care as he crept the approximately twenty feet back into his garage.
His parking maneuver a success, Bryanton revealed that the entirety of his Corvette’s existence was confined to the garage. “She don’t come out of here much,” he said, surrounded by novelty signage restricting parking to Corvette owners.
Our interview with Bryanton concluded when he dismissed us so he could take out the recycling, and ensure each hair-like appendage sprouting out of his Corvette’s tires was accounted for.