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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Thanks Nan!

Quiz: What is missing from this picture?



As the date of my pending retirement from Scripps Research approaches (February 1, 2019), I’ve been contemplating the question, “Would it be possible to buy one, last, awesome, Corvette?” After owning Corvettes for 50+ years it would be nice to get something special. What would I choose if I had the chance? Who would deserve credit for motivating me to buy one?



Bob Vollmar, my Z06 hero, ranks a position high on the list of mentors. I love Bob’s yellow 2007 Z06. Bob let me drive it shortly after he bought it – what a rocket. Bob has put 30,000 miles on the car with multiple “circuit of the USA” trips. His descriptions of his love for the car, and his many adventures in it rest fondly in my memory, especially one story . . . .

Bob Vollmar Banzai Run in his Z06




Don Kingery, the first person I knew who purchased a C7 Corvette, shares credit for planting desire for a new Corvette in my heart. He let me drive his car, when the Chevy dealer wouldn’t give me a test drive. Don says this about his C7 Stingray, “I love this car so much, I’d sleep in it if I could!”




My Corvette driving school buddy, Bill deserves credit for motivating me to learn the fine points of driving a really fast car on a track. Our two trips to the Ron Fellows School in Pahrump, Nevada were memorable. Each of us wanted to take a turn in the Z06, but we were rebuffed by the instructors at the driving school. I also cherish the time Bill let me drive his Audi R8. Now Bill can experience the Z06 unfettered!



The Queen of Corvette Racing social media, Charley Robertson, has been a constant inspiration to me. Her love for Corvette racing, the drivers, the fans, and Corvette enthusiasts is evidenced in her many Facebook, Twitter, and email posts. It was Charley who introduced me to Harlan Charles (see below). Perhaps a tipping point for me to get a new Corvette was Charley’s recent purchase of the “Sebring” C7!

Going to the Corvette Races with Don, Shirley, and Nan, especially the Corvette Corral sites, has exposed me to so many different years, models, colors, and options. Which Corvette would be perfect for me?




While at Sebring, I had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with Harland Charles, Chevrolet Product Manager. Harlan patiently sat with me at dinner one night using my phone and the Chevy “Build Your Corvette” web site to help me choose the best options for my taste. Although we discussed the ZR1, I was surprised to find out how great the Z06 is, and how closely its performance compares to the all-out-track-ready ZR1.



Last month we went to Watkins Glen where I saw all those yellow Z06 cars. One night, while having ice cream cones with Nan, Don, and Shirley, we were joined by Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing Program Manager. Doug listened to me debate with myself out loud, “buy now or wait for the mid-engine Corvette?” Doug finally held his hand up, quieted all conversation, and said, “You are 70 years old. What are you waiting for?”


Of course, there is one person who deserves more credit than anyone else for the decision to get a new Corvette.


As soon as we returned from Watkins Glen to Carlsbad I was on a mission to find a Z06 configured as Harlan and I had planned, and to seek the best deal. I wanted the Z06, with the Z07 racing package (brakes, suspension, and tires), the 3LZ interior and accessories, carbon fiber ground effects and interior treatments, the Corvette Racing Yellow Tintcoat paint, black wheels with the yellow stripe, yellow brake calipers, and the matching yellow interior stitching.

As I did more research on the 2018 Z06, reading car magazine reviews, the adverb most commonly used to describe the car was “ridiculously”, as in “ridiculously powerful” or “ridiculously fast”. I liked how that sounded. A friend (not a car person) remarked to me, “Why would you get a car that has more performance that you can ever use”? I replied, “Obviously you are unfamiliar with the concept ‘You Are What You Drive!’”


Test Drive Corvette Z06


Through the miracle of the Internet I was able to locate a few cars that were configured exactly as I wanted.

For some reason we buy our new Corvettes from out-of-the-way Chevy dealers. The 50th Anniversary car came from Randy Vollmar at Vollmar Motors in Holstein, Iowa. This time we found Mike Piccirilli at Miller & Sons Chevrolet and Buick, in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. Mike patiently answered all my questions, sent photos and all the details about the car, and offered us an amazing deal. Neither Nan nor I had ever had a ride in a Z06, much less driven one. Mike agreed to hold the car for us for a day. Nan went immediately to work reserving flights and hotel rooms and in less than an hour we were ready to go to Aliquippa. We took a late Friday night flight to Pittsburgh and spent 7 hours in an airport hotel.




Early on Saturday morning Mike picked us up at our hotel and drove us to the dealership.



We took a test drive, loved the car, bought it, and flew back home, all in less than 30 hours!




Our first problem was making room for a fourth Corvette, because we aren’t selling any of them. With Nan’s help we were able to squeeze four Corvettes, three Go Karts, and two Lexus cars in the six car garage.




The next problem to solve was getting the car to Carlsbad. Sherpa Auto Transport promised to treat the Z06 with special care, and with Mike’s help, the Z06 was loaded in an enclosed trailer by Wednesday. In one week it arrived on Seaview Way.



The final problem to solve was the license plate. It needed to be the California black plate with yellow lettering (to match the car). What should it say? All the combinations of Z06 were taken, so I decided to dedicate my last Corvette, and its license plate, to the person who has meant so much to me for 27 years, has granted my every wish, and spoils me every day.






11 comments:

  1. SWEET! I have room for NYFTY 50 in my garage, if yours is too full. ;~)

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  2. Simply awesome and well deserved!

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  3. I KNOW WHAT’S MISSING FROM THIS PICTURE, IT’S THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE NEVER CHANGED AND ARE STILL THE NICE YOUNG MAN WHO TOOK TIME TO ALWAYS CHECK ON YOUR FRIENDS TO SEE HOW THEY ARE DOING. OUT OF ALL MY FRIENDS WHO I HAVE KNOWN FOR OVER FIFTY YEARS YOU ARE ONE OF A VERY FEW WHO TAKES TIME OUT OF YOUR BUSY LIFE TO CHECK OUT FRIENDS AND CALL THEM TO SEE IF THEY ARE OK. YOU NEVER CHANGED AND WILL NEVER CHANGE BECAUSE DOWN DEEP YOU ARE STILL THE LITTLE BELTSVILLE KID YOU WHO WORKED AT THE BELTSVILLE SHELL AND LIVED IN SMALL TOWN AMERICA (BELTSVILLE) MARYLAND. I WILL NEVER FORGET THE DAY YOU STOPPED BY MY APARTMENT TO TAKE ME FOR A RIDE IN YOUR VETTE.
    WE WENT OUT TO THE GOVERNMENT FARMS ON SOIL CONSERVATION ROAD , AND BEFORE YOU TURNED IT LOOSE YOU SAID “ YOU ARE NOT GOING TO LOCK ME UP ,ARE YOU ?“, I WAS A COP AND YOUR GOOD FRIEND
    I SAID NO AND TURN THIS THING LOOSE WELL YOU DID AND, DOWN THE ROAD WE WENT HAULING ASS . THESE MEMORIES WILL BE WITH ME FOREVER, STAY THE SAME MY FRIEND.

    YOUR FRIEND
    DARRYL

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  4. I knew it before I read it..... You needed the New One....
    Good for You and Nan.. Keep Crusin You Two.....
    Hugs, Sharon

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  5. Cary, I keep parking my Blue Fox in the Driveway hoping a Blue Corvette will appear, but no luck! Nancy is definitely your secret to Success.
    I am very happy for you both, Can't believe some Chevy Dealer was so foolish to not give you a test ride! Very cool to have had Harland's hand in picking out and equipping your Beautiful Z06, the perfect Color. Many miles of smiles to you both!
    My Best,
    Tom Corso

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  6. WOW!!!! Great story!!! Love the license plate. You’re a very lucky guy. Let me know next time you come to LA. We need to get together.
    BTW. I thought your story was leading up to you buying a ‘55 vette which is still my all time favorite. Whenever I think about Corvettes I picture my dad driving up Rolling Hill Rd behind the wheel of my cousin’s 55, classic white, the red interior with the wire mesh covering the headlights. I don’t think there’s another car that elicits boyhood memories for our generation like the original vettes.
    Howard B. Feuerstein

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  7. Great story. I can only imagine how long the smile on your face lasted after that test drive. Congratulations on your ridiculously beautiful Z06! Best to you and Nancy!

    Best,
    Vladimir & Rosie

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  8. Oh, my.....good call on that plate!
    John Elder

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  9. Just that very good looking wife of yours sitting in the blue kart would be my answer.

    Jim Donovan

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  10. Oh, Cary--that is just fantastic! Congratulations! I am so excited and happy for you! And thank you for honoring me in your blog. I hope I can see you and the car at Harry's soon.

    Bob Vollmar

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  11. Absolutely beautiful! Excellent choice of color too.
    Congrats - and many happy days of safe and fun-filled driving. It's got to be so different than driving the C-1 or -2.
    Steve Abdalla

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