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Long Island Z06 Corvette Catches Fire

by Keith Cornett on November 5, 2006

A motorist heading home from work has a Red Corvette pass him on the right shoulder of the highway and realizes it is on fire. So he follows him to a Goodyear Tire Store where the Z06 owner jumps out and watches the flames consuming the Corvette right in front of him. The Goodyear guys attempt to put out the flames with fire extinguishers but the flames reappear. Then the fire department shows up and douses the Corvette with water to put out the fire for good. The Z06 owner said he was just driving when he heard something from underneath the car on the highway, but didn’t realize it was on fire until he exited the highway. He also mentioned that he just had a dealer-installed exhaust system added, which may have been the culprit.

Z06 Corvette on Fire Z06 Corvette on Fire Z06 Corvette on Fire
Source: via
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Consumers Digest Names Corvette Best Buy

by Keith Cornett on November 2, 2006

2007 CorvetteConsumers Digest Magazine reviewed 253 different automotive models of the 2007 model year and 32 received a Best Buy Rating. The Best Buys are based on behind-the-wheel testing, safety ratings, ownership costs, warranty, price, comfort, ergonomics, styling and amenities that reflect Consumer Digest’s assessment of which 2007 vehicles offer the most value for the money. The Corvette was named a Best Buy in the Sporty Category. Five others joined the Corvette in this category: Ford Mustang, Mazda6, MINI Cooper, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. Rich Dzierwa, Consumers Digest editor, says that for the first time in years, the number of manufacturers represented reached 20. For the second year in a row, American nameplates (18) exceeded Japanese models (14). After receiving their first two Best Buys last year, Korean nameplates were recognized four times this year. Also for the first time in years, Honda’s Accord was not rated a Best Buy. Eight vehicles, however, have been CD Best Buys for 5 years running: Chevrolet Tahoe, Dodge Caravan, GMC Yukon, Honda Civic, Honda Odyssey, MINI Cooper, Toyota Avalon and Toyota Camry. Source:
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SEMA’s Outrageous C6 Corvette

by Keith Cornett on November 1, 2006

The SEMA Show that is currently going on in Las Vegas is the place to see cars and trucks that have been customized to the extreme. And the Outrageous C6 Corvette sponsored by Mid America Motorworks, Sony and Custom Shop fits right into the debauchery of automotive excess on the famed Las Vegas strip. “It takes something special to capture enthusiasts’ attention at automotive events,” said Mike Yager, founder and Chief Cheerleader of Mid America Motorworks. “The Outrageous C6 Corvette is everything we wanted, and more.” The Corvette features a Pro Charger supercharger, Corsa Exhaust, vertical-opening doors and a ton of body panel enhancement. It’s not all show, it will go with an estimated 650 horsepower. The custom leather interior features Ostrich leather and Alcantara synthetic suede. The synthetic fabric provides the look and feel of suede, without the maintenance. But the purveyors of Corvette excess didn’t stop there. Sony dropped in a 5600 watt sound system that damn near takes up the whole cargo area.

Outrageous C6 Corvette Outrageous C6 Corvette Outrageous C6 Corvette
Wargo contacted Mid America Motorworks with a request for a totally new and striking interior for his latest Corvette creation. “I wanted the inside of the car to look as dramatic as the exterior. Mid America Motorworks was my first choice because I know what they can do with interiors. And they certainly came through,” said Wargo. “The C6 Corvette is the perfect platform for performance and styling enhancements,” said Wargo. “When we were done, you still know it is a Corvette, but it is unlike any Corvette you have ever seen.” Can’t make it out to Vegas to see this special C6? Don’t worry, apparently it will be on tour of all the major Corvette Shows in 2007. Source:
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DecodeThis: Your Online Corvette VIN Decoder

by Keith Cornett on October 30, 2006

1972 CorvetteOne of the many questions I constantly get (and love!) is how to decode a Corvette’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The VIN can contain some interesting information including Body Style, Engine Size and if the Corvette may be one of a select number of special edition Corvettes. Early Corvette VIN’s contained mostly just the body style numbers. Beginning in 1972, the engine option was coded into the VIN, and in 1978, the first special edition Corvette, the Pace Car Replica had its own digit in the VIN. An interesting website called has put together a search engine for VIN’s that will decode your VIN if it appears in their database. Currently VIN’s for 1953-1974 Corvettes are available, with more coming soon. The site is also accessible from mobile phones and PDA’s, so if say you are at a show or auction, just tap the VIN into their search and voila! Instant results! The site also decodes Mustangs, Camaros, Firebirds, Chryslers and more. When making any classic car purchase, knowledge is power. In today’s muscle car climate where imitators are cloning Corvettes faster than you can say Dolly, the VIN is where to start the documentation process. Source: via
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Five Factors That Drive Corvette Values – Options

by Keith Cornett on October 25, 2006

This is the third of our five-part series where we take an in depth look at the factors that drive Corvette values. Last week, we looked at the Quantity and Condition Factors. Today, our attention turns to Options. The options list on a model year can change the value of a Corvette considerably. As we discuss the Options Factor and how it relates to Corvette values, we must understand that this factor is very much affected by the Quantity factor. Everybody loves having options and some have more than others. But in the world of Classic Corvettes, he who has the rare options, wins. Why? Back then, a Corvette with more options cost more to build. Buying a Corvette in the 1960’s wasn’t like buying a Corvette today. Today, you can order a package that has a preselected amount of performance or convenience options. Many buyers couldn’t afford a loaded Corvette, and Chevrolet wasn’t building loaded Corvettes unless they were ordered that way. Some options were very expensive for the time and could significantly raise the price. For example, in 1967, the air conditioning option (RPO C60) cost an additional $412.90. Throw in a big block engine (RPO L71), heavy duty brakes(RPO J56), close-ratio transmission (RPO M20 or M21), a radio (RPO U69) and side-exhaust (RPO N14) and the price just went from a base of $4,388 to $6,000 – an increase of over 35%. Perhaps the main option that determines the value of a Corvette is the Engine option. Starting in 1957, Corvettes were optioned with a number of engines that are generally categorized as small blocks, big blocks and fuel injected. Currently, a 1967 with a 427 ci 435 hp engine can bring well over $100,000 while a small block 327 ci 300 hp model might be priced in the $40-$50,000 range. 1974 was the last year of the big block and in 1975, the number of options dropped to just two. Starting in 1984 with the introduction of the C4 generation, Corvettes came with just one engine. In 1996, the final year of the C4, a one year limited option was a choice between the LT1 (350 ci 300hp) and the LT4 (350 ci 330hp). It could be ordered in any of the 1996 Corvettes, so long as they had the 6-Speed manual transmission. Other important options are transmissions (auto or manual) and comforts such as Air Conditioning, Power Steering, Tilt/Tele Steering Wheel Columns and appearance options like Wheels or Side Exhaust. Because Corvettes were base priced without any real options, a buyer might have added just a couple which resulted in low penetration of many of the options we take for granted today. Going back to 1967 model year, Air Conditioning was ordered on just 16.5% of Corvettes built. Just 25% had Power Steering and only 10.5% opted for the Tilt Tele Steering Column. Sometimes a Corvette may have some extra value because of an option not included. Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, Corvettes were sold with an option that removed an option. Confused? Many cars destined for the race track didn’t need radios or heaters so options called the Radio Delete or Heater Delete were selected and the car was built without the radio or heater and the buyer received a credit. Exterior and Interior colors are also classified as an option and a Corvette with a rare color combination can add value to its price. Since 1954, Chevrolet has offered a variety of factory available exterior and interior colors. Because there are records that tell us how many Corvettes were manufactured with a given paint scheme, we can determine the rarity of the color. Having a popular color can also boost value. Red has always been a popular color for Corvettes, so much so that the phrase appears in song (Little Red Corvette) and as a title of book documenting the building of the C5 Corvette (All Corvettes Are Red). Some options are desired due to the inherent design of the model year as opposed to what was put on car. Consider the 1963 Corvette Coupe with its “Split Window” design. When built, Corvette’s Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov hated the design and argued about the limited visibility the split plane caused. As a result, the 1964 Coupe’s rear window was changed to just one single glass panel. Today, the 1963 Split Window is sought after for that option. Another type of Option is the Special Edition Corvettes. For the most part these are Corvettes that have an added package of options bundled together. The first special editions to be offered appeared in 1963 in the form of the Z06 which contained a 360 hp fuel injected engine, heavy duty brakes and the famous 36 gallon fuel tank. Perhaps the most famous and heavily collected special edition was the 1978 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Replica. Chevrolet marked the occasion by building just over 6,500 Pace Cars, one for each Chevy dealer plus some extras. Public demand for these special corvettes was huge and many were purchased and then immediately placed in storage. It is not uncommon to see a 1978 Pace Car Corvette for sale with mileage in just the hundreds or low thousands. Chevrolet also marked milestones as special editions, again the first being the 25th Anniversary model produced in 1978. While all Corvettes were considered 25th Anniversary models, Chevrolet put together a special package of options, colors and special emblems. Anniversary models also include the 1988 Corvette (35th Anniversary) that was White, the 40th Anniversary Model which was a dark red called Ruby Red, and the 50th Anniversary Corvette in 2003 that was also Red (Anniversary Red). Other Special Editions included a package to commemorate the end of the three separate generations. In 1982 and 1996, Chevrolet produced a “Collector’s Edition”, again essentially a standard Corvette except for special paint and badges, and in 2004, a Commemorative Edition that was LeMans Blue and contained the first Carbon Fiber hood available on a production Corvette. A great source of learning about options that came on each Corvette Model is The Corvette Black Book by Michael Antonick. In the Black Book as it is commonly referred to, Michael breaks out the each of the available options with its RPO (Regular Production Option) code, the original option price and the quantity produced.

Big Block Motor Knock-off Wheel Option 1978 Indy Pace Car Replica
Stay tuned for our next installment in our Five Factors series: Originality The Five Factors that Drive Corvette Values:
Part One: Quantity
Part Two: Condition
Part Three: Options

Auction Results: Mecum High Performance Auction

by Keith Cornett on October 24, 2006

1967 Corvette ConvertibleThe 11th Annual Mecum High Performance Auction was held at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois over the weekend of October 6th-8th and Corvettes were well represented. Over 100 Corvettes were included, from a 1954 convertible through a 2003 Z06 Corvette in the 700+ car auction and Corvette sales totaled $2.7 million. The high sale went to a 1967 Bloomington Gold 427/435 Convertible sold for $204,750 which includes the sales commission. A 1969 L-88 Corvette sold for $194,250 and the third highest sale of $183,750 went to another Bloomington Gold certified 1967 427/435 Sunfire Yellow Convertible. Here are the Corvette Results from the Mecum High Performance Auction:

Lot # Year Model Color High Bid Sale Price
F226 1954 Corvette Blue   $85,050
S228 1956 Corvette Blue   $92,400
S80 1957 Corvette Green $95,000  
F106.1 1959 Corvette Blue   $35,700
F224 1959 Corvette Black   $66,150
S96 1960 Corvette Red   $74,550
S123 1960 Corvette Black   $99,750
S65 1961 Corvette White $77,000  
U148 1961 Corvette Red $39,000  
F195 1962 Corvette Red $60,000  
F216 1962 Corvette Maroon   $59,588
F227 1962 Corvette Red   $57,750
S99 1962 Corvette White $120,000  
S140 1962 Corvette White $85,000  
S231.1 1962 Corvette White   $74,025
F127 1963 Corvette Red   $47,250
F263 1963 Corvette Red $62,500  
S170 1963 Corvette Red   $103,950
S171.1 1963 Corvette Blue $67,500  
S201 1963 Corvette Red   $76,650
S280 1963 Corvette Silver/Blue   $47,250
S162 1964 Corvette Big Tank Tan $80,000  
S269 1964 Corvette Red $38,000  
U91 1964 Corvette White $41,000  
F165 1965 Corvette Silver   $60,900
F175 1965 Corvette Red $68,000  
F191 1965 Corvette Maroon $50,000  
F203 1965 Corvette Maroon $60,000  
F265 1965 Corvette Red   $57,750
S39 1965 Corvette Silver $72,000  
S103 1965 Corvette Red $120,000  
S216 1965 Corvette Black   $75,750
U77 1965 Corvette White $41,000  
U78 1965 Corvette Red $46,000  
F121.1 1966 Corvette Green   $52,500
F137 1966 Corvette Blue $72,000  
F266 1966 Corvette Yellow   $27,825
S125 1966 Corvette Black   $131,250
S156 1966 Corvette White   $71,400
S170.1 1966 Corvette Maroon $88,000  
S175 1966 Corvette Black $70,000  
F254 1967 Corvette Yellow   $42,000
S44 1967 Corvette Maroon   $65,625
S69 1967 Corvette Blue $67,500  
S82 1967 Corvette Silver $120,000  
S91 1967 Corvette Yellow   $183,750
S98 1967 Corvette Red $105,000  
S120 1967 Corvette Blue   $204,750
S134 1967 Corvette Blue   $94,500
S171 1967 Corvette Red $150,000  
S172 1967 Corvette Yellow $125,000  
S173 1967 Corvette Red $120,000  
S36 1968 Corvette Red $28,000  
S270 1968 Corvette Blue $39,000  
U83.1 1968 Corvette Red $28,000  
F261 1969 Corvette Black   $42,000
S86 1969 Corvette L-88 Gold   $194,250
S191 1969 Corvette White $45,000  
S232 1969 Corvette Orange   $37,800
U83 1969 Corvette Gold $28,000  
F240 1970 Corvette Yellow $52,500  
F270 1970 Corvette Gray   $17,063
S273 1970 Corvette Red   $33,075
F241 1971 Corvette Orange $92,000  
S19 1971 Corvette Blue   $24,675
S24 1971 Corvette Red   $21,525
F64 1972 Corvette White   $22,575
U94 1972 Corvette Silver $45,150  
U104 1972 Corvette Yellow   $9,750
F268 1973 Corvette Blue   $26,250
U133 1973 Corvette Silver   $9,000
U159 1973 Corvette Gold $26,500  
F76 1974 Corvette White   $18,638
U34 1974 Corvette White   $7,400
F72 1975 Corvette Silver   $8,800
F242 1975 Corvette Silver   $44,100
U168 1975 Corvette Orange   $10,500
U112 1977 Corvette Red   “$8,500
U139 1977 Corvette White $9,300  
F12 1978 Corvette Oyster   $13,125
F269 1978 Corvette Silver   $13,650
S233 1978 Corvette Silver   $24,675
F3 1979 Corvette Black   $7,250
U115 1981 Corvette Maroon   $8,400
U152 1981 Corvette Silver   $8,700
F47 1982 Corvette Blue   $14,963
U131 1984 Corvette Silver   $5,550
F248 1986 Corvette Black   $13,125
U1 1986 Corvette Silver   $10,250
U26.1 1986 Corvette Red   $11,025
F278 1990 Corvette White   $5,550
U53 1990 Corvette Red   $14,175
U98 1990 Corvette Burgundy   $16,275
F116.1 1992 Corvette White   $21,000
F276 1993 Corvette Black $12,750  
S287 1995 Corvette Red $20,000  
U128.1 1995 Corvette Aqua $13,000  
F79 1996 Corvette LT-1 Purple   $18,375
F103 1996 Corvette Blue $38,000  
F101 1999 Corvette Mallett Red $39,000  
U119 2003 Corvette Z06 Yellow   $30,900
    Total Corvette Sales:   $2,760,952
Source: Mecum

My Corvette Museum New Member’s Kit

by Keith Cornett on October 23, 2006

After posting a story about the National Corvette Museum’s ambitious expansion plans last week, I decided to officially join the Museum. It’s been one of those things that I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while now, but for whatever reason, I never took the plunge. So I went to the Museum’s new member signup area and joined online, donating $100 for a one year family membership. The NCM is a 501c3 organization so all membership fees and donations are tax deductible. On Saturday, I received my New Member Kit. When I opened the kit, the first thing I see is a welcome letter and another letter detailing some of the functions of the NCM. That letter had my membership cards attached. A Membership Certificate personalized with my name, member number and date of membership was also included. Also included are five brochures about the Corvette Museum: Location and Hours of Operation, Become A Member, The Flint Brick and NCM Brick Programs, and the R8C New Corvette Museum Delivery Option. An NCM Raffle Ticket order form and a Build Sheet/Window Sticker Order form was inserted into the kit. Finally, a pocket-sized 2007 calendar with NCM Events, a static NCM Member window decal and an NCM Member’s Pin completed the package.

NCM New Member's Kit Certificate of Membership NCM Member's Pin
I have never visited the National Corvette Museum, and it is becoming somewhat of a joke for the people who know me as every time I get close to going, it’s either an inopportune moment or changes in plans that keeps me away. I was just in Lexington last week, but once again unable to make the trip to Bowling Green to visit my personal Graceland. But just because I could never, ever seem to make the visit shouldn’t have kept me from becoming a member and it shouldn’t stop you either if you love Corvettes. Your member dues support the Museum’s day-to-day activities and enable the NCM to change and update exhibits that continually showcase the proud heritage of the Corvette. And again, if you haven’t seen the expansion plan video yet, you’re missing the total picture of what the National Corvette Museum is all about. I urge you to view it. And after you view it and see what the NCM is all about now and in the future, I challenge you to become a member as well.
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Corvette Racing Sweeps ALMS Championships

by Keith Cornett on October 22, 2006

Corvette Racing capped Corvette’s 50th anniversary in international road racing by sweeping the American Le Mans Series manufacturers, drivers and team championships in tonight’s season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. A runner-up finish by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R at the Monterey Sports Car Championships wrapped up Chevrolet’s sixth consecutive manufacturers’ title and gave the pair their second straight drivers championship. The four-hour race was hard fought from the green flag as all four GT1 contenders finished within one lap of each other. The Aston Martin DBR9 of Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy won by 4.945 seconds over Gavin and Beretta, while the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Johnny O’Connell and Ron Fellows took third place by .474 seconds over the Aston Martin of Tomas Enge and Darren Turner. “It’s fantastic that we’ve won the championships again,” said Gavin. “This season has had some ups and downs, some great racing and some frustrating racing, and in the end we’ve come through.” “It was really close at the finish and we didn’t know whether Olivier was going to be able to catch Stephane,” Gavin continued. “He got close but then hit traffic, and then we just ran out of time.” Beretta had the best seat in the house after passing his teammate O’Connell for second in the Corkscrew with 13 minutes to go. “The final stint was amazing,” said Beretta. “We had two options today – Olly and I knew we just had to finish the race to win the drivers championship, and on the other hand we really wanted to push hard and win the manufacturers championship for Chevrolet. So I tried to forget about the drivers championship and push hard to show that Corvette was still No. 1 even with all of the handicaps we have been given this year. Corvette Racing is a great team and they gave me a great car. This is my fourth ALMS championship, but this one is the sweetest.” The race almost went awry for the No. 4 Corvette at the start when Beretta was hit from behind by a Ferrari, damaging the left-rear fender. Two laps later, a fortuitous caution period allowed the pit crew to reattach the fender without losing contact with the leaders. Then shortly after the first hour, Beretta passed Lamy for the GT1 lead. For the next 20 minutes, the GT1 contenders ran nose-to-tail in a four-car freight train. “That was a tough race against a tough competitor,” said team manager Gary Pratt. “When the No. 4 car was hit and then the caution came out I said to myself, ‘This is going to be our lucky day.’ We got it fixed and went right back out there and raced them again.” The race become a strategic chess match when the two Corvettes made their fifth and final pit stops under caution at the 2-hour, 48-minute mark, ensuring that both cars could run to the finish without another stop. When the class-leading No. 007 Aston Martin pitted with a flat tire at 3:16, the championships were virtually clinched as the Corvettes were running comfortably in second and third. O’Connell relentlessly cut the No. 009 Aston Martin’s advantage by a second a lap, passing for the lead in Turn 11 with 27 minutes remaining – but the Aston countered and regained the lead going into Turn 2. “It was a great battle,” O’Connell declared. “We got by them, he got back by me, and then I got punted by one of the prototypes. I thought we might have hurt the car, but we never gave up, and that’s the mantra of Corvette Racing.” “We’ve got a whole winter to train and I’m looking forward to next year,” O’Connell continued. “With all of the challenges that were presented to Corvette Racing this year, for Chevrolet to win the manufacturers championship and for the No. 4 car to get the drivers championship says a lot about the depth of this team.” Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan agreed: “As I said before it started, it was going to come down to who made the fewest mistakes and who had the best strategy. We planned our pit strategy to set up for a long final run. It worked to our benefit, and securing second and third was what we needed to clinch the manufacturers championship.” “Winning this championship for the sixth straight year sends a tremendous message about the durability, reliability and performance of Corvette, Chevrolet and all General Motors products,” said Fehan. “It’s a testament to how hard this race team works.” Corvette’s first class victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1956 was the first step onto the world stage that established Chevy’s sports car as a contender in top-level competition. “Winning the American Le Mans Series championship puts an exclamation point on Corvette’s 50th anniversary in international road racing,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “We began the year with a victory in Sebring, the site of Corvette’s first major win in 1956. In June we celebrated Corvette’s fifth win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s greatest sports car race. Now with this championship performance today at Laguna Seca, we’ve again shown why racing is such an important part of Corvette’s heritage. On behalf of the entire Chevrolet organization, I congratulate the drivers, mechanics, engineers, support personnel and team managers of Corvette Racing. They’re the best in the business, and they proved it again today.” The 2007 American Le Mans Series will begin with the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Fla., on Saturday, March 17, 2007. The 12-hour endurance race will be televised live on SPEED. Source:
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A V6 Corvette? Hell No Chevy!!!

by Keith Cornett on October 20, 2006

A Kappa-Platform Corvette?Jesus, I go out of town for a couple of days, and the Corvette world just goes to pieces. drops the bomb that his inside sources say yes to a V6 powered kappa platform vehicle wearing a Corvette badge. While Corvettes in the past have offered buyers significantly different powerplants in the past (small blocks and big blocks), this would be a radical departure for Chevrolet: Two completely separate body style models. One the regular Corvette, the other is a mini-vette built on the kappa platform (think Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky),

There has always been talk of an entry level model for Corvettes. The car is a money-maker, it’s got history and enthusiasts that live and breathe Corvette. The success of the Solstice is fueling this effort and the geniuses are GM are probably trying to figure out how they can get a kappa platform for Chevrolet without competing with Corvette. Previous efforts for an entry-level Corvette never really materialized. Conti reminds us that the 99 Hardtop was supposed to be a stripped down Corvette with less power, 17 inch wheels and cloth seats. Thankfully someone (Dave Hill?) stepped in and instead the Z06 was unleashed as the hardtop model.

The only reason Chevy would want to call this car a Corvette is for name recognition. We are in New Coke territory here, folks. Nothing else about this car screams Corvette. Instead of mucking (put an F on it!) up the name of the greatest American Sports Car in history, why not just dig deep into the recesses of Chevy musclecardome and bring back something nostalgic like the Chevelle or Nova. Both are names that lend themselves to performance and affordability, and both names would be seen as Chevy trying to bring Sexy Back like they’ve done with the Camaro.

You boys at Chevrolet better get this right the first or there will be hell to pay from your loyal base. While Corvette people are some of the greatest in the world, this mini-vette and the people that drive it would initially be shunned. That’s right, you can drive your kappa Corvette, but you have to eat lunch at the kids table. Only grownups are allowed at the REAL Corvette table.



About the Five Factors Series

by Keith Cornett on October 19, 2006

I was pulled out of town unexpectedly earlier this week on a family emergency. I had originally planned to post this series over five consecutive days. However, they are a tad wordy so I have decided to break them up a bit. I am planning to post the Options and Originality Factors next week and then should be able to conclude the series with a look at Market Forces the following week. Thanks – Keith