On March 13 and 14, 2021, spectators will have a chance to view Apollo XV Astronaut Dave Scott’s 1971 AstroVette at the Corvette Chevy Expo held at the Galveston Island Convention Center, 5600 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, Texas 77554. Show hours are Saturday 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Sunday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
Today on our blog, we will look at a significant historic automobile and the man who once drove it, Astronaut Dave Scott.
Texas-based collector Danny Reed is a lifelong NASA enthusiast. His collection encompasses Astronaut Corvettes. It started when he spotted Alan Bean’s car on a GMAC lot in Austin. One of his most recent additions to his collection is Apollo XV Astronaut Dave Scott’s 1971 AstroVette
Apollo Astronaut Corvettes
There were only two Apollo Crews that ordered “Matching Corvettes” during the Apollo Missions. The Apollo 12 Crew ordered matching Gold & Black 1969 Corvettes with a paint job designed by Alex Tremulis, North American automotive, industrial designer, well known for designing the Tucker automobile.
The Apollo 15 Crew decided as a group to be patriotic with their Corvettes. One was painted Red, one White, and one Blue. Each had a double stripe placed down the car’s length on top of the three patriotic colors.
Danny Reed tells his story…
My first space adventure began in 1971 when I found and purchased Alan Bean’s 1969 Gold & Black Corvette from a General Motors GMAC used car dealership in Austin, Texas.
After purchasing Bean’s car, the idea and determination to find the other two Apollo 12 AstroVettes and the three Apollo 15 AstroVettes was born. In the early ’70s, there was no “Google,” so gathering information required phone calls, letters, and trips to research files at dealerships and motor vehicle agencies. After a visit with Jim Rathmann of Rathmann Chevrolet in Melbourne, Florida, I was able to get copies of all the documentation on Bean’s car and the VINs of GM cars given to Astronauts in the special lease program put together by Ed Cole, President of General Motors, and Mr. Rathmann.
It took 46 years to find and purchase my 2nd AstroVette, Apollo 15 Astronaut Alfred Worden’s 1971 Corvette. Worden’s car would be considered a “barn find.” I found it on a used camper lot in Austin, Texas. It had been sitting in a field for many years; however, it is now running but has not been washed or vacuumed and still has a wasp nest on the radiator. You may remember
Worden’s car was featured and displayed as a Barn Find at the 2018 Galveston Corvette/Chevy Expo across Bean’s totally restored Corvette.
In November of 2018, Alan Bean’s ’69 and Alfred Worden’s ’71 AstroVettes were in the NASA Gas Station to Space Station display at the National Corvette Museum. On November 8, Derek Moore, Curator of the museum, said they had been contacted by Valerie Bean (no kin to Alan Bean) asking if they wanted to buy an Astronaut Corvette. Derek gave me her information, and I noticed she lived in Florida.
Earlier in my search for the Apollo 15 Corvettes, I had found a news story in the October 22, 1988, Orlando Sentinel newspaper. The story was about an Astronaut Parade with Astronaut Corvettes at Cocoa Beach. A picture of David Scott’s 1971 blue Corvette with red and white stripes was included in the article with a quote from the owner, Ron Calloway, about owning an Astronaut Corvette.
The information Mr. Moore gave me was invaluable as I had never been able to track Mr. Calloway down. I called Valerie and asked about the car and if she was kin to Ron Calloway. She said, “Yes! He is my Grandpa!” We exchanged emails, and she sent me a picture of his car with more information.
Valerie also told me the car had a small block engine and automatic transmission. Ouch! On June 11, 1971, in Life Magazine, all three cars had big block hoods. After looking closer at the Life Magazine picture of the three cars and the picture Valerie had emailed me, I realized that David Scott’s blue car didn’t have the 454 emblems on the hood. After further research, I found that Ed Cole and Jim Rathmann allowed the Apollo 15 crew to choose any drivetrain they wanted in their ’71 Corvettes and that a big block hood was put on Scott’s car so that all three cars would match.
After exchanging emails with Valerie over the next few months, my research of Apollo 15 cars was completed on February 12, 2019, when I received the NCRS Shipping Data Report verifying delivery on February 15, 1971, of David Scott’s Corvette to Rathmann Chevrolet.
On March 5, 2019, I flew to Florida to meet Mr. Calloway and inspect the car. Two hours later, a third Astronaut Corvette was mine. It had only 42,000 original miles and was in such great condition that I called Derek and had the car shipped directly to the National Corvette Museum to be in the NASA Gas Station to Space Station display with Alan Bean and Alfred Worden’s Corvettes.
Photos of Apollo XV Astronaut Dave Scott’s 1971 AstroVette in Mr. Calloway’s garage when Danny Reed found the Corvette.
Early Emails Between Danny and Valerie
On November 8, 2018
Danny Reed wrote:
I have heard you are the owner of Dave Scott’s ’71 Corvette. It is great to know it is still around!
I have Alfred Worden’s ’71 and Alan Bean’s ’69. Alfred Worden’s is a “Barn Find” – unrestored.
Derek at the National Corvette Museum told me you had been in contact with them about the car.
On November 8, 2018
Valerie Bean wrote:
Hello, yes my grandpa has the blue corvette and has had it since Dave Scott returned it in 1971. The car is beautiful and we have a signed photo from Jim Rathmann’s office. My grandfather was friends with Jim Rathmann till he passed and still is in contact with his wife. It has not been in the public eye since 1988, I believe. How did you go about the authentification process? My grandpa is wanting to sell the car now for someone else to enjoy.
On November 8, 2018
Danny Reed wrote:
Documentation is not a fun process, but I will follow up with more information. Since Rathmann died, documentation is much harder – seems all the files disappeared. It is pretty easy to get NCRS to document Corvettes for about $100. Should verify Florida Zone / dropped shipped to Rathmann.
I use my cars to promote the space program. I would love to have Dave’s ‘71 with the Bean and Worden’s car. I am very interested.
David Scott was born in San Antonio, Texas, on June 6, 1932, the son of Tom Scott, a fighter pilot in the United States Army Air Corps. David looked up to his father so much that he decided he wanted to be a military pilot as well. The family moved a lot during David’s early life, but David never lost sight of his goal. Working hard in school, he eventually received an invitation to attend West Point in 1950.
After graduating fifth in his class of 633 students in 1954, Scott chose to enter a relatively new branch of the military called the United States Air Force. After extensive pilot training, he was assigned to the 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron in the Netherlands, where he served until July of 1960. Having a desire to become an Air Force test pilot, Scott enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to earn a Master of Science degree in Engineering in Aeronautics and Astronautics. After graduation from MIT in 1962, he was assigned to the Air Force Academy to be a professor but was able to get a change order that led to him fulfilling his dream of being a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base. In 1963 he would apply to be in the third class of astronauts at NASA and was quickly accepted.
Apollo 15 Corvettes
The Apollo 15 mission’s three astronauts ordered their Corvettes through the Rathmann Courtesy Car Program and had a unique idea for how they wanted their Corvettes to appear. The three decided as a group to be patriotic with their Corvettes. One was painted Mille Miglia Red, one Classic White, and one Bridgehampton Blue. On top of the three patriotic colors, each had a double stripe placed down the car’s length, just to the left of center, with the other two colors of the American flag. Scott’s Corvette was Bridgehampton Blue with white and red stripes. Although Worden and Irwin had ordered their Corvettes with 454-cubic engines and 4-speed transmissions, Scott opted for the smaller 350-cubic inch engine with automatic transmission.
David Scott’s 1971 Corvette was located in Florida and purchased by Danny Reed from Ron Calloway. Ron Calloway had bought the car from Rathmann when David Scott turned it in in 1971. It was well kept and still retains its original finishes. The Corvette also has the original drivetrain, equipment, and accessories all in working condition from the days when David Scott sat behind the steering wheel.
Gemini 8 Mission
David Scott was a pilot for the Gemini 8 mission under the command of Neil Armstrong. The primary objective of the Mission was to perform the first-ever docking between two vehicles in Earth orbit. After Scott and Armstrong successfully accomplished this objective, they also became the first astronauts to experience a critical system failure in space as the spacecraft developed unplanned rotation. To gain control of the situation, the two astronauts initiated the undocking sequence. However, after undocking the Gemini capsule, the roll increased, forcing Scott to deactivate the capsule’s control system and activate its reentry system… He and Armstrong were able to gain control of the spacecraft after that, but as dictated in NASA policy, they had to cut the Mission short and return to Earth. Gemini 8 lifted off from Earth on March 16, 1966, and would return to Earth10 hours and 41 minutes later due to the control issues they encountered.
Apollo 9 Mission
The Apollo 9 mission saw David Scott take the role of Command Module Pilot, an extremely crucial position on this Mission. The main objective for Apollo 9 was to perform the first-ever docking of the Lunar Module and the Command Module while in Earth orbit. Successfully performing these dockings would prove that NASA was ready to achieve the goal of landing on the Moon. The crew on this Mission included Commander James McDivitt and Lunar Module Pilot Russell Schweickart. Together with David Scott, they were able to successfully dock the Lunar Module and Command Module the two times required by their mission objectives with no issues during the dockings. NASA was now ready to attempt a moon landing. Apollo 9 was lifted off from Earth on March 3, 1969, and spent ten days, one hour and 54 seconds completing the mission objectives before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean on March 13, 1969.
Apollo 15 Mission
David Scott was the Commander of the Apollo 15 mission. As Commander, Scott with James Irwin, the Lunar Module Pilot, were the two astronauts scheduled to land on the Moon’s surface. The mission objectives involved the exploration of the Hadley-Apennine region of the Moon. The goals were to set up and activate scientific equipment, evaluate new equipment being used by the Apollo missions, and conduct lunar orbit experiments and photography.
Apollo 15 was David Scott’s third and final Mission to space and was record-setting for both NASA and the crew. Apollo 15 carried the heaviest payload ever into lunar orbit. The Mission marked the longest time spent in lunar orbit at 145 hours, as well as the longest crewed lunar Mission at 295 hours. The first lunar orbit satellite was also launched by a crewed spacecraft. The crew of Apollo 15 lifted off from Earth on July 26, 1971, and returned to Earth on August 7, 1971, when they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.
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