Question of the Week: How Did You Get Interested in the Corvette Hobby?


Question of the Week: How Did You Get Interested in the Corvette hobby?

In our latest installment of asking a Question of the Week, I turned the reins over our Detroit Bureau aka Steve Burns to come up with a question to ask our contributors. Steve says that while many know of Keith’s story with his 1966, why not ask how the others got into the Corvette hobby. So if you want to learn a little more about the guys here at CorvetteBlogger who find the Chevrolet Corvette to be more than just a car, keep reading!

How’d you get interested in the Corvette hobby?

Steve Burns:
I ended up a Corvette guy by simple osmosis. While growing up, my dad almost always had one in the garage. As a small child I remember rolling around the rear cargo area of his 1966 coupe while he was behind the wheel. Later it was driving his 1975 coupe to my senior prom. On the weekends it was off to one or more of the myriad of local metro Detroit car shows. I attended my first Bloomington Gold at the ripe old age of 8 and have only missed 2 of them over the following 35 years. In 1999 I procured my first Corvette – a 1971 LS5 coupe and haven’t looked back since. Basically, Corvettes have been in my blood since grade school. As I get older, my passion for Corvettes just continues to grow. I guess there are worse things out there I could have gotten into!

Mitch Talley:
My dad was a big Chevrolet man all his life so I guess it rubbed off on me at a young age. He never was very interested in Corvettes, preferring instead to drive Bel Airs, Impalas, and Caprices. But I can still remember telling him when I couldn’t have been much more than 6 or 7 years old that I wanted a “Corvair” Sting Ray. From there it just blossomed into a full-fledged love affair with the “Corvette” Sting Ray. An older neighbor of mine had a red 1969 convertible that I lusted after, and then at my first job as a sack boy at a local grocery store, one of our customers drove a brand new 75 convertible. I couldn’t wait to see him come to the store every week so I could see his Vette. As a freshman in high school, I subscribed to Vette Vues when it was mimeographed. I still have those copies now and I remain a subscriber to this day and will always be. I guess you could say I am a lifelong dyed in the wool Corvette enthusiast from early childhood. I can’t remember when I wasn’t!

Jeremy Welborn:
I’ve often heard people say that Corvette ownership is not practical when you’re raising a family, but I had a completely different philosophy. We already had four children and would have our fifth the following year, and there I was buying a two-seat Corvette at the age of 36. I had actually decided that a Corvette was the perfect date vehicle and had convinced my wife that it was a great idea that would help us get away for some alone time together. Not only did the Corvette allow us to do just that, but it also provided an opportunity for me to have fun one-on-one times with each of my kids. Before the Corvette, it was almost impossible to take just one of the kids anywhere without the others begging to go to. But now I could say, “I’m sorry, but we’re taking the Corvette and there is only room for one, but I’ll take you somewhere with me soon and it will be just you and me.”

I’ve owned at least one of every generation and the 2020 Corvette that I have on order with Mike Furman will be my 20th Corvette and my 50th birthday present to myself. That’s what always being interested in the Corvette from childhood will do to you when you don’t buy your first Corvette until you’re 36 years old. Even so, I still can’t help but feel I’m only just getting started!

Alex Sommers:
For me, a few specific milestones come to mind when I think about how I got to the point of loving Corvettes enough to write about them every day. As a kid, my dad was hugely responsible for planting the seeds that would blossom into my automotive nerddom. He took me to classic/muscle car shows and I always remember the Corvettes really standing out from the rest of the crowd. He also had dual subscriptions to Car and Driver and Road & Track that I would excitedly run to the mailbox at the beginning of the month for. Luckily for my budding Corvette enthusiasm, both publications featured ‘Vettes a lot! I loved reading comparison tests and following speculation about future generations before the internet made all of that so easy.

Then my freshman year in college, when I was in desperate need of a new hobby after years of having nearly no free time as a side effect of being a three-sport athlete, GM delivered the car that pushed me into a full-on obsession; the C6 ZR1. Performance-wise, that car was so far ahead of everything else at the time, it sent a shock through the industry and my plans. Upon graduation, I decided not to use my degree and instead take a job at Colorado’s #1 Corvette dealership (my mom cried!). While I was there, I had the opportunity to drive performance cars from around the globe and Corvettes from every generation (except for C1) and hone in on what makes a car truly great to me beyond the numbers.

Working all year round while my wife was teaching, putting in time every Saturday, and not having access to the ‘Vettes all winter eventually drove me into the classroom. I’ve missed the cars ever since and was always writing here and there or crunching general car or Corvette data in Excel during my free time at school. About a month ago I decided that I should go for it and put all of this enthusiasm back to work. I contacted Keith and he decided to take a shot on an unproven writer, giving me a chance at being like the R&T guys who taught me to read way back when.

Keith Cornett:
Reading the accounts above from our fellow contributors, it’s apparent how important the role of fathers play in passing on the “car genes” to their sons and daughters.

My dad was working for a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary in 1966 and that year J&J awarded a 1966 Ford Mustang to its top salesman at each division. My dad won it but famously said, “What am I going to do with an old Ford anyway?” So he picked the Mustang from the Ford dealership and drove to a Chevrolet dealer where he traded it in on a Black/Silver 1966 Corvette Convertible. I was born two years later and grew up in the car, going to shows and drives. My father passed away in 1982 when I was 14 and the car was put in a barn where it would say until I picked it up and brought it down to Florida nearly 10 years later. It’s the car I drive today and while I have owned it longer than he did, I will always think of it as my dad’s Corvette.

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  1. Watching Bonanza when I was young.Since it was sponsored by Chevy there was always a Vette in the commercial. A subliminal message in my tiny brain.

  2. My Dad used to take me to the yearly car show at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City where the manufacturers unveiled their new cars for the following year. I was there when Chevrolet unveiled the 1953 Corvette, I was 6 years old. When I saw that White Corvette on display I fell in love,,,,,,,,,at first sight. My Dad being a family man and a Chrysler kind of guy wasn’t very interested in the Corvette and told me, “its plastic, don’t waste your time looking at it, General Motors wont be able to sell them”. But I stood my ground and looked at it from all angles , what got me the most was the screens over the headlights and that grille with all those shiny teeth. Every year after that I would check out the advertisements for the Corvettes. It wasn’t until 1967 when I was able to buy my first Corvette, a brand new 1967 Corvette Coupe in Lyndale Blue with a standard Black interior, it was a 300 horse 327 with a 4 speed and posi rear, am/fm radio and tinted glass, & a speed warning speedo. I loved that car and still wish I had never sold it. Since then I’ve been thru quite a number of Corvettes, 10 to be exact, including a new ’71 LT-1 Ontario Orange 2 top Roadster, 2 different ’59s,, both stripped to bare fiberglass, 2 different ’66s, 1 Marina Blue Coupe with air and the other a 2 top Mosport Green Roadster , a White ’70 350-350 4 speed Roadster with a/c, a ’78 Anniversary Edition, Silver/ Gray L-82, a White ’80 L-82, & a 82 that was that Champagne Beige color, if it wasn’t for this MS that I’m afflicted with I’d be figuring out a way to see my self clear to get a Black C-8 Convertible.

  3. Saw my first Vette when I was 6 years old in 1953 and it’s been Corvettes from the day I got my Drivers license, I’ve owned every generation except a C5, just could not grow to like the ugly bumpers on them, and looking at the C8, well this looks like another that I will not buy, I also used to own a small body shop and you can guess what our specialty was………lol

  4. I used to have a collection of hot wheels that were Corvettes when I was a kid. In 1997, I was riding my motorcycle when I saw a red 77 coupe for sale in a mall parking lot. I picked it up cheap and restored the entire interior. I drove it daily and then added a 72 Coupe 4-speed to my collection and rebuilt the engine on it myself. I met my wife because she drove a 97 coupe. We flew to El Paso and drove home a ’63 split window in 2001. I traded in her car for a ’03 Anniversary coupe when my daughter was 6 weeks old. I sold the ’77 to my mother and the ’72 to someone on eBay in the 2000s. Then last year, traded in the ’03 for a ’15 Z06 coupe manual. I drive it daily to work and to sporting events with my son. I think they are some of the best looking cars out there.

  5. When I was 12 my dad went to the Chevrolet dealership in downtown Chicago. In 1953 I saw my first Corvette and I was hooked. In 1962 I bought my first Corvette in Chicago it was a 1959 and 35 Corvette’s later I am driving a 2014. Oh yeah I did own and restore a 1954.

  6. It was also during a Bonanza TV commercial sponsored by Chevy. (1965 to be exact). I was barely 7 years old, but seeing Pernell Roberts driving a brand new ’65 Corvette convertible in the ‘ad’ spot probably hooked me? Fast forward three more years, (my parent’s neighbor had a ’63 split window), with still more time going by with commercials, game shows that had GM cars, and magazine advertising. By the time I was nineteen, I test drove a 1969 convertible that had belonged to a friend of my Dad. This third generation hooked me. (Ten Corvettes later, I still drive one today).

  7. Had a neighbor take me for a ride in his 58, then at 14 my sister let me drive her 64 4 speed coupe. Later she let me take her 68 Coupe on dates. Since then, I’ve owned a 71, 74, 88 and now I have a 2008 JSB Z06.

  8. A guy on my block had a red ’65 big block convertible with the side exhaust and once I saw it I was hooked!

  9. As I young kid in the mid-1960’s, I lived 2 doors away from future GM VP of Design Chuck Jordan. This was an era when top GM execs would bring all kinds of cool cars home, and Mr. Jordan was always willing to take us for rides. I rode in some very unique Corvettes and was “hooked” on them from that point forward!

  10. My first “encounter” with a Corvette was at the local country club. I worked as the starter and a doctor pulls up in a red 1968 coupe and asks me to park it! His clubs weren’t in the car and here I am 18 years old and a new driver. Talk about being nervous! Another member had a 1968 big block and treated me to some WOT starts, which hooked me. Still, after graduating college and after starting a good paying job as a computer programmer, I thought it was time to treat myself to not a Corvette but a 1974 Bricklin! So, I went to the local Chevy dealer where they had a new one for sale and looked up a salesman who was friends with my dad. He wouldn’t sell me the Bricklin and instead directed me to a 1974 metallic brown coupe with beige leather interior. He tossed me the keys to drive around the block. Sold, American! Here I am 45 years later on my 8th Vette, a 2016 Z51 3LT Torch Red auto coupe. Looking forward to a 2021 C8!

  11. 1963 Rochester NY auto show…..father took myself and best friend Craig (10 yrs old we were) found the new Sting Ray display on 360° turnstile…….Silver splitwindow…..we both thought we were staring at a Sci-Fy spaceship…..that was 42 Corvettes ago……never looked back……..Duntov would be ecstatic with the midengine……but Tadge, he would want a manual trans version…..just sayin’

  12. Got a ride in a Sebring silver ’63 Split Window Coupe when I was 12 in 1970. Got a paper route the next week & started saving. Bought my ’76 new at 18. Still have it today….!

  13. My neighbor had an MG-A when I was very young; got a couple of rides in that. Then my dad’s buddy had a 1962 Porsche 356, and I will never forget the ride I got in that when I was about 12. He showed me how the tach worked, and how he used it as a basis for shifting gears (I was impressed that the tach was at the center of the instrument cluster, as it should be, and that the speedo was just another dial off to the side!).
    When the C3 came out I became really interested in ‘Vettes, too. Was too young to drive, but at least I had one with my road race setup — and I still have it!
    For several decades I knew I wanted a Porsche or a ‘Vette SOME day. It became just Porsches after awhile, and I almost bought a 2016 Cayman. But there was a Chevrolet dealer about a mile from the Porsche dealer. I liked what I saw in the window — and when I found out that the 2016 C7 was, in fact, available with a MANUAL TRANSMISSION (woohoo!), I just had to give it a try!
    So glad I did! I ordered a 2LT MT Stingray, and have been a fan ever since I drove it away from the dealer.
    I will get another Corvette some day IF the C8 is ever offered with a MT. Currently feeling a bit betrayed because it is not, and have considered leaving the fold. I know ALL of the arguments on both sides. I am still hoping…

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