I finally got new tires for my 1966 Corvette and was anxious to go for a cruise. It had been over a month since my rear tire blew some tread and exposed the steel belts. I was on my way to cross one of the bridges over Tampa Bay and low and behold, a dude in a C6 Corvette passed by. I waved at the driver, but got stiffed on the return wave. Now with Corvettes, not getting a return wave is like being introduced to someone at a party and holding your hand out to shake, only to be left hanging.
So let me drop this piece of Corvette history on you, in the hopes of helping new Corvette owners answer the question “Why do these guys keep waving at me?”. This article first appeared in the August/September 1969 issue of Corvette News.
SAVE THE WAVE
Ever since Corvette No. 00001 first met Corvette No. 00002 on the road, their drivers saluted each other with waves. Today, unfortunately, this grand and glorious tradition is wavering.
There’s one item of standard equipment that comes as a pleasant surprise to every new Corvette owner. It’s an instant wave of recognition he or she receives when he meets one of their ilks on the road. The first time it happens, they will be taken by surprise. He immediately thinks:
- 1. He has been mistaken for Sterling Moss.
- His lights are on.
- He has just been given the bird.
Soon, however, the new Vette owner anticipates, indeed even relishes, encountering other Vettes as he drives. During this period, he experiments with his waves, running the gamut from the gaping “yoo hoo” to the ultra cool “two finger flip.” He perfects his timing, making sure he affects neither a too-early wave, nor the jaded “oh brother” too-late variety. Determined not to be one upped, he even develops a defense mechanism for non wavers, usually settling on the “Wave”? My hand was just on the way to scratch my head” approach. (This is especially useful when you’re not driving your Vette, but you forget, and like a dummy, you wave anyway.)
Indeed, one of the most perplexing problems facing a would-be waver is what to do when driving next to a fellow Vette owner. Passing him going in opposite directions is one thing. Greetings are exchanged, and that’s that. But what happens when you pull up next to a guy at a light, wave, nod, smile and then pull up to him at the next light, a block later? Wave again? Nod bashfully? Grin self-consciously? Ignore him? Or take the chicken’s way out and turn down the next side street? If you’re expecting an answer, you won’t find it here. Sad to say, some questions don’t have any.
Girl-type Corvette drivers also have a unique problem: to wave or not to wave. This miss or misses who borrows her man’s Corvette for the first time is immediately faced with this quandary. Should she wave first and look overly friendly, or ignore the wave and look like a snob? Most ladies who drive their own Vettes prefer to suffer the latter rather than take a chance of being misread. For this reason, all girls are excused for occasionally failing to return a well-meaning wave. So are new owners who are still learning the ropes.
There is no excuse, however, for a guy who refuses to return the wave, not out of ignorance, but of arrogance or apathy. While this type of behavior is the exception to the rule, it seems a few owners of newer models refuse to recognize anything older than theirs, while some others simply won’t wave, period. Boo on them. These ding-a-lings don’t seem to realize that they are helping to squash a tradition that had its beginnings back when most of us were still driving tootsie toys.
Corvette News via the CorvetteActionCenter.com