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Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)

05 Dec 06 - 06:36 PM (#1901043)
Subject: Origins: A One Upmanship Song
From: Kudzuman

Hi all,

I'm trying to find the author of a song about a young man who hears about a Corvette for sale for $65 bucks and the lady selling it is doing so because her husband left her for a 20 year old and needed money and says "Honey sell my car". I checked the threads but had no luck. I understand John McCutcheon may have played this tune. Thanks in advance for any and all help.


05 Dec 06 - 06:48 PM (#1901056)
Subject: RE: Origins: A One Upmanship Song
From: oldhippie

"The Corvette" or "The Red Corvette" is by John McCutcheon, also recorded by Charlie King.

05 Dec 06 - 08:33 PM (#1901176)
Subject: RE: Origins: A One Upmanship Song (Corvette)
From: John on the Sunset Coast

How interesting! Just this past Saturday, I was giving a synopsis of this song to a singer friend altho' I didn't recall the words or the singer.
Now I can give him the lyrics....Thank you, thank you.

05 Dec 06 - 08:38 PM (#1901178)
Subject: RE: Origins: A One Upmanship Song (Corvette)
From: Charley Noble

Thanks for posting the link. I've been fond of that song for years but knew little about its origins.

Charley Noble
    I sneaked in the link.
    -Joe the UnClone

05 Dec 06 - 09:13 PM (#1901207)
Subject: RE: Origins: A One Upmanship Song (Corvette)
From: Kudzuman

Wonderful! Thanks to all!


27 Jan 17 - 06:59 PM (#3835259)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
From: Joe Offer

Robert Rodriquez says this goes back to many different versions, including Porsches and Mercedeses. Anybody know of other songs that tell this story? Robert says the McCutcheon melody sounds very familiar to him - and it does to me. Does anybody know other songs with this melody?

I learned to drive on a 1961 Volkswagen, which I loved. I wonder if there's a version of this song about a 1961 Volkswagen.

No, huh?


27 Jan 17 - 07:12 PM (#3835260)
Subject: ADD: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
From: Joe Offer

I don't think this song has been posted here, and I couldn't find it in the generous selection of lyrics at John McCutcheon's Website,

Interestingly, I found the lyrics in a sermon at Here they are, corrected while I was listening to the recording.

(John McCutcheon)

One morning while reading the paper, in search of a new set of wheels,
The classifieds had a most curious ad in their listing of automobiles.
I read in suspicious amusement what seemed like a wild stroke of luck.
"Corvette Stingray," it said, "low mileage, bright red, '83 model, 65 bucks."

Now I was used to my newspaper's typos, still I called up that number straight 'way.
About that '83 'Vette, have you sold that thing yet? She said, "No, you're my first call today."
I said, "There's been some mistake in the paper. They've printed the price wrong somehow."
"Oh no," replied she, "they got that from me." I said, "Don't sell that car. I'm leaving now."

Her address was in a part of the city where I'd ventured just one time or two.
Where doctors, bank presidents, and lawyers are residents and houses are massive and new.
As I turned up the half-mile driveway, there in the heat of the day,
In the sunlight it gleamed, the car of my dreams, just $65 away.

Now the interior was done in white leather. It had a 587 V-8,
Gull wingspan doors, Hurst four on the floor and the eight-channel tape deck was great.
There was chrome on the chrome on the fenders, an aerodynamic design.
A bar, a TV it was boggling to me that for 65 bucks this was mine.

I expected this woman was crazy to sell off this car at that price.
But as we walked down the lane, she seemed perfectly sane. She was charming, really quite nice.
And she smiled with such great satisfaction as she handed me title and keys.
I said, "I've just gotta know why you've let this thing go. What's wrong with this car, tell me please?"

Said she, "I'll be sixty come Tuesday. I've lived here with my husband Earl.
But after thirty years wed and without a word said, he left me for a young teenage girl.
But with his credit cards left here behind him, I knew that he couldn't get far.
Last night from Florida he, sent a wire to me. Said, "I need money dear, sell the car."

Here's the recording: has a page on this story, but no other songs.

28 Jan 17 - 12:02 AM (#3835280)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
From: GUEST,Gerry

It's in the DT, under the title, A True Story.

28 Jan 17 - 07:15 PM (#3835420)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Gerry - Once upon a time, I knew that the song was listed in the DT as "A True Story" - I'm probably the one who included the song in the crosslinks above. McCutcheon's Website does not list the song in its lyrics section. On McCutcheon's Water from Another Time retrospective, the song is titled "The Red Corvette," and the songwriter is listed as John McCutcheon.

30 Aug 21 - 07:03 PM (#4118327)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
From: Joe Offer

Other versions of this song?

Somebody says there's a version of this in the "Vanishing Hitchhiker" collection of urban legends.

30 Aug 21 - 07:28 PM (#4118328)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
From: RTim

A friend of mine - Jim Morrison - plays the Pedal Steel on John McCutcheon's Red Corvette recording...

Tim Radford

30 Aug 21 - 07:49 PM (#4118330)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

In the interest of clarification.

It had a 587 V-8,
Gull wingspan doors

I do not believe Cevrolet every made such a monster.



30 Aug 21 - 09:54 PM (#4118343)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Garg - I thought the same, but there have been Chevrolet engines in that range. Here's a Chevy engine with a 572 cubic inch displacement:

And there are Corvette gullwing doors available as custom aftermarket equipment. My wife's previous husband was a very good friend of mine, and I got married to her about a year after he died. He had a Corvette that he just loved, and it was just beautiful. His kids inherited the car when he died, and they sold it. It was a beautiful thing, and its engine was huge. It drove like a truck, but it sure could go fast. Not my kind of car, but it was a work of art.

I think McCutcheon meant the gullwing doors and engine displacement to be hyperbole.


30 Aug 21 - 11:12 PM (#4118353)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
From: GerryM

Yes, it's in Jan Harold Brunvand, The Vanishing Hitchhiker, starting on page 22.

Start Brunvand

    "The Philanderer's Porsche"

    Since "The Death Car" itself never seems to turn up for sale – and the smell of death seems quite tolerable to the would-be sports car owner – may we not trust in the slightly less astonishing but still fully believable tale, "The Philanderer's Porsche"? Ann Landers published this hoary story in 1979, sent in to her by a faithful reader who claimed to have read it in the Chicago Tribune:

    A man in California saw an ad in the paper for an "almost new" Porsche, in excellent condition – price $50. He was certain the printers had made a typographical error, but even at $5,000 it would have been a bargain, so he hurried to the address to look at the car.

    A nice-looking woman appeared at the front door. Yes, she had placed the ad. The price was indeed $50. "The car," she said, "is in the garage. Come and look at it."

    The fellow was overwhelmed. It was a beautiful Porsche, and, as the ad promised, "nearly new." He asked if he could drive the car around the block. The woman said, "Of course," and went with him.

    The Porsche drove like a dream. The young man peeled off $50 and handed it over, somewhat sheepishly. The woman gave him the necessary papers, and the car was his.

    Finally, the new owner couldn't stand it any longer. He had to know why the woman was selling the Porsche at such a ridiculously low price. Her reply was simple: With a half-smile on her face, she said, "My husband ran off with his secretary a few days ago and left a note instructing me to sell the car and the house, and send him the money."

    Ann Landers, always trusting in human nature and in her research contacts, accepted the story as a true one and asked the Tribune managing editor about it.: "He, too, had read the story and thought it was hilarious," Ann reported, "but his researchers could not find it in their paper. However, the incident did happen as reported and was a news story somewhere."

    Now think about it: would a man who was going off with his secretary not do it in his Porsche (possibly one reason she fell for him to start with), and would he really trust his poor abandoned wife to dispose of his property fairly? Not surprisingly, we find that essentially the same story sometimes concludes in other versions with the wife saying that she was merely carrying out her late husband's instructions in his will that she sell the car and give the proceeds to his mistress. This form of the story has been known in England since 1948 and was reprinted in the press there as recently as 1969. Both treatments of the theme – philanderer's expensive car sold cheaply by irate wife (or widow) – dramatize the undeniable pleasure of "getting even."

End Brunvand

OK, so the story, in one form or another, goes back way before the Red Corvette song. But it's possible that it was John McCutcheon who put it to music.

01 Sep 21 - 05:32 AM (#4118450)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
From: GerryM

Brunvand gives another version of the story in a later book, Too Good to Be True. At the end, he writes, "I heard singer John McCutcheon perform his own variation on A Prairie Home Companion," and then quotes the first stanza of the song.