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MASON CITY — The 15-year restoration of a 1961 Chevrolet Corvette came to a screeching halt on Tuesday when the classic car was hit while on its final test drive in Mason City.

The crash happened about 9:30 a.m. on South Delaware Avenue near First Street Southeast. 

Police say the driver of a black Chevrolet Impala accidentally swerved into the Corvette while attempting to change from the right to left lane.

No one was hurt. 

The driver of the Corvette, Ray Shimak, said he was about to ship the car to its owner, Lee Snell, in Florida. 

"Just taking it for its last test ride to check the shifter adjustment out," said Shimak, who runs Ray's Collision in Mason City.

Snell, a retired Mason City businessman, had been restoring the vehicle since he bought it in the 70s, Shimak said.

He said the vehicle had been stripped down for use as a drag racer, but Snell spent years tracking down parts. Snell and his son began restoring it in the 1980s, and Shimak took over in 2006.

"All restorations take a lot of time, especially when you start with one that's just a shell," Shimak said. "I just feel for him he waited to so long to get get back."

The impact took a chunk out of the classic Corvette's right rear. The front also was damaged.

Shimak, who informed Snell of the incident, says he now hopes to have it fixed by Jan. 1.

"He's a patient man," Shimak said. 

The crash remained under investigation Tuesday.



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