An ice blue 1978 diesel-powered Corvette has made its way home.
"I'm just sort of excited," said Jean Sanson of St. Albans. "This car has made a full circle."
The car had burned in 1981 when her husband, Richard, and their 17-year-old son, Ricky, turned it from a pile of charred wreckage into a rare vehicle. Her husband's business involves overhauling old cars and selling them.
"They made a show car out of it," Jean said of the Corvette. "They turned it into diesel so it would not be a hot rod car but a family car."
Father and son did some major work on the sleek car that stole the limelight at major auto shows in Knoxville, Tenn., and Columbus, Ohio.
They had thought for a good while about converting a Corvette from gasoline to diesel. Then in October 1981, a Corvette caught fire as it was being driven on Interstate 77 near Charleston. The front end was ruined and the interior gutted. Sanson paid $2,600 for little more than its frame. It was to be a car for Ricky to drive and show.
They installed a diesel engine and welded stronger body supports onto the frame to handle the bigger engine. The car was rewired. Other changes involved the exhaust system, drive shaft and fuel lines. Only the best parts were used.
In mid March 1982 the Sansons took the car to a Corvette show in Knoxville that was held in conjunction with the World's Fair. A dealer offered $18,000 for the car. A similar incident occurred in Columbus.
They were looking forward most of all to an April show that year in Key West, Fla., where they would see how their car stood up against the very best.
Before that could happen, tragedy struck.
Ricky died in an unusual accident and the family was devastated. On March 28, 1982, he fell out the door of a pickup truck and broke his neck, his mother said.
Ricky's grief-stricken parents kept the car as a memorial to their son.