Thursday, August 11, 2022

65th Anniversary for Bill Hatch's Corvette

On August 12, 1957 Bill Hatch walked into Bates Chevrolet in Alhambra, California and purchased a new 1957 Corvette.

65 years later, Bill is still the original owner of this car!

Bill wanted a new car and had his mind set on the (now) classic 1957 Chevy BelAir.  The salesman asked Bill if he knew that Chevrolet offered a sports car?  Bill said, "Let's take a look".  There were three Corvettes on the lot at Bates Chevrolet, one white, one red, and one black.  Bill chose the black car with the red interior.  It was "basic" -- three speed manual transmission, the base 230 HP 283 CU IN engine, removable hardtop, and no heater (who needs a heater in Southern California?).

Here is the documentation. Bill purchased the Corvette for the total price of $3,430.72.  He made a down payment of $1,863.72.  He traded in his 1950 Ford convertible and received a trade-in allowance of $200. After fees, Bill financed the net cost of $1,400 with 18 payments of $83.03. 


I have written about this amazing longevity of ownership  many times.  

 Ten years ago (2012), I chronicled Bill's ownership with this article:

In February 2013 an article appeared in the magazine of the National Corvette Museum, "America's Sports Car".  Here is my post about that article:

Bill Hatch in America's Sports Car Magazine

In 2019 I challenged anyone to find a person who has owned one Corvette longer than Bill -- so far, no challengers!

In 2020, at one of our "Burger Run" events, we had a surprise party for Bill and another North Coast Corvette Club member.

Last year (2021) I took Bill to lunch for his 89th Birthday and we took his classic Corvette.

Bill's 89th Birthday

Bill is now 90 and his Corvette is 65 -- both are "classic survivors" - and in "running condition"!  Bill and Marylyn, his wife, went on their honeymoon in the car. No trailer queen, Bill has consistently driven his Corvette around Carlsbad on a weekly basis.  He has lost track of how many miles they have traveled together -- but it is a lot!

Below are some of my favorite photos of Bill, Marylyn, and his Corvette.

Congratulations on this milestone event, Bill.  Here's to many more miles and smiles!

Cary & Nan August 11, 2022

P.S. If you are a writer for any Corvette or Auto magazine and want to write an article about Bill, you can reach me at 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Z06 and Don's C8 go to Long Beach

[In this episode, we learned a new way to not finish 1st in a race!]

It has been too many years since we have been to Long Beach, California to watch the Corvettes race, mostly due to the very limited number of Corvette Corral passes available, and the fact that returning corral fans get first shot at those limited tickets.

But this year, Nan's perseverance paid off and she snagged four tickets for the two of us and Don and Shirley.

This was the second IMSA race for us in 2022 -- after going to the opening race at the 24 hours of Daytona in January. But it was the first race in which we could caravan in our Z06 along with the Kingery's in their new C8 mid-engine Corvette.

Saturday morning the Fantastic Foursome left early from Carlsbad for the 90 mile trip to Long Beach., sporting our custom-made matching C8 Corvette shirts. 

About 75 minutes later, we were parked at the Corvette Corral at the Long Beach "race track"!

The Corvette corral at Long Beach is a bit smaller than the ones we have seen at other Corvette racing events, but the location is right across from grandstand seating at track side.  The venue provided secure parking, plenty of food, early morning coffee, and most of all, SWAG!

We always like to inspect the cars that the other drivers bring -- this year there was a nice collection of C8s.

Somehow Nan always seems to be a winner when prizes are drawn. At this event she scored a really nice sweatshirt!

Soon it was time to visit the pits and the Corvette drivers.  For this season only one Corvette will be entered in most of the IMSA races, while the other C8R race car will compete in the WEC (World Endurance Championship) races . . . .

 . . . .  and the two drivers for the non-endurance races are Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor.

By early afternoon it was showtime.  Jordan had qualified on the pole for the 100 minute race -- which is critical because passing is nearly impossible on the streets of Long Beach.  Jordan drove the first stint and kept his P1 position throughout his time in the car.  Each lap his lead over the second place car --  the #9 Porsche of Pfaff Racing (which had performed so well at Daytona), and the third place Lexus, grew slightly.  We were euphoric as it seemed certain that the Corvette team would finish on the top step of the podium.

When it came time for the single pit stop of the race, Jordan entered pit lane with the Porsche right behind him -- both cars pitting next to each other.  From our seats we couldn't see the action in the pits. But before long Antonio was back on the track -- we saw him as he appeared rounding the final turn and entered the straight and the start/finish line in front of our seats.  

His lead over the Porsche must have been great because there was no trailing #9 Porsche.  Another lap went by and still no Porsche.  Then a third lap -- no Porsche. Then, mysteriously, Antonio entered pit lane again.  Why on earth would he pit after so few laps?

Soon we heard that Corvette Racing had to take a "drive through penalty" -- driving slowly through the pits before reentering the track.  The penalty dropped Antonio back to third place.  What could have possibly gone wrong for the Corvette to incur a penalty?

Despite his best efforts, Antonio was not able to improve his position and he finished P3.

We left Long Beach confused and disappointed.

When we got home we finally heard the story of the penalty.  During the pit stop, one of the big wheel nuts of the Corvette spun out of its impact gun, flew through the air, whizzed past the heads of the Porsche pit crew members, bounced off the hood of the Porsche, and entered its hood duct.  It punctured the radiator and knocked the Porsche out of the race.

Pit Incident at Long Beach

Over the years we have seen many different ways that a "sure win" can get spoiled, but everyone agrees that taking yourself, and a competitor, out of contention with flying parts is a first!

Next stop - Laguna Seca.  But Don and Shirley will go without us this year as we have a conflicting commitment that can't be avoided.  [SAD FACE]


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

24 Hours of Daytona - 2022

Daytona | Daytona 500 | 24 Hours of Daytona

Any of these words evokes automobile racing.  

Daytona Beach Florida takes pride in at least two things: their beach and their role in the history of automobile racing in America.

The area now known as Daytona Beach was once the Orange Grove Plantation, a citrus and sugar cane plantation granted to Samuel Williams in 1787. After Williams death in 1810, his family ran the plantation until it burned down in 1835.  In 1871 Mathias Day, Jr, purchased the 3,200 acre property and built a hotel around which the city of Daytona Beach formed.  Before long Day's financial woes resulted in him losing title to the property, but the residents decided to name the city Daytona in his honor.  The railroad arrived in Daytona in 1886 and the place became a popular destination.  By 1926 the separate towns of Daytona, Daytona Beach, Kingston, and Seabreeze merged as "Daytona Beach" and claimed the distinction as "The World's Most Famous Beach".

Daytona's wide beach of compacted sand attracted car and motorcycle racing as early as 1902. By 1904 the 23 mile-long beach was the site of land speed records competed for by the innovators of the time. By 1936 stock car racing came to town. For 50 years the beach meant racing, but by 1959 Bill France Sr. and NASCAR moved the races to the Daytona International Speedway, just a few miles from the famous beach. By comparison the first Indy 500 race was held in 1911.  Not to have the track out done by the beach, the speedway is called "The World Center of Racing".

Nan and I had never been to Daytona and this year we agreed with Don and Shirley that it was time to witness it first hand at the 24 Hours of Daytona race. Don and Shirley had been before,so they served as tour guides.  

We were slightly concerned how we would feel witnessing the first race of the new 2022 IMSA season, with the realigned classes for GTD and GTD Pro.  The season always begins at Daytona in January with the first endurance race of the year. The race would start on Saturday afternoon with a field of 13 GTD Pro cars including the two C8R Corvettes. That field was much larger than the prior year in which, by season's end, all the competitors had quit except for two Corvettes and a single Porsche.  Making the field even more crowded for the 2022 season, there were an additional 22 entries in the nearly identical class of GTD.  That's a lot of cars bumping into each other.

The Fantastic Foursome flew together from San Diego to Orlando, rented an SUV, piled our luggage in back and headed for Daytona Beach.  We drove about 40 miles up the interstate to the Daytona area, and exited onto "International Speedway Boulevard" -- we were pretty sure this was the right exit!  We drove all the way to Highway 1 on the Atlantic Ocean and here is what we saw:

We turned north in search of our hotel.  Shirley had secured us ocean-view rooms at the Hilton Daytona Beach Ocean-Front Resort. So nice! Thank you, Shirley!

Arriving at the track we were impressed at its size.

We had prearranged for a great race weekend package that included seating in an exclusive club area right at the start-finish line.  

Like a cruise experience, we enjoyed the all-you-can-eat-and-drink food program, inside seating, access to the grandstands, and passes to go to the infield.  We took advantage of all of it.  

Getting access to the track was a breeze.

Saturday morning we took our usual pit walk, and wandered over to the Corvette Corral in time to see the drivers, and passed by the C8R cars.


As we always do, we stopped by the Corvette garage to encourage the mechanics and pit crew.  

Before long the crowds were being ushered back to their seats for the start of the race.  As we walked across the track, at the start-finish line, the "straight" part of the track (which you would think would be flat), we were astonished to see how much of an angle there was to the track surface.  You can see it in the photo below.  It was steep enough that it took effort to "climb" up to the grandstands.  


But . . . that angle is nothing compared to the banked turns at either end of the track -- there the angle is 31 degrees making the top edge of the track 20 feet higher than the bottom edge. 

The race began at 1:30 in the afternoon.  It didn't take long for us to realize that the Balance of Performance (BOP) was skewed against the Corvettes.  They were losing about 1.5 seconds per lap to the other GTD-Pro cars and weren't able to keep ahead of all of the GTD cars.  This was going to be a very long event.

As we learned at Le Mans and Sebring, if you car isn't leading in an endurance race, life quickly becomes boring.  But we knew the perfect distraction. We went shopping in the infield!  We made the rounds of all the displays of cars and car stuff, scored our free Corvette Racing shirts, and Nan and Shirley each landed a free coveted Michelin Man stuffed doll!


As night fell, so did the temperatures.  Florida is supposed to be warm in the winter, but a cold front had passed through many of the Southern states and the temperatures were so cold that there was a fear that the track temperatures might make driving dangerous and the race could be cut short.  


In need of stimulation, we left the track and walked across International Speedway Boulevard to a hip shopping/dining area called ONE DAYTONA.  This place was hopping, packed with exotic cars, music, young people and upscale restaurants.  We enjoyed a nice dinner and then headed back to our hotel for the night.

Sunday was as cold, or colder, than Saturday but the race continued to the end.  

The results were very disappointing for the defending championship team, 6th place for the Number 3 Corvette (electrical problems cost them 13 laps in the middle of the night) and 10th place for the Number 4 car (which was struck from behind after a restart). 

When your team is down, your best relief is having good friends around you -- and we did.


We headed back to the Hilton, stopping along the way for some liquid refreshment and snacks.  Then the four of us retreated to Don and Shirley's room to watch football.  I can't remember who was playing but we just wanted to cheer on a winner.

On Monday morning, before heading back to the airport for our flights, Nan and I walked the boardwalk in front of our hotel.  The city has done a marvelous job of recording the racing history of Daytona on the seawall and in kiosks situated every few hundred yards. It was a nice end to our time there.

Our next Corvette Race would be at Long Beach, California. 

Thanks Don and Shirley for our Daytona experience!

Monday, May 30, 2022

2021 - the C8R and the end of GTLM

 Everyone has their disappointing stories about 2021 with the pandemic and all that had been impacted.

For fans of Corvette Racing, 2021 should have been a year to celebrate, as Corvette Finished #1 and #2 for the season, winning the Driver, Team, and Manufacturer Championships.  The victories are as hollow as a conch shell because we won primarily because everyone else quit.  Even worse, 2021 saw the end of the GTLM era -- a racing format that suited Corvette Racing (and its fans, as described below) perfectly.  Here are my reflections and analysis:

The 2020 season saw the debut of the new mid-engine C8 Corvette.  And what a debut it was!  Although the first race of the season, the 24 hours of Daytona, did not go well, by the second race of the season, one or the other Corvette finished in 1st place in seven of the remaining nine races.  At season's end, the #3 Corvette had a commanding 32 point lead over the second place BMW, with the #4 Corvette finishing close behind in third place.  The seven car field included two Corvettes, two BMWs, two factory Porsche entries and one Ferrari.  Corvette Racing did not participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2020 because of the whole pandemic thing.  The Corvette faithful were eager for the 2021 season to begin and hopeful that life would return to normal.  It was not to be.

2021 Season

By the time the 2021 IMSA season started, the two factory Porsche cars had dropped out, leaving a field of two Corvettes, two BMW M8 GTLM entries, the lone #79 Porsche fielded by Weather Tech Racing, and the Risi Competizone Ferrari team.  The season started well for Corvette Racing with a 1 - 2 finish at Daytona.  Sebring, the second race, was a bit disappointing, but the #3 Corvette scored another 1st place finish in the third race at Watkins Glen.  After the third race, Ferrari and both BMWs had dropped out, leaving just the Weather Tech Porsche and the two Corvettes to compete for the remainder of the season. Of the ten races, a Corvette finished in 1st place 7 times.

By season's end the Corvettes had finished 1 - 2 in total points and won the "triple crown" of Driver, Team, and Manufacturer championships.  Chevrolet made a big deal of this, but it was very hard to get enthused about the season. 

As part of the 2021 season, Corvette Racing returned to Le Mans, and ran a fantastic race, finishing in second place for its class, and very close to the winning Ferrari.  Here is my post about that race:

The C8R Debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Other than Le Mans, it was difficult for me to get very enthused about the racing season.  So much so that I stopped blogging about my favorite sport.

The End of the GTLM

2021 also saw the demise of the GTLM class, something we all saw coming, a victim of economics as much as anything.  During this period, Corvette was dominant with 14 Manufacturer and 15 Team championships -- more than any other sports car.

But for me, and I think most Corvette Racing fans, the GTLM era was so much more than the races.  Chevrolet would bring huge displays showcasing the latest cars, engines, and options.  Fans could get up close and personal to see the C7 when it was released, and the C8 in turn, before they had been available for purchase.  Examples of the Z06 and the ZR1 were showcased attracting big crowds.  Doug Fehan, everyone's favorite Corvette Racing Team leader,  was joined by legends from Corvette racing history and all of them were readily accessible to their adoring fans.  We could rub elbows with the drivers, and interview the Corvettes engineers who were designing the cars we all wanted. Representatives from Mobil and Michelin offered tech sessions at the Corvette Corals and always had nice raffle prizes for those in attendance. GTLM was a rolling party, and Nan and I visited so many tracks: Long Beach, Laguna Seca, Road America, Watkins Glen, Sebring, and the biggest treat of all -- Le Mans.  We met so many nice people from all across the Country, and many have become friends.

I realize that something had to change to keep Corvette Racing viable, but I'm afraid that however the new racing program evolves in 2022 and beyond, it will never measure up to the joy we found in GTLM.  Hopefully I will be wrong!

Saturday, May 7, 2022

C8R gets 99.9537% of a First-Place Finish at 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans

For the 21st time in 22 years, Corvette Racing crossed the Atlantic to participate in the greatest endurance race of all time – the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The race is normally staged in June, but like everything everywhere the race had to be delayed -- it was rescheduled to August.

The Corvette faithful were eager to see how the new mid-engine platform, embodied in the C8R race car, would compete with the similar configurations of Ferrari, Porsche and other World-class sports cars. The plan had been to debut the C8R last year (2020), but, well, you know. . . . . .

The field in LMGTE PRO in 2021 year included eight entries -- two factory Ferraris, two factory Porsches, two independent Porsche teams, and the two Corvettes. In past years the field has included Aston Martin, BMW, and the blue oval boys (but they only come to Le Mans to stage publicity stunts -- they don't take the event seriously or come consistently like real sports car manufacturers). 

 The # 63 Corvette was in contention for first place the entire race.  Each of the three Corvette drivers drove double stints to start the race and later triple stints, and each driver led the race for a time.  After 12 hours there were 5 LMGTE PRO cars on the lead lap -- the #51 Ferrari, #63 Corvette, #92 Porsche, #91 Porsche, and #52 Ferrari.  With six hours remaining it had become a two-car race.  

I had gone to bed with about 8 hours to go.  When I woke up at 7:00 AM I was hoping for better results -- but the race was exactly the same as the night before.  Ferrari - Corvette lap after lap, lap after lap.  The C8R had excellent pace and the drivers had done everything they could to catch the race leader.

In the end, the Corvette was just 40 seconds behind the Ferrari -- or 99.9537% as fast at the 1st place finisher.

Here is the post-race quote from Chevy:

"Today's second-place result in GTE Pro for the No. 63 Corvette C8.R and drivers Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg is a significant achievement as we debuted the mid-engine Corvette C8.R at Le Mans," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S Vice President, Performance and Motorsports. "To be on the podium at Le Mans with the C8.R is very gratifying. It's a testament to the hard work and determination of our Corvette production and racing teams."

In 2022, we have finished the first four races of the new racing class -- GT PRO -- and the Corvette Racing folks are heading back to Le Mans for a second attempt to win the greatest endurance race of all time.

Good luck to Corvette Racing!




Monday, April 25, 2022

Moments of Inspiration

 Everyone has moments when a person or event inspires their life.

One of mine was when, at the age of 15, Sharon (Cox) Winne arranged for me to get my first ride in a new sports car -- a fuel-injected 1962 Corvette.  That ride changed my life forever and resulted in a life-long love affair with America's Sports Car!

I've recently learned that I have similarly inspired the idea of Corvette ownership within a young man who lived next door to us 28 years ago.

Matthew Reabold, Jr. moved to the house next to ours in 1995, just in time to celebrate his second birthday.  Our daughter, Canon was about 17 months old.  Matthew and Canon became instant friends, and remain best friends today.  Stories of their adventures would fill this Blog to overflowing.

Matthew's dad, Matthew Sr. (of course) and his mom, Shari, were loving parents and have forged a family friendship among all of us.  Vacations, holiday traditions, and watching our children blossom into accomplished adults fill us with pride.

When we first met the Reabolds we owned a 1984 Corvette.  Matthew Sr. had also owned a 1984 Corvette sealing my bond with him.  In the next two years we bought our 1962 Corvette and began a restoration in 1997.  Matthew Jr. and Canon got to see the restoration unfolding in real time.

I've tried to instill the love of Corvettes in many young people, especially Matthew Jr., typically by giving them their first ride in one.  For me, the most memorable ride I gave Matthew was in 2013, at one of the "Cary's Corvette Club" events.  A bunch of us gathered at the house and caravaned from Carlsbad down the I-5 to the Corvette Diner at Liberty Station.  Matthew Jr. joined us -- he and Canon were big fans of the '62.

When it came time to drive home, Matthew shared the ride with me.

In January, Matthew Jr, started texting me for my opinion of a yellow 2002 Corvette he had found near his home.  He did all the due diligence on his own, and all the negotiations with the car dealer.  Before long Matthew had joined the Corvette Fraternity!

The black and yellow theme looks so much like the Corvette Racing cars from the GTLM years (and my Z06) that I decided Jake needed to be part of the ensemble.  So I mailed Matthew Jr. a Jake sticker for his new car!

Well done, Matthew Jr.  We are so proud of you. And welcome to the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of Corvette ownership!

Love, Cary, Nan, and Canon

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


I'm finding it a bit surreal that some of my closest Beltsville Shell buddies have become nonagenarians!

90 years is a major milestone.  In addition to celebrating Bob Vollmar's 90th Birthday at the end of 2020, Nan and I got to experience two 90th birthdays in recent months for two legendary guys.

The first was for Bonneville legend, Lou Bingham.  Below is a photo from 2016 at the Salt flats -- Lou on the left, Thomas Payne -- who is a champion of Beltsville Shell and the guy who introduced me to Lou -- and yours truly.

Lou's daughter, Denise, arranged for a surprise party and Nan and I were lucky enough to be on the guest list.  We snuck into a lively spot on a Sunday afternoon -- Societe Brewing Company -- along with dozens of Lou's friends.  

 Although we didn't know anyone there, everyone was so friendly and many people told us their stories of long-time friendships with Lou.  This guy is majorly loved by the many, many lives he has touched.

Denise had arranged for one of Lou's friends to bring him to the brewery at the appointed hour.  Everyone was careful to park their street rods a few blocks away so as to maintain the element of surprise. Here we are awaiting the entrance.

The planning was perfect, and Lou was completely surprised!

This is the card we prepared for the party -- before we arrived.  After being there with his friends and family, and hearing all the many testimonials to Lou and his life, I guess the card got it just right!

Plus, we included a Beltsville Shell Sticker as a gift!

Thank you, Lou, for including us in your very special day!

The second party wasn't a surprise, but was equally enjoyable.  This time the birthday boy was Bill Hatch, our neighbor and the original owner of a 1957 Corvette.

[Author note: Cary swears that Bill holds the World Record for the longest period of ownership of a Corvette by the Original Owner.  Bill bought his 1957 Corvette from his local Chevy dealer in April 1957 and still owns the car today -- 65 years later!] 

Here is Bill with his two greatest loves -- his wife Marylyn, and his 1957 Corvette.

Marylyn and Bill's daughter, Lisa, arranged for a wonderful evening at the Seabird Resort, at the water's edge in Oceanside.  The guest list was small -- just immediate family and three couples -- Nan and I were honored to be included in this intimate setting!

Greeting the guests were Lisa, Marylyn, and Bill's Grand daughters Lindsay and Sarah.

We were first treated to champagne and a classic winter San Diego sunset.

Bill greeted all of us with his ever-present smile.

Next was a delicious meal in a private patio.

And the evening ended with birthday cake and a heart-felt speech from Bill.

Bill is about as good a friend as you could ever find.

To Lou and Bill -- I'm looking forward to celebrating #100 with both of you in about 10 years!