On November 6, 1961 the Bel Air, California fire completely destroyed the home where Jan Berry was living, along with 484 houses in the immediate area.
Jan was on tour with his singing partner Dean Torrence and was in New York at the time.
The 1958 Corvette that Jan had purchased shown in the accompanying photograph, taken on April 14, 1983, was parked on the driveway and was burned to a crisp, windows cracked , paint in very bad shape and the interior gutted. Jan had this car fixed up to some extent and had it painted black, the original color was white. Hard to believe though, the tires withstood the fire and the gasoline did not catch fire. Jans brother Ken was able to drive it down the hill and turn it over to a friend until Jan returned. In August 1963 the car was sold to Jim Blanchard, a classic auto buff, who saw an advertisement in the newspaper. He learned that it had belonged to Jan and it had the original registration in the glove compartment.
Jim spent a number of years on and off as time and money permitted, restoring the car to its original like-new condition going to extreme ends to obtain original type seat coverings, screws, etcetera in order to restore it to the way it came from the factory. He even traced the vehicle through the serial number to the date of manufacturer. He completely stripped the black and white paint from the body and has now painted it Signet Red (Fire Engine Red). The finish is beautifully done with a high polish. The chrome work completely re chromed gives the car a sparkling appearance.
Jim thought that Jan would enjoy seeing how his restoration efforts turned out and brought it to Jans home to the same driveway where it burned. The home had been rebuilt and his parents still live there.
Jim has entered the car in some Classic Car Shows and has won a trophy attesting to the excellence of his work. He continues to fix it up and intends to enter in other shows.