This was the most memorable Hall of Fame event that I have attended!
In addition to the 3 new inductees, no fewer than 17 former inductees
were also present. What a goldmine of Corvette history!
Thursday, September 3
Departing Decatur AL, 5:04 am. Necessary to avoid Nashville traffic!
Success: arrival @ NCM 7:55 am!
Skydome Ribbon Cutting
After John Cafaro and David Bolognino told the story of the restoration of the sinkhole 1 Millionth Corvette, the car was unveiled. Then the really cool part: When the car was originally built, wherever possible, all the parts were signed by the person who installed it. During the restoration great care was taken to preserve those signatures or photographically recreate them on a new piece if the original couldn't be saved. One part couldn't be saved and the signature couldn't be recreated - the vent panel behind the right front wheel. They were able to track down the worker who had signed it, and Angela was there in the Skydome to re-sign the replacement panel! David then installed it on the car to complete the restoration!
Here is that 1 Millionth Corvette as it was about to be lifted out of the sinkhole.
And back on 4 wheels again.
The new Corvette Plant Manager, Kai Spande, introduced himself in the theater. A serious Car Guy, he personally did a body off restoration on his 69 Vette, and currently drives a 37 Chevy street rod that he built!
Next, Harlan Charles introduced the 2017 Corvette.
Lifetime Members' Dinner
The next table
At my table:
Jim Perkins spoke.
Friday, September 4
Past & present HOF inductee open discussion. Fascinating - every one of their stories included links
to one or more of the others with them on the stage!
L-R: Gordon Killebrew, Rick Hendrick, Russ McLean, Fred Gallasch, Jim Perkins, John Cafaro,
Ron Fellows, Gary Claudio, Gib Hufstader, Werner Meier, Alan and Don Barker, Gary Mortimer,
Ray Battaglini, Jerry Palmer, Dave Hill, Joe Spielman, Wil Cooksey.
Not on the schedule: the reveal of the just-completed restoration of Rick Hendrick's very first Corvette! He bought the black 63 convertible for $2000. His first date with his wife was in this car, on which it broke down. A few years later he sold it to finance the start of his first dealership. Decades later, he found it and bought it back. The fully restored rolling chassis now provides the base for the glass conference table in his conference room! The body, or most of it, was used to create this spectacular resto-mod.
After a short delay waiting for the arrival of Rick's surprise guest, country music star Brad Paisley. Brad had just walked his new Z06 through the production line at the plant, and the engine, that he had built earlier in the week, started on the first turn!
Rick and Brad (in black T) pull the cover off.
Hall of Fame Banquet
Saturday, September 5
My C6 on the counter top in the Corvette Cafe
HOF Inductee seminars
Rick Hendrick, introduced by Jim Perkins.
Herb Fishel, introduced by Jerry Palmer.
Russ McLean, introduced by Joe Spielman.
These seminars were more fascinating Corvette history, a great conclusion to a truly memorable event!
Time to head home. (Yes, it was hot!)
Final stats, back in Sweet Home Alabama.