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Big Apple Cruising: Uncle Jack’s Beloved One Family Corvette

Unrestored 1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car

Ask anyone who knew him, and they'd say Jack Alberti had the world on a string. The handsome Air Force veteran lived in Brooklyn, was an award-winning artist and photographer, and had a passion for classical music and jazz.


In 1959, he purchased a brand-new Chevrolet Corvette. Little did he know, this all-American classic would become a treasured family heirloom, holding countless happy motoring memories and embodying Jack's enduring love of life.  


His nieces, Jackie and Melody Fiore, are the vehicle’s current caretakers and fondly remember growing up in the Big Apple. “All of our family, including Jack, lived together in a house in Bensonhurst “recalls Jackie. “Uncle Jack was like a surrogate father to us.” 


1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car
Jack's nieces, Jackie & Melody Fiore, are the classic's current caretakers.
1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car

Life on the Streets 

 

The day he brought the Corvette home from Don Allen Chevrolet in Manhattan marked the beginning of countless adventures. “We were all so excited, with even the neighborhood coming out to see the vehicle,’ said Melody. “Nobody had a sports car on the street – it was a very traditional Italian conservative area, and a flashy ride like this stood out.”  


1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car

The car was painted Snowcrest White paired with a black convertible top and red interior.  

Right away, the Vette became the family’s primary mode of transportation, used for school runs and grocery trips. “There were times when our mother, grandmother, and my sister and I all rode with my uncle,’ laughs Melody. “That little Corvette would fit all five of us, and sometimes even our collie Heather would jump in for rides.”  


1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car
Jack's photos show his Corvette in early years of ownership.

The family home did have a garage and at night, Jack would park the car inside but during the daylight hours, it’d be out on the street seeing daily, year-round use. Jack even purchased snow tires for those months of winter driving.  


“It wasn’t considered a ‘sporty car’ until it needed to be,’ said Jackie. “As we entered our teenage years, it got even more exciting to see all our uncle’s friends coming over in their MGs, Aston Martins and Jaguar XKEs. They would spend hours talking about racecars and planning trips to the track over a meal of grandmother’s meat sauce.”  


Eventually, the family acquired a Corvair to help with transportation, but Jack’s Vette remained a special treat for Jackie and Melody. Sometimes, it proved to be an irritant. “When we started dating, many times our suitors would come arrive to the house and become disinterested in us because they gravitated towards Uncle Jack and his car. They would be sitting there chatting, while we furiously waited, wondering when we would leave for our date,’ laughed Melody.  


1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car
A rare photo showing one of the nieces' outings with Uncle Jack.
1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car

Empire State of Mind 

 

There was still plenty of time cruising with their uncle. “Some of our most beloved memories would be summer outings to Plum Beach, Coney Island and racing down the Belt Parkway. We loved the ride to the property he owned in an artist community in upstate New York,’ said Jackie. “Any time we went out with him we felt like celebrities” recalled Melody. 


True to his personality, Jack was meticulous in his care of the Corvette. He kept copious notes and maintenance records and even sought to improve the vehicle’s performance. His logs show careful documentation of when to change the transmission fluid, the rear axle oil and even when the front wheel bearings were repacked.  



A Heartbreaking Theft 

 

The carefree years ended abruptly in the early 1970s when Jack suffered a heart attack, followed by quadruple bypass surgery. His recovery was marred by tragedy when vandals stole the Corvette one night while parked outside the family home.  


Although recovered by the police days later, the car bore signs of damage. “While we got it back, the whole thing just broke him,’ said Melody. “It weighed on him and was a factor in him never fully regaining his strength.” Several years later Jack passed away. 


“His death was devasting,’ said Jackie. “His car had become a symbol of his youthful, joyful spirit and there was no way this car was leaving the family.” In his will, Jack left the car to his sister who passed it to her daughters Melody and Jackie.  


1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car

1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car

A Symbol of Resilience 

 

The classic was soon loaded up onto a flatbed truck and relocated to a garage space in Rockland County where it remained preserved for several decades. Its last state inspection stickers are from November of 1978. 


1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car
The last time the car was registered was in 1978.

 It was only at last year’s Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals that it emerged for its first public appearance in 45 years and all that was prompted by Jackie’s outgoing German Shephard mix. 


“She’s very protective of me and always barked at my neighbors when they walked by with their dog,’ explains Jackie “. That led to a friendship with small talk leading to classic cars. After hearing of Jack’s Corvette, they said it would be perfect for the show’s ‘Barn Finds and Hidden Gem’s display.”  


The unique showcase within MCACN highlights classic vehicles in ‘found-is’ condition and is a major draw for spectators.  


1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car

Unveiling the Past 

 

With that encouragement, the gals ventured to the Windy City for their first time at the muscle car and Corvette event.  There, thousands of showgoers got to see Jack’s pride and joy and hear firsthand what he was like. “He was such a major influence in so many ways,’ said Jackie. “He understood creative beauty and had a deep love of the arts. In every way, he was a ‘renaissance man.”  


Jackie and Melody shared how Jack was an illustrator during World War II, drawing engineering sketches of aviation and how later he invented the Contact Printer for 35mm film strips, running a business out of the family home.  


The car was presented in its untouched form from decades ago, still bearing its scars from the hooligans’ carjacking antics. Despite the abuse and wear, the classic still shines bright in presenting the family’s story and was well-received by showgoers.  


1959 Chevrolet Corvette one-family car

Continuing the Tradition 

 

As the excitement of MCACN fades, the future of Jack’s Corvette remains uncertain. Jackie and Melody are contemplating whether to leave it as it is or undergo a full restoration.  


Regardless of the path they choose, nothing will diminish the profound impact it, and the cherished memories of Uncle Jack, have had on them. Inspired by his passion for the arts, both nieces pursued careers in the field, becoming artists, photographers, and educators. 

“It’s a true family heirloom," said Melody. "A constant reminder of Jack, it’s wonderful to share it and relive all those happy memories." 



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