It was the summer of 2013 while Penny and I were in Sequim, WA visiting her family. Shopping in a funky old fashion grocery store, I got a call from my lawyer’s office saying the case had been settled, and you can pick up your check tomorrow. WOW, that is not going to happen tomorrow, but as soon as we get back to Bakersfield, I’m on my way to his office.
Long story short, I had a medical procedure that failed. My Dr. suggested we sue the manufacture of the device as many cases had already been settled because of this failed device. We were successful.
Having had many fun cars in my life, mostly Sunbeams and particularly our Sunbeam Tiger that we bought new in 1965, I had thoughts of a new fun car running through my mind in wild anticipation as what I could get with my new found settlement. The new Jaguars XKF’s were just coming out. The new mid engine Porsches were on the market and all the car magazines’ talking heads just couldn’t say enough about them. Just couldn’t get excited enough to take the foreign car plunge again.
In August, I went to Monterey for the Reunion at Laguna Seca Raceway. It just
happened to be the 60th anniversary of the Corvette and introduction of the C7. Chevrolet had brought a ton of engineer and marketing folks to the track and Ron Fellows had at least four C7’s on the track during breaks between races and lunch break. They were flat hauling running lap after lap at more than race speeds. I currently had my C4 coupe with the Doug Nash 4 + 3 four-speed at the track. We got to do a couple laps with at least 300 other Corvettes but nothing like the C7’s. Oh, I was getting hooked.
Spent the next few months wondering what I should do with this new money that was burning a hole in my checking account. Guess what, a friend called me and asked if my C4 was for sale. Of course it was. We did a deal, I got a bunch of 100 dollar bills and had that situation solved. We went to the Los Angeles Auto show about the end of the year. Chevrolet had eight new C7’s in the Corvette coral and they were letting folks crawl over them. The one that really stood out was a Stingray Coupe in Lime Rock green with light brown leather interior. Oh my god!
Came home with all the literature they would let me have. Went out to Three- Way Chevrolet here in Bakersfield and couldn’t find a sales person who knew much about their new C7 rides. Another couple months pass and then I got serious about the new ar. Found Mike Thomas, the sales manager and with his guidance I ordered our new car and chose the Corvette Museum Package for an additional $990. Of course it was Lime Rock Metallic green with black 19 and 20 inch wheels. A few weeks later I got a call from a sales associate at the dealership saying the car was going to be assembled in a few days. Did I have any changes I wanted to make in my original order. No, no changes. Talked to my wife after the call and we decided to go with the paddle shift 6 speed auto transmission in lieu of the 7 speed manual. This was a very good decision. Two days later, I get a call from the Museum asking if I wanted to pick up my car on
June 9, 2014? Yep, that works for me. On Saturday morning June 7th we are on a plane to Bowling Green, KY. Really not that easy as we had to fly to Nashville, rent a car for a one way trip to Bowling Green during the Country Music awards weekend. It worked out OK with help from the Museum folks. They did a great job.
Sunday, the 8th of June we cruse up to the Museum just to get a handle on location as we have a 7:30 am appointment to get started on the delivery process.
Well, guess what? Right there front row with our names on a large poster surrounded by a velvet rope was our new Corvette. It was in concour show condition with I’ll bet with at least 10 museum attendees surrounding the car at all times. It was fun to stand back and ask folks what they thought about the car not knowing we were the owners. Made us feel we made all the right decisions regarding color and accessories.
Monday morning at precise 7:30 am we were ready to begin our new adventure. Our guide, who was really a great guy send us to the office to prove we were the right folks and that I had a drivers license, insurance and that the car had been paid for. Passed that test. Next, we were loaded in a Chevy van and taken to the Assembly Plant a few blocks away. Introductions were made with the plant personal and the tour begins. We were given the deluxe tour getting to see everything but the paint shop and the engine assembly room. All 2014 Corvettes came with the same engine the LT1 6.2L V8. When the Z06 was introduced in 2015, the engine assembly room was opened for the tour as all those engines were built at the plant. The tour takes over 3 hours. We got to talk to the folks putting the car together, adding all the fluids and the person who gets to drive it car off the line first. It was lady, probably in her late 50’s, got to push the start button first and drive over the rumple strips as fast as she could go in 50 feet. That sets the suspension. She then turns the car over the guy that puts it in the rain storm for 5 minutes, checking for leaks. The car then goes into outside storage covered in plastic for 10 days before it heads to a dealer or the Museum for delivery. This wait is to insure no manufacturing problems or potential recall items show up. All Corvettes are sold before they are assembled.
The Bowling Green plant produces a 170 cars a day, 850 a week with annual capacity of 41,000 cars. This is maximum production. This is twice that of Porsche 911.
Upon returning to the museum, we were given a personal tour of the sink hole that gobbled up a bunch of priceless Corvettes. All the cars were out of the hole sitting around the perimeter. A couple of the cars were unrecognizable as to what they were. Only the tires and wheels survived.
Now it was our turn. After an extensive review of all the cars’ many functions, it was driven by our guide to the front of the Museum. Yes, I was in the passenger seat and many of the employees clapping as we drove past. A very cool feeling. Some pictures were taken and we were given the key fob and a full tank of gasoline and sent on our way.
It now was 4:00 pm and we were tired. Back to our motel. Where do you park a car that you have had only 15 minutes in a town were almost anything could happen. Right in front of your room with the curtains wide open.
Early the next morning we were on our way home. Headed to I-80 west going through Saint Louis, MO. We had decided to stay there that night and do a little site seeing. Well, that didn’t happen. It was pouring down rain. They told us if there was a hail storm, get under an overpass and wait it out. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Our first night out was at a Flying J truck stop with a Motel 6. Again, we were beat up and ready for a little rest. Checking in, there was a character standing in front of the motel smoking an unfiltered Pall Mall. He put the cig out, and walked over to our new Corvette which really didn’t look that new anymore. He strolled around the car and walk back to me. He said “I have had 25 Corvettes and this is the best of all”. We chatted for awhile and I’m sure he was correct about the number of Corvettes he had owned.
The rest of the trip home was uneventful. Cruised through Salt Lake, out to Ely and Tonopah, NV for a couple high speed runs before going to Bishop, CA for our final night out. Of course, coming home we had to do State Route 178 coming down the Kern River canyon. Yes, that Z51 package does let you do corners just as well as bursts’ of speed.
Today, we have driven the Lime Rock Green Corvette with black wheels a little over 12,000 miles. Every mile is a pleasure in America’s only true sports car.
Not too many COB members know the history of how our club came to be. Associated Corvettes formed in November1967 with 10 charter member cars. In one year it grew to 25 cars. My husband, Freddie, was President & I was Secretary for the first 3 years.
We joined Western States Corvette Council (WSCC) and Incorporated in 1968 and I also became WSCC Secretary from 1969 to 1971. We hosted a huge All Corvette Event in 1969 for the Council here in Bakersfield.
We learned from the Council how to put on autocrosses at Famoso Raceway and Concours auto shows as well as show & shines. This gave us revenue so we could publish a newsletter, have poker runs and rallies, volleyball parties, camping trips, and parties with Cor-vettes of Fresno. We traveled to meet other WSCC member clubs for events and still found time to sponsor fund raisers for BARC, here, locally.
We had a great bunch of people and they were all instrumental in our success. I believe it was 1973 when Associated Corvettes dis-banded and our members became Corvettes of Bakersfield. As can happen in any organization, there were some that valued the travel, partying with other clubs, newsletters, fundraising and then there were others that thought the money should be for parties at Hart Park so Associated Corvettes abandoned their corporation and morphed into Corvettes of Bakersfield with the members that wanted more local activities and less stress. I have to thank Greg Cline and Greg Marling for their initial efforts to see that the club continued on and with the help of many others that came afterward over the years a solid basis was established again. Today we have the best and biggest club I could ever have imagined and I’m so proud to have been a part of this grand journey with my Corvette Family.
I’m the original owner of a 1990 ZR-I since factory-ordering the vehicle, but rarely drive it at all despite maintaining insurance year after year. I’ve lost interest in it and now believe it’s time to let it go.
If you have a want ad section in your newsletter, will you kindly inform your membership of the availability?
Its dark red metallic paint is old and black interior has some dash panel warpage, alternator and tires have been replaced (still in possession of original parts and all factory documentation) mileage is low and the drive train runs well.
Also have two NOS LT-5 Delco water pumps in their original boxes.