Monday, January 16, 2023

Vettes for Veterans 2022

For the past 10 years the "North Coast Vettes" Corvette Club of Carlsbad, California has been hosting a car show called "Vettes for Veterans".  

 North Coast Vettes

Relying on the volunteerism and charity of the club's members, the proceeds from the car show are donated to two veteran support charities - The Semper Fi and America Funds and Paralyzed Veterans of America - Cal Diego Chapter.

Hundreds of owners bring their cars to this "Corvettes Only" car show every year.  Close friends will remember that in 2017 Nan's 56 won 1st place in the first generation category.  

Back then we were supporters of the event.  But two years ago we joined the club and are now more involved in the production of it. I want to tell you a little about the show and the winners.

Nan, Canon, and I have made contributions to the silent auctions with car repair tools and gift baskets.  Canon, in particular, has secured some excellent wines for auction.  This year I was asked to be the Chief Judge for the judging of the eight generations of Corvettes.  We have enjoyed our participation to this worthy endeavor.

The turnout this year was excellent with 286 Corvettes registered. The two veteran charities provide the judges from their respective groups.  Armed with clip boards and their list of cars to be judged, off they went into the massive parking lot, many in wheel chairs, to review the impressive cars that are entered each year.  It was an honor for me to work closely with these folks whose service to our country has come at a personal price.  At the bottom of this article you will find the list of "winners".  But, in a sense, everyone who participates in this event is a winner -- a community of people who love their country, value their veterans, and adore Corvettes.

This year's event was very personal for me and Nan in three ways.

First, Nan and I donated a United States Marine Corps flag to be used at these events in honor my father, Cpl. Clinton E. Thomas, Jr. USMC 1942 - 1945.  We want to thank Carm Finocchiaro, President of North Coast Vettes, for giving us the opportunity to purchase and donate the flag!  We know that Dad would be proud.

Second, we were overjoyed to see our 50th Anniversary Corvette appear as an entered car!  Bruce Eisenbise, who purchased "NYFTY 50" from us in October 2020, brought the car to the event.  What a joy it was to visit with Bruce.  The car is still as spotless as the day we sold it and Bruce is enjoying owning his first Corvette.  We are happy that the car found such a great home.


Third, our club decided to feature our close friends, Bill and Marylyn Hatch, and their original one-owner 1957 Corvette as the signature car of the event.  Bill has owned this car since purchasing it new from Bates Chevrolet in August 1957 -- an ownership spanning 65 years.  Here is a shot of Bill and Marylyn with their daughter, Lisa, and her husband Dan at the show.  Bill's car was a huge hit with scores of people stopping by to marvel at what is probably a World record ownership of a Corvette by its original owner.

In January our club was able to make a presentation to the charities with the proceeds of the car show.

I want to close by thanking the members of North Coast Vettes for welcoming Nan and me into your special group -- in a few short years you have become close and valued friends.

Cary & Nan January 2023

Vettes for Veterans - 2022 - Judging Winners

Monday, January 9, 2023

The Z06 Visits Carlsbad

You have your mid-engine C8 Corvette, and then you have your C8 Z06 Corvette -- the super performance version of the new generation Corvette.

Frequent readers of this blog will remember that Don and I got to see the unveiling of the Z06 (the next day) at the Peterson Auto Museum up in LA on October 27, 2021.

Some of you Corvette Faithful are aware that Chevrolet decided in 2022 to create a roadshow for the new Z06 and to caravan the car around the country to various Chevy dealers.  They loaded up an 18-wheeler with a car, display exhibits, and four nice young people to tell prospective customers all about the new Z06.

2023 Corvette C8 Z06 Roadshow Tour 

I'm not sure that I will ever understand why Chevy thought that they needed to promote a car that has thousands and thousands of potential buyers on multi-year waiting lists to buy a car that is only being produced at about 3,000 per year (this number based on intelligence from Corvette Forum). But Chevy does some strange things, right?

Back in June 2022, Nan and I were at a meeting of our local Corvette Club, North Coast Vettes, and one of the members mentioned that the Z06 Road Tour would be at our local Chevy dealer the next day.  Ha!  Our chance to actually sit in and touch a Z06! 

The next day we went to take a look.  We were amazed to find that we had the showroom and the display exclusively to ourselves.

The car, of course, was stunning.  What catches your eye first are the huge side vents designed to get lots of cool air into the engine -- Chevy calls it the "wishbone".

In addition to the side vents, additional vents (and radiators) are visible in the front of the car.

 Just like Don's C8, the engine is visible through the back window.  But the Z06 engine is different -- a "flat plane" crankshaft and twin overhead cams produce 670 HP and revs to 8,600 RPM. Unfortunately, the nice people running the display didn't let us start the engine or DRIVE THE CAR! 😞

This car was equipped with first-time-ever factory carbon fiber wheels.  This is a nice option if you have a spare $18,500 in your savings account.

We got to see the massive tires that come on the Z06 if you choose the Z07 package. Whoa!


You might think that the limited edition Z06 would offer few options, but that is not the case. The Road Tour displays showed some of the many options available -- we have a copy of the official Chevrolet Z06 Order Guide -- it is 102 pages long.

The displays included a cool touch-screen video showing many of the features of the car . . .

. . . . and another telling all about the engine (including its awesome sound).

We tried to convince the nice people at the Road Tour that Nan should be first in line to get one of these cars -- after all, she already has the license plate (which we took to the dealership)!

It was a nice try, but it didn't work.  I guess we will have to be patient. 😞

Friday, January 6, 2023

Cary finally Drives the C8 Corvette

 Since the mid-engine, eighth generation, Corvette came into production back in February 2020 the demand for the long anticipated car has far exceeded Chevrolet's capacity to produce it.  Wait times of a year were common during the first year of production, and the car still enjoys a popularity that is worthy of its world-class quality and performance.  Delivery delays are still common and most people buy the car without having ever driving one until theirs arrives!

Lucky for me, my buddy, Don Kingery, was able to purchase his C8 Corvette Coupe from an accommodating dealer in Lewistown, Montana -- Snowy Mountain Motors.

Back in March 2022, Don invited me to be his guest at a fighter-pilot luncheon as part of our preparation for the new Top Gun movie release.

The Full Top Gun Maverick Experience

Not only did Don offer to buy me lunch, let let me drive his new C8 to the event!  He drives onto the driveway and throws me the keys!  "Let's go!"  He didn't have to ask twice.


I had read many of the automotive press reviews of the C8.  The exterior styling, interior comfort and layout, forward visibility, handling, power, and performance have all been heralded as equal to any Supercar produced anywhere in the World.

As you can see in these photos, the car is just beautiful. 

Although brand new, Don had already tricked the car out with special wheels.

Don ordered the car exactly as he wanted it, including the 2LZ interior.

I love the fact that you can see the engine through the rear window.

Driving the car was pure joy.  Most of my impressions matched those of the reviews that I had read.  But I had two observations that I didn't hear voiced by others:

  • Some of my friends (who have not driven the C8) have mentioned that they were concerned that the noise level in the cockpit might be high since the engine is sitting right behind you in plain sight.  My experience was the opposite!  When driving the car as though the Cops are behind you, the interior is as quiet as a Cadillac!  The interior, and its sophistication, were equally matched by the smooth and quiet ride.  However, I'm happy to report that when you decide to experience the power behind the seats, the car is instantly transformed to the sound that you expect from a Corvette.  Thus, you have the best of both worlds -- a smooth quiet ride for long trips and the joy of a performance car when the spirit moves you.
  • With the flip of a switch, the rear-view "mirror" is instantly converted to a rear camera mirror that displays images transmitted from the rear-facing camera module. The driver can adjust the "mirror" up or down, and can zoom the image in or out.  It took me a few miles to adjust to this new feature, but once you adapt to it, my opinion is that it is really fantastic.

 I'm totally convinced that a C8 Corvette needs to find its way into our garage.  Maybe Snowy Mountain Motors will sell us one too?

But don't worry, the yellow Z06 isn't going anywhere!  It has made friends with Don's new car.