Honoring a True American Original
By Darrel Burnett, Executive Director – The Automobile Gallery & Event Center
February is without contradiction the most romantic month of the year, and not because of the estimated $29 billion that will be lavished on sweethearts and soulmates this Valentine’s Day.
No, February is the month that gave us the greatest love affair in American history; I’m referring, of course, to the Super Bowl! Like all great romances, this one started with a date; Bart Starr’s “date with destiny” on January 15th, 1967.
The years have melted away the original gravity of this game and the magnitude of its meaning. At the time, the forced marriage between the venerable NFL and the young, brash AFL ended in an uneasy truce disguised as a merger in June 1966. A merging of the leagues didn’t translate into a meeting of the minds, however. Nerves were still as raw as steak tartare when Green Bay and Kansas City kicked off at the Los Angeles Coliseum in front of 61,946 fans. Bart Starr and the Packers carried the entire weight of a league on their shoulders that day.
Starr completed 16 of 23 passes for 250 yards and 2 TDs in a one-sided 35-10 win over the Chiefs. 4 hours and 15 minutes of Bart Starr’s life turned an all-time great into a legend for all-time.
56 years ago this Friday, February 3rd, Sport Magazine presented Bart with a 1967 Corvette in honor of his MVP performance — beginning a tradition that would continue for the next 50 years.
With deep appreciation to owners Steve and Joyce-Lyn Altieri of Wallingford, CT, The Automobile Gallery is the only place in the world where you can see Bart’s Super Bowl I MVP Corvette on display. Bart repeated his MVP performance the following year in Super Bowl II against the Raiders and was awarded a 1968 Red Corvette that was raffled to pay off the land mortgage on Rawhide Boys Ranch, a great cause the Starr family still supports.
The Automobile Gallery & Event Center is honored to be a haven for this rich history. I lost a friend and a mentor May 26th, 2019, but I feel truly blessed to come to work every day and be reminded of how truly wonderful Bart Starr was on and off the field. I think it’s fitting that Bart’s Corvette is in original condition in honor of a true American original.