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Chevy Dealer Gives Free Car to 104-Year-Old War Veteran Who Came in to Buy One

Yessir, it appears you paid off this car… 75 years ago.

byJames Gilboy|
Chevrolet News photo


When car dealers end up in the news, it's rarely for a good reason. More often than not, it's because they're mistreating customers, scalping limited-production models, or outright conspiring against direct sales models that circumvent the divisive dealer system. But this time, we're reporting on a car dealership for something good. How good? A New York Chevy dealer gifted a brand-new car to an elderly veteran.

Joe Basil Chevrolet was visited last Thursday by 104-year-old veteran Clint Johnson, and though specific details of his service weren't shared, both his centenarian status and Twentieth Air Force cap suggests he served in World War II. While Johnson is said to have shown up intending to buy a 2020 Chevrolet Sonic, dealer staff saw no better way to thank him for his service—all gave some, some gave all, as they say—than handing over the keys for free.

Joe Basil Chevrolet has a track record of this sort of generosity, and up through 2019, ran an annual "Vehicles for Vets" program that funded both a local veterans' center and car giveaway. Because COVID-19 presumably precluded this year's event, Joe Basil Chevrolet appears to have cut to the chase and simply given a car to the first person it deemed eligible.

While sales of the dated Chevrolet Sonic are some of the poorest in the brand's lineup and the opportunity to rid of one was likely welcomed by the dealer, its past veteran giveaway programs have let customers pick the vehicles they want. So, while most readers of The Drive would make a beeline for a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, there are more important things to consider at age 104 than sub-three zero-to-60 times.

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