After making nearly 20 years of memories with a 50th anniversary 2003 Corvette, Betsy Slauson wasn’t quite sure what the next phase of life would offer for their car after her husband Donald passed away.
Then she saw an article in the National Corvette Museum magazine that said the NCM and the Traffic Safety Education Foundation were looking for C5 and C6 Corvettes to teach young people about driver safety.
“I wasn’t anxious to get rid of it, or sell it, but I wasn’t driving it,” Betsy explains. “I’d had work done on it to make sure that it was drivable and everything was up to snuff after not being driven for a couple of years. I saw that article … and I thought, that sounds like a cool thing. I think Don would like that.”
She ran the idea by her son Dennis, who had just happened to surprise her a few days later with a visit to her home in California. “I said, what do you think? And he said, I think that would make Dad smile.”
The other kids in the family thought it was a great idea, too.
“(Dad) would think it was pretty cool the car was here at this place,” Dennis said, “particularly being used in this program for driver training for kids, maybe plant the Corvette bug in some kid just like it was planted in him so many years ago.”
The Slausons had visited Bowling Green in 2002 for the introduction of the 50th Anniversary Corvette. On the way home, Donald suggested to his wife, “Let’s buy a new one.” She agreed, and they purchased a 2003 convertible now being donated by Betsy.
Along the way, the car has provided lots of thrills for the Slausons, even including a prominent role in a Disney salute to “50 Years of Corvettes” in Downtown Disney. Their Corvette was even featured on the cover of Vette Magazine, with Dennis driving it to the photo shoot.
Another time, Donald also asked Dennis if he would like to drive the car around the speedway in Fontana, California with a NASCAR driver. He wound up driving with John Andretti after having “no idea who was going to hop in the car,” Dennis recalls, calling it a “pretty cool” moment in their 2003 Corvette.
The NCM’s Director of Collections/Curator Derek Moore is grateful for the Slausons’ donation, saying that “any nonprofit cannot survive without grants or donations. To have vehicles like this donated to both the Museum and this program are what make this entire institution run the way it does.”
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