above are the three Corvettes I have owned in the past and
how they looked when I sold them and moved on to my next "project".
Below I will fill you in on the details of their evolution,
and some of the notable events where they were at, or notable
awards earned during my ownership. Well, here we go ......
where it all began ! My very first
Corvette. It's hard to believe that back then you could purchase
a brand new Corvette with a list price of $12,900, and a whopping
out the door price of $11,600 !!. Course, that was pretty
close to what my first job was paying right out of high school
! Anyway, I was a newbie at buying new cars, and had my choice
of this Red/Red Coupe or a Light Blue/Dark Blue Coupe for
the same price. 1978 was Corvette's 25th Silver Anniversary,
and there was a striking Two-tone Silver Annniversary Edition
sitting there for around $16,000, and even one 1978 Corvette
Indy 500 Pace car Edition - one that the Dealer was taking
bids for starting at a whopping $25,000 !!! While I really
liked the Pace car even then, that was crazy money, and I
was fine with the Red/Red Coupe !
a year or so, I became board with just driving a "stock"
Corvette around. This was my first foray into customizing
Corvettes, so I took several "radical" approaches
and when I look back, sometimes I just have to snicker (ok,
laugh) at some of the things I did to the car. While the look
changed each year, what I call "Stage 1" was to
simply apply some white pinstripe tape to the car, paint the
black slots of the aluminum wheels red, and replace some engine
parts, like the air cleaner assembly and valve covers, with
aftermarket pieces from suppliers like Edelbrock. "Stage
2" became a little more challenging - adding some aftermarket
fiberglass pieces, like a rear wing, front spoiler, a stainless
steel "halo" panel from Roman's Chariot Shop (local
customizer) and side exhaust. My now ex-wife decided to surprise
me with new custom seat covers that included the Silver, Claret,
and Gold colored stripes that eventually made it onto the
body paint scheme. First as wide stripes just painted over
the stock red paint, and then becoming more subtle when I
had the entire car repainted.
laugh too much, but here are several phases of the car during
my ownership..... the early days ! Two things to point out,
yes, in the center photo, that is a CB radio antenna sticking
up from the T-Bar, and to the right, yes, that photo was taken
on my wedding day back in 1982 ! Those "things"
hanging from the string going around the car started out as
real nice Wedding bells, and this is what the car looked like
when it made it to the wedding !!! On this day, I gave up
attending my Corvette Club's 25th anniversary party ... looking
back, I'm sure I picked the wrong event to attend that day
Finally, "Stage 3" included some engine mods - pulling
off that intake manifold and carb and installing a Chromed
Tuned Port Injection system from a C4 Corvette, complete with
engine computer, new distributor, electric fuel pump, and
all the sensors needed to make this thing run. The car also
had the new ground effects and updated front spoiler added
when the it had a total repaint. This time with the more subtle
striping over Torch Red, the color from the newer Corvettes.
car ran GREAT compared to the stock motor, however I have
to admit fuel economy just was not what it used to be (lol).
You can see several looks - on the very top of this page you
will see how the car looked when it was sold. Above, in this
section, is a view of the car when it had the earlier Crager
wheels, and Hooker chrome sidepipe exhaust before getting
the ground effects and front spoiler. Looking back, I think
I liked this look better than with the body kit.... not sure....you
be the judge!
1980, at the early days of ownership before I really got rolling
down this path, I decided to take to the car show scene. I
began what turned out to be a Car show circuit tour of some
28 years, competing at the local, regional, and national Corvette
club levels, and then spanning out to those "special"
Corvette events that we all know, like Corvettes at Carlisle,
Corvette VetteFest, Mid America FunFest, attending events
at the Corvette Museum, and numerous others. I also purchased
an open trailer at first to carry my car to the shows, moving
up into enclosed trailers for even more protection from the
elements. Of course my towing vehicles of choice were only
.....Chevrolet Silverados !
1987, I was tiring of this car and about out of things to
do to it creatively to keep me excited. I sold the car to
a friend in the local club, but when he sold it I lost touch
with it and have no idea of it's wherabouts today.
honing my skills... When the new
"C4" generation of Corvettes were introduced in
1984, I did'nt really like them that much. Gone were the "Coke
bottle" design swoopy fenders and the rear fascia just
looked like someone just chopped it off. But by the time 1988
rolled around, it had finally grown on me. I found a low mile,
one owner (lawyer owned) White 1985 Coupe with a somewhat
rare Blue leather interior sitting on a local lot in Maumee,
Ohio and picked it up. This was one of those "buy in
the fall, sell in the spring" things, so for a period
of time I owned both the '78 and '85. I enjoyed driving this
car much more than the '78 - I could actually drive it for
more than 2 hours at a time without getting leg cramps, or
burning my legs from the heat that seeped into the interior
along the tunnel. Fuel economy and drivability was much better
on what the auto magazines were calling a "World Class
Sportscar" at the time.
followed the basic "3-Phase" approach as I did with
the '78. But this time around it was a little different. I
was now living in a suburb of Toledo, Oh, called Sylvania,
and wouldn't you know it, I was about 3 miles from this big
Corvette shop called American Custom Industries. ACI is the
largest fiberglass aftermarket manufacturer of Corvette parts
(fenders, bumpers, ground effects, hoods, you name it they
make it), have an excellent mechanical, body, and paint shop
onsite, and really know how to make a #1 class winning car
for you. We grew our relationship, and my ideas and theirs
led to the design and development of several new prototype
parts which eventually made it onto their production inventory.
I began attending numerous shows with the guys who would go
to vendor areas at the large shows with their box truck and
setup many of their Fiberglass parts for show and sale to
the public. Then the opportunity came to get a Paxton Supercharger
at a good price and had that installed for a little extra
"boost" of horsepower. The "theme" of
the car was a takeoff on a Chevrolet marketing campaign, the
"Heartbeat of America", and it had "The Heartbeat
Corvette" graphics to tie that in. By the time the photos
above were taken, the body had been updated with the look
of the later model C4-s (1995 timeframe) and the custom parts
also honed my competitive skills at Corvette shows, learning
the little tricks around detailing a car, which really meant
not driving it on the road that much once you spent hours
cleaning every nook and cranny, pulling the wheels off to
clean inner fenders and brake rotors and calipers, using "tools"
like Q-tips and dental pics, and vacuming out all of those
little pieces of lint ! More trophies started to appear at
shows....but at some point it was time to move on, and this
car now lives across the border in Michigan. I see it usually
once a year when the new owner crosses back across the border
to Ohio and attends the annual Corvette show at ACI which
I usually attend.
the Ultimate years ! Now when the
C5 generation of cars came out in 1997, unlike the previous
generation, I really liked them. But I was not yet done with
leading the crusade in my '85 and there were one or two more
tweaks I could make to the car to keep it competitive. Also,
back then, there was usually a several year gap from introduction
until the aftermarket really caught up with parts to customize
your car. Nowadays it seems parts are out on day one when
a new car is introduced.
in 2000, I found a low mileage 1998 Silver Coupe with Black
Leather. While a nice car, this car was definitely driven
by it's first owner. You could see the front lower ABS spoiler
had skimmed quite a few parking lot curbs, and the driver
leather seat had the usual wear on the bolsters. By this time,
I had the financial means to really focus on this car and
make it a true 1st class show car. Working with the guys at
ACI once again, new fiberglass body parts in the works, and
some yet to be designed made it to my car. Underhood Chrome,
as well as painted and carbon fiber parts were installed.
Obviously new wheels, stainless steel exhaust, custom two-tone
Black/Red interior, and full body repaint with integrated
graphics wrapped up the package. Ultimately, the hood was
replaced once more to a higher profile version to allow the
installation of a fully polished Magnussen Supercharger.
this car was a pleasure.... it won awards at almost every
event it attended, and in addition to class wins, won awards
for Best Paint, Best Interior, Best Engine, Sponsor's Choice,
and Best in Show. It was during these years of Concoursing,
that I picked up the affectionate nickname, Waxrboy, by my
club companions who traversed the state / country with me
to go to all of those events, just for the sake of picking
of the high points of recognition was for the car to
be selected to appear in a calendar, the American Sportscar
Calendar, August 2007. The photo shoot occurred in the
yard of a fellow Corvette club friend, and the photo
crew and model, Alicia, traveled up from their base
of "Hotlanta", Ga. In addition to my car,
there were three other club members with their 1986,
1995, and 1998 Corvette Pace cars that participated
in the shoot.
300 photos were taken that day at various locations
in his yard, with several wardrobe (lol) changes. To
the left is the photo taken while I was scolding Alicia
for touching the car..... ;-)
the ultimate recognition was having the car selected
to be on exhibit in the National Corvette Museum for
no less than 6 months during 2006.
photo to the right was taken during the 2006 Labor Day
event at the Museum. I was just in the "right place,
right time", while the car was on display in the
Skydome for the "Mild to Wild" Custom Corvette
exhibit, with the three past / living Chevrolet Corvette
Chief Engineers, Dave McLellan (seated) , Dave Hill
(standing left), and Tom Wallace who stopped to pose
for an official photo shoot being taken by the NCM.
I was in attendance and admiring my car, when all of
a sudden this photo op just formed in front of me!
the car received some type of "facelift", whether
to the engine, interior, or exterior, to keep it looking fresh
and correct any imperfections that were being caught by judges
the prior years. But, when 2005 came along, the urge came
to start considering a new C6 generation car. These cars just
leaped over the C5 as far as performance and build quality
and Chevrolet had it in their mind to really make this a sports
car that could challenge the likes of Ferrari and Porsche
! Plus, 2006 marked my 50th birthday year, so that made for
a good excuse to buy one ! Due to garage space concerns this
time around, the dual-car ownership period was pretty short,
and the '98 now has a great home across another border, Canada
I own today !!
- The current project ! So I did
fulfill my goal of buying my 50th birthday present.... this
time a Silver 2006 Coupe, with Red interior, purchased new
from Ogden Chevrolet in the Chicago area. I shopped around
online this time and found just the car I wanted within driving
distance, and went to close the deal and trailer it home.
I had originally had an order in for a Yellow Coupe with Two-tone
titanium interior, but after a long wait, the dealer finally
admitted he was not going to be able to fulfill the order,
so I had to scurry around to find a car that would meet my
needs, one key need being that it is a 2006 model ! After
seeing the Red interior of the C6 that really turned my direction
to the Silver/Red combo.
of the box I started planning customizations to this car.
But this time around, after those 28 years of Concoursing
my cars, I made a decision to finally retire from the heavy
show scene (or what remnants actually remained in the area)
so this was going to be built as a "street custom".
I had won almost every event at one time or another, and frankly
the local and regional Corvette club scene was finally wearing
thin, with them basically just abandoning the Concours events
and moving more to the "cruise and shine" events,
which did nothing for me.
meant no super chromed engine, no super detailed undercarriage,
but something that was modified to a "classy" look
and that could be easily maintained for those rare occassions
where I still wanted to go to the big shows with my friends
from ACI, or just head to the local car cruise-in, and even
drive the car to work on nice sunny days.
this generation, the hot thing today is to simply unscrew
your fenders and quarter panels (no joke) and bolt on aftermarket
replacements to make the car look like the more expensive
Z06 Corvette, complete with wider fenders, wider wheels and
Goodyear tires, and unique fender and brake cooling ducts.
Add a custom hood, ground effects and spoilers, silver Kevlar
carbon fiber dash kit, and some mild custom pieces under the
hood with fresh paint around and it was all set to go ! My
own Automatic transmission Z06!
above left, is a version of the car prior to the conversion
to the Z06 wide body kit, taken while attending the "Performance
Tour II" hosted by the National Corvette Museum. This
was a rather pricey, limited attendance charity fund raiser
event, and one of the key visits was to tour the GM Tech Center,
in Milford, Mi. and get several "controlled" pace
laps on the famous Milford Proving Ground test track.
current version of the car also participated in the 15th Annual
National Corvette Museum Caravan to the 2009 Labor day event
in Bowling Green, Ky. Numerous caravans from across the country
left their states and headed for the Museum, arriving over
several days leading up to the event. Thousands of Corvettes
were on hand for an event to remember ! This was the official
unveiling of the recent expansion of the NCM and what an event
it was ! And this was really one of my first cross-country
trips.... actually driving it .... on the road ..... without
the enclosed trailer.
I enjoy driving the car and attending those far and in between
shows that I mentioned, but it can be made "show ready"
with only several hours of detailing.. Many people look at
the car and are not sure what it really is - maybe because
of the custom fender badges that say "C06" (my blend
of stock C6 and Z06) ! Some have even thought it was a ZR1.
The car is once again undergoing some winter updates at ACI,
so stay tuned to see the unveiling in April !! If you are
at an event where you see the American Custom Industries truck,
stop by to say hi, I'll probably be there too !
I bought this car I told myself, since it was a gift to myself
for my 50th Birthday I would keep it forever..... well.....
at least until the C7 comes out !! (lol)