Monday, February 28, 2011

All Corvettes Are Red

1963 Stingray at 2010 Chicago Auto Show

"All Corvettes are red.  The rest are mistakes." - John Heinricy.

That's the quote from the 1996 book All Corvettes Are Red. It is an account of the creation of the C5, the 5th generation Corvette. To me and many others the C5 is the car that really made the Corvette a great sports car again.

I'm just getting started on the book.  It details how GM nearly killed the car's development and, apparently, how it was saved.  A story related at the beginning of Chapter 5 stuck out to me. It is a good example of how Corvette owner specifically, and car buffs in general, think and treat their cards.

By 1996 1,100,000 Corvettes had been built and close to 1 million were still on the road, or at least actively registered by their owners each year.  Many of those people are fanatics.  Chevrolet's Fred Gallasch, assigned to monitor and assist the Corvette program, liked to tell the story of a friend that bought a twenty-year old Corvette from the original owner.  The car came with the original paperwork, the original price sticker painstakingly steamed from the window, original brochures from the dealer, and complete records of all maintenance.

As the new owner was about to drive away, the seller ran from the garage carrying a cardboard box.  Inside were the original oil and air filters, the ones that came from factory, carefully preserved in plastic bags.  The fellow loved that car.  He sold it only because his wife said 5 corvettes was too many, and he wanted to buy a new 1993.  So the old '73 had to go



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