How it started for me: My story starts in January 1954 at the Waldorf Astoria and my first visit to a GM Motorama. I saw the Corvette on a stand (it’s second year of display) and I knew that I had to have one some day. It grabbed my interest like no other car.
Fast forward to February 1972 when Nancy and I were in Cocoa Beach visiting close college friends. HB had passes to Disney World before the official opening and we went there and had a great day with no crowds, how rare is that! Afterwards on the way back to Cocoa he took us to a house and met with a young guy who was selling a 66 L79 air convertible that looked like it just came off the showroom floor. It had something like 20k miles and turns out he and HB had been arguing over a $100 difference in price for almost a year! I told my buddy “buy it now or I’ll buy it!” so they settled on $2400. That really revived the bug in me since Nancy and I didn’t have children and had our first house we started hunting for “an extra car” which sounds normal today but in ’72 it definitely wasn’t typical. We finally found a 65 air coupe, leather interior and a special 3.08 rear with 45k on the clock. After some dickering we bought the car for $1700. Over the next 22 years cars came and went, children arrived and the first little house became the third large house. All that time I drove, fixed, drove, restored, drove, fixed….the Corvette, eventually covering 100k over the original mileage and pretty much redoing every piece of running gear in the car. I even wore out the set of studded snows that I had gotten with the car.
As the search for parts became more of a challenge I started looking to join a club to tap into a knowledge base on how to maintain and restore the midyears. At the Livingston show I stopped to look around and met Larry from NGCA. He sent me some information the very next day so I decided to check it out. Even though a few months later when Danny was driving the car and college kid T-boned it and totaled it the club members were really supportive and gave me some good tips on locating a replacement. Since I had collector car insurance on the 65 I did very well; on my initial $1700 plus another $10k I had spent on all the repairs, service AND paint & body work, and J C Taylor handed me $35k in return I went out and hunted down another midyear. That is how I came to own Little Red, a 67 convertible, red with white over black, L79 and 4.11 rear. That car collected another 45k before I had to sell it. It now lives with Cece in Santa Maria California but LR and I will be reunited in September when I use it to lead the R8C Reunion event down the Pacific Coast Highway and California RT 1.
I’ve also owned a 96LT4 which I got when I started doing High Performance Driving events, eventually getting my 2002 Z51 coupe which I still have, along with a 2006 Z06 which appears in every Consumer Report magazine which shows cars since it was their test vehicle. Although I don’t have a midyear any longer, I think anyone who every owned one will always consider themselves a midyear person first no matter what they are driving. Now my interests lie more towards speed and skill on the track but there will always be a part of me that belongs to midyears.
There is one other sidebar to this story and it is an example of how great a club can be. Many of the longer term members will recall that I was a volunteer Captain for the NJ and the northeast for the 1999 National Corvette Caravans. 6 months before the departure our 22 years old son Daniel suddenly died and it was the membership of NGCA that rallied to our support with a moments notice. It was those members who helped Nancy and I get through such a hard time and we have never forgotten….it’s a club made great by its members.