One of the hallmarks of any good sized car show is the opportunity to have your car compete for an award and Corvettes at Carlisle was no different. As one of the celebrity judges (my mom is so proud!) for the 2011 show, it was my job to wander the show field and find a Corvette worthy of the “Keith’s Choice” award.
Okay so the award isn’t really called “Keith’s Choice”, I just named it that in honor of Chip Miller’s “Chip Choice”. I had a few prerequisites before I put my sticker on a windshield. My two major considerations were that it had to be a classic Corvette – C1 to C3, and that it had to have been driven to Corvettes at Carlisle.
I thought I had a found a couple of contenders in the Midyear row where the 63-67 registry was set up, however, the black 66 Corvette I really liked already had been picked. As I wandered closer to the front of the show, it was there that I came across Big John Dunham and his white 1958 Corvette.
As I walked around the white coved 58 Corvette, I noted the historic Virginia license plates both front and back. The front of the car had many rock chips around the front grill and the car looked as though it had been driven quite a bit.
The owner and his son had chairs set up behind the straight axle Corvette and were resting their feet on the chrome bumpers. I casually asked if he drove the car up or trailered it, to which he replied that he had indeed drove it from Virginia. He added “It’s a driver with over 600,000 miles on it”.
Ding Ding, we have a winner!
I introduced myself to Big John and let him know his Corvette had been chosen for one of the Celebrity Pick awards. He went on to tell me that he bought the Corvette while he was in high school in 1969. Ovr the years, he said he had gotten married in the Corvette, drove it to court house for his divorce and then again for his second marriage. John drive’s this ’58 Corvette just about everywhere as he covers events for his online e-zine StillRunnin.com.
The Corvette is far from correct as it had undergone several major repairs following accidents and incidents in its 42 years with the owner. Currently, the engine in place is a a 283 V8 from a 1957 Corvette. The front end has be damaged a couple of times, but overall the Corvette still presents itself very nicely.
Big John also had show board in the windshield that outlined a hot-rodders definition of rock chips. Big John said Corvettes were made to be driven and although he does have a trailer, he says he uses it to haul his horses.
With my job done, I slapped the sticker on his windshield and tucked the notice on windshield and then headed to top of hill to listen to the 12 noon engine rev.
Life is good!
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