April 20-22, 2006
National Corvette Museum
Bowling Green, KY
This was a landmark trip!
I would not be returning to Maine in the same Corvette I left home in.
The trusty old '97 C5 that had been with us since the beginning in 1998 had over 200,000 miles on it.
The bridle would be passed to a new C6 in a special ceremony in front of the National Corvette Museum.
(Most of the photos that include me were taken by Russ Caron;
a couple were copied from the NCM website.)
Monday, April 17
The trusty '97 leaves its home of 8 years for the last time...
Tuesday April 18
After an overnight stop with my parents in Philadelphia, it was on to Bowling Green.
The Corvette Plant as seen from I-65 just before Exit 28.
Stats for the final trip in the ol' girl.
Not too shabby, and as much of a pleasure as it had always been!
Parked on the circle at the National Corvette Museum while
I tracked down where the new C6 was and how to retrieve it.
The last time I had seen it was on April 9 when it
left my house in Maine on Dick Borchers' flatbed.
The car was at NCM Exec. Dir. Wendell Strode's beautiful 1869 Homestead B&B
a few miles out of town. Thomas McFall kindly drove me out there.
Dinner that evening at the Santa Fe with Frank & Bettie Noerr
from CA and Aida & George Walden from WA.
Wednesday April 19
The day was spent running errands around town, washing the old car, getting acquainted with the new car, telling its story, showing off the odometer on the old car, etc.
In a quick walk through the Museum I found this in a back staging area: the ACTUAL Indy 500 Pace Car, the one that Lance Armstrong will drive at the 2006 Memorial Day Race!
Evening dinner at 440 Main with the Faveros, Bishops, Kilgos and Quackenbushes.
After dinner, I put in an appearance with the "Lot Lizards" behind the Baymont.
The "fire" on this black C6 caught my eye, and the flash!
Thursday April 20
The old and the new Vettes spent the day together out in front of the Museum...
...while I set up the usual display in the Atrium, right next to the C5/C6 Registry. Selling 50/50 tickets. Promoting the C6 fund drive. Had a slide show running on the laptop all day.
Thursday Evening: The "NCM Thanks Dave Hill" Dinner
Friday April 21
Pretty much a repeat of Thursday - cars outside, me inside at the display.
Friday Evening: Corvette Racing Dinner
As usual, the C6-R racing drivers Johnny O'Connell and Ron Fellows were all the
entertainment anybody could handle! This could be a second career for these guys...
After dinner it was time to go to work. In the Convention Center parking lot, under some pretty bright lights, Paul and I, with help from Jim Miller, installed the smaller sponsor logo and club decals... now that it had finally stopped raining! 11:30 pm finish.
Saturday April 22
This was the big day for the C6 Presentation and the C5 Auction!
Up at the crack of dawn to wash both cars (it had been raining off & on ever since I arrived in Bowling Green on Tuesday afternoon.) Then to finish transferring everything from the old to the new. I almost overlooked the EZPASS toll transponder hidden up behind the mirror.
The final odometer reading of my ownership. What memories... many great miles!
At about 10:00 we brought both cars up to the front of the circle and opened up
the old car so potential bidders could look it over. It still looked incredibly good!
The C6 Presentation
At the designated time of 10:30, Paul Eggermann took the mike and explained to the crowd how he conceived the idea to raise money to buy the new C6 so that I could continue Sandy's Corvettes Conquer Cancer mission. I thanked him and all who helped make it happen, and thanked Sandy for pulling some strings up there to bring out the sun for the occasion!
Retired Corvette Chief Engineer Dave Hill then read this plaque (donated by
Great Lakes Trophy) and then presented me with the keys as Paul looked on.
The C5 Auction
The auction of the old car had a little different twist: the high bidder would split the bid and write 2 checks for equal amounts; one to the
American Cancer Society and one to the National Corvette Museum. Both are tax deductible. Then I would sell them the car for $1.00.
The auctioneer did his thing, and in a few minutes the car was sold, at $11,300!
I couldn't have been any happier when I saw who got the car, and they couldn't either! Roman and Marilyn Sabadaszka first met Sandy and me at the Black Hills Classic in 1998 during our 2nd month on the road. They were volunteers manning the NCM booth right next to us in Spearfish, SD. Marilyn was in tears, and she wasn't alone...
Roman got to write the checks.
The first one for $5650 went to Jessica Jones from the
American Cancer Society's Bowling Green office.
The second, for the same amount, was presented to Wendell Strode,
Executive Director of the National Corvette Museum.
As promised, I sold Roman and Marilyn the car for $1.00.
Happy Birthday Roman! (Yes, it was his birthday!)
I had them sign the $1 bill and the fuel rail cover on the C6.
But wait, it gets even better:
The Sabadaszkas announced that they were immediately placing the car on loan to the National Corvette Museum for 2 years. When they get it back, they will take it back home to Alpharetta, GA where they will leave it exactly as it is... and continue to take it to Corvette shows, raising money for the American Cancer Society!
It just doesn't get any better than this! The outcome exceeded my wildest fantasy: that the winner would simply donate the car to the Museum!
Here is the car as I last saw it: in a back storage building (with a '53) as it awaits its display time in the Museum. (I signed the fuel rail cover with a "Thank You" to the new owners!)
NOTE: In June the car was on the turntable in the front window
by the entrance to the Museum! Tom Rohrer sent me this photo:
Saturday Evening Banquet & Auction
The new Corvette Chief Engineer, Tom Wallace, gave us some thoughts on the
best job in the world, if not one with a lot of chance for advancement. No Corvette
Chief Engineer has ever been promoted! (His 3 predecessors all retired from the position.)
As usual, I finished selling the 50/50 tickets, with half the total receipts going
to the lucky ticket holder and half to the American Cancer Society.
Tom Wallace drew the winning ticket for the $1276 winner's half.
The winner, NCM Lifetime Member Tom Vickers, declined the prize, and told me to
keep it to further the cause! This was the first time at this event that the winner donated
his share back to us, and was the crowning touch for an incredible day! Thank you Tom!
Sunday April 23
After packing up my display and getting it all (yes, all) into the C6's somewhat smaller bay for the first time, I moved it down for a photo behind Sandy's memorial brick on the front walk under the big sign at the NCM entrance. Here you can see the panel on the door which lists the names of the individuals and organizations who helped make this car possible. The silver group at the bottom of the door contributed $100 or more, and the gold group are donors of $500 and up. There are a lot of familiar names on the door: 23 of them also contributed to that brick, back in 2000!
After final goodbyes to the wonderful folks in the Museum, I was ready to leave for home. Harold Holeman of C5 Creations (now Novigo Designs) came by and I teased him that I still had space on the car for his logo. He said he would like to do that in the near future, and then offered to put his "stretch bra" front bumper mask and mirror covers on the car, right then and there. Talk about an offer I couldn't refuse! It only took him about 20 minutes to install the mask and the necessary attaching hardware!
Time to hit the road back to Maine.
Monday April 24
After a quick overnight stop at the Motel 6 (WORST stay ever!) in Carlisle,
the home stretch was almost entirely in moderate to heavy rain.
Final stats. It's strange to see the odometer reading only 4 digits instead of 6...
To wrap up this trip and bring it back to the
PRIMARY MISSION, we were able to raise
for the American Cancer Society's Bowling Green office.
($5650 from the C5 sale + $2552 50/50 + $200 in check donations)
The National Corvette Museum also got $5650.00 from the C5 sale.