Archive for the ‘My 1ST Vette’ Category

A Series of Fortunate Events

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

When I think back now, the whole Corvette experience started for me in 1963 (I still have the dealer brochure). Something about those lines, the cool sounds from a high revving motor and a thought to the future when I could get my first set of wheels. Over the years I had to pass on two opportunities for a 1965 and then on a 1978.

I was even more determined not to let another one pass me by when my friend Mike showed up with his gently used 1994 Red Coupe. True friend that he is and knowing my passion for Corvettes, he invited me to go along with him and a few other Corvette owners to Corvettes at Carlisle. The awesome ride from his place in Pennsylvania along the hilly, twisting back-roads brought out all the finest points of his car. The clear blue sky highlighted the small caravan of polished Corvettes as we drove through the streets of the small towns along the way. People sitting in the town square or walking along the sidewalks would point and wave, knowing that we were heading to one of the biggest Corvette events in the country. The weekend there was fantastic with hundreds (thousands?) of Corvettes on display and cruising the streets of Carlisle. On the way back I did not hesitate to say yes when the topic of returning the next year came up.

After waiting patiently for 52 weeks it was time to return. The day before we were set to leave I took my usual lunch time walk. I though it was the heat that afternoon that was getting to me, but when I returned to my desk I became very ill. I was so dizzy I could hardly walk. A coworker called my wife and then drove me home. My wife left work early and immediately took me to the hospital. I did not know what was happening to me but I knew I would probably miss out on the trip to Carlisle. After a few hours in the ER the diagnosis was that I experienced a case of vertigo. Nothing too serious, but I should rest the next day which meant no drive to PA. I called Mike and told him the situation. He was leaving the next morning and I told him I would drive myself out to Carlisle on Friday and meet up with his group then.  The thought of driving there in my Buick instead of a Corvette was a little depressing, but at least I would still get to go.

The next morning I was feeling much better but I knew I needed the day just to rest. My wife went to work and explained to her coworkers what had happened to me. At about 10:00 I was surprised to get a call from the owner of the business where my wife works. He asked how I was feeling and told me that he also had a case of vertigo a few years earlier. He asked if I still planned on going to Carlisle. I told him I was leaving Friday morning and I would meet the others at the fairgrounds. He then offered me one of his Corvettes (he and his wife each have one) to take to Carlisle for the weekend.  I thanked him for his generous offer but said no. He told me to think about it and call him later in the day. I immediately called my wife to find out what was going on with the owner. She said he knew I had waited all year for this trip and “the only way to go is in a Corvette”. I told my wife I was very surprised by the offer, but I would have to turn it down. What if something happened to the car?

I called the owner back at about 2:00 to again thank him and regrettably turn down his offer. He said, “if you’re worried about the car, don’t be. It’s insured whether its sitting in the garage or you’re driving it. I know how careful you are and I am not worried”. Then the line that changed my mind, “you only go around once”. At that point I thought about those words. When would an opportunity like this ever come again? I had to say yes.

My wife drove me to the owners’ house after supper to pick up their 2004 convertible. I called Mike and told him to save a spot for me on the fairgrounds, I was driving a Corvette to Carlisle!

I returned the car to them on Monday with a full tank of gas, a fresh coat of wax, and about 700 more miles on the odometer. At the company Christmas party a few months later, the owner told me to plan on taking his other Corvette, a 2006 coupe, to Carlisle the following summer. How could I argue with him?

Towards the end of June last summer my wife called me at work to tell me some news. The owners had just told her that they planned on selling the convertible and wanted to know if I was interested in buying it. I had visions of owning that car in a few more years when the value had gone down a little more. My wife said,”you’ve always wanted one, just do it”.

The title transferred on July 3rd and my wife and I celebrated a great summer with many miles of top down cruising… and many more to come.  By the way, I drove myCorvette to Carlisle last summer. 

1ST and Only

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

    I remember talking with my wife the night before I drove to ProTeam about all the years of doing restorations on everything from classic cars to rust bombs and not having anything to point to for all those years of abuse. I have always loved Corvettes and remember discovering them when I was just big enough to look into the window of a red 1964 convertible on the showroom floor of a local Chevy dealership. It was very likely that my dad told me to go look at the cars, so he could conduct business without distraction. I remember asking my dad to buy me one when I was a teen and it always produced a pretty good laugh.  The day before I bought my 1st Corvette I remember showing my wife some of the Corvettes I had selected from the ProTeam web site and various other classic Corvette ads, a ritual I had performed several times a year. She was always supportive but this time she suggested “taking the day off tomorrow and driving to Napoleon to look at  some of them”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! By the look on her face I could tell she knew what she was doing in that it was like giving me a license to fulfill a dream. It was difficult to maintain my composure and I did not sleep at all that night. I called in sick to work, thinking this has to be the ultimate in playing hookie! I got an early start and spent the better part of the day choosing my first Corvette. I’m sure the salesman was relieved when I finally announced my decision after hours of deliberation. Being a poor man, I could not afford the Top Flight or  loaded big block and settled for something that would not start divorce proceedings when I returned from my visit to to this local classic car dealership.

   My choice was about halfway through a large building with about 60 double-parked ‘68-’72 Corvettes that ranged from Bloomington Gold trophy winners to the “don’t drive this one right away” special in the back. There were several buildings full of classic Corvettes with each building being C-era dedicated and containing similar quantities of cars. It was a numbers matching 350/4speed with two tops. This particular Corvette had a banner across the windshield that claimed an extremely rare color combination, 992 Laguna grey with a 411 bright blue interior. I have spent the last six years improving on the mechanical restoration and detailing. This car has won “best of C3 class” at the CCA Hospice event and the 992/411 color combo on a 1970 convertible usually stops more knowledgeable Corvette enthusiasts for a second look. It is in the 1970 registry, and I have received letters from other Corvette owners and from the ‘70 - ‘72 NCRS line judge pointing to its rarity. After six years of research it appears to be one of two roadworthy 1970 convertibles with this color combination and the only known 992/411 ‘70 Roadster in these original colors. As the years go by, pulling the cover off every spring is still exciting. Driving has not been a disappointment either. The car has seen 145 mph with some Tach left and feels good  at higher speeds on uncrowned road surfaces. I would love to buy a new C6 roadster, and I see a lot of styling cues from my ‘70 in them. The coolest thing about Corvettes is that every one is designed to separate you from the sheep of the everyday world and do it in a way no other car can.

  I would like to thank my wife for understanding the meaning of this passion and supporting me in making this and other dreams a reality. 

Bill Frank

My 1st Vette

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Like most of us I always dreamed of having a Corvette.  Well a couple of years ago I got my wish.  You know what they say, be careful of what you wish for because you might actually get it! Around August of 2006, I was doing some work for a client and happened to notice a dark green 2001 Corvette Coupe sitting on the front lawn of a neighbor.  I obviously stared a few times and then began to drive by the car on a daily basis.  Each day I began to think, why not!  Life is too short!  Each day I noticed that the rotors were getting rustier and the grass was growing higher around the wheels.  I thought it must have been priced way too high. After a couple of weeks I actually pulled in the drive and asked the owner what he wanted for it.  He gave me the price which was a bit too high so I nodded and left.   Then after a couple more weeks and more rust on the rotors, I decided that I have nothing to loose and asked the owner if I could take it for a spin.  He very politely agreed.  WOW!  I was hooked.  Previously I had had a couple of other foreign sports cars but nothing like this!  Trying to hide my excitement, I nodded and said thank you and left.  After a couple more weeks of more rust and grass, I was on the verge so I obviously did all of my homework and decided on a price about $5,000 less than he wanted.  But I was still too nervous to ask.   It was time for our 40th class reunion.  I obviously asked a couple of my classmates about their experiences with their Vettes. A couple of friends already had Vettes were members of this club. So I was doomed.  You obviously know what they said! We had the usual night before the reunion activities and partied on the Goodtime III.  Unfortunately most of them had some not too exciting stories about losses and bad times.  Some good but mostly not so good.  So going home from the party I decided that you only go around once and life is way too short.  I told my wife that I had made up my mind.   The following morning I went to see if the car was still there and talked to the owner.  I looked over the car once more and said I would be back with a check.  We went to the bank and made out a bank check for what I thought was the lowest price, took it to him and he knew I was serious.  He really didn’t like the offer and said that it was too low. After a few choice words and an argument with his wife, he said no way.  I said okay and proceeded to take my check back.  He stopped me and said a few more choice words, then he finally accepted my offer!!!  Yesssssss!  We got the title transferred and unfortunately I only had a couple of hours before having to leave for the reunion.  Boy was I excited! After getting dressed in my tux, I proudly drove the Vette to the reunion playing with all of the buttons.  Unknowingly I turned on the interior lights and drained the battery while at the dance! The following morning, (we stayed at the hotel), we planned to go golfing with the group.  You obviously know what happened!  So I sadly left my new toy there and went to play golf.  Later I came back and replaced the battery and have enjoyed my Vette ever since! And yes, I joined the Competition Corvette Association and actually created both the website and the blog. We didn’t know that when you buy a Corvette, you join part of American history and have a chance to meet a great group of people that share the similar happiness!!  

My Thanks to all of you!