Any idea I had about a white car disappeared in a flash. The only question we still had was which wheel to order. We snapped picture after picture of the car and especially the new interior....you have to love digital cameras. I had bought my laptop along so that at the end of each day we could download all the day's pictures and start fresh the following morning. Between the two of us we took over 200 pictures that weekend. Imagine how many we are going to take when we take delivery of the cars. Might even throw in a little video!
Since the early 1980's the last weekend in August had meant our annual journey to Corvettes at Carlisle. I don't think I missed one year since it began. It was like a 'right of passage' signaling the end of summer. The fairgrounds in Carlisle were filled with Corvettes and vendors selling anything that was related to the world of Corvettes. Each year we would walk the many acres in search of that one special part that we needed or looking for that something special to bring home. Seeing all the cars and parts also gave us the yearly incentive to work on our cars. We all had projects that we had been planning for several years, but never seemed to have enough time to get to. Carlisle allowed us to dream of finally getting to our car projects. This dream usually lasted for a couple of weeks after our journey. It's funny how the following year most of our Corvette projects were the same ones from the prior years and still hadn't been worked on. But, it was the excitement and fun of dreaming about doing them that counted. We had our usual schedule that had been established over the many years of making the trip. We would all meet and leave at 6AM on that Friday morning and drive out to the Midway Diner. Breakfast was a tradition, usually with pancakes. Then it was onto Carlisle. Once we arrived, we would stop at the Hess Gas Station and fill the car up for the ride home. Parking the car in the now closed John Deer building and walking into the world of Corvette was part of the ritual. After a day of Vette talk, parts buying, seeing some old friends that we met at Carlisle over the years and fun company, it was back to the car with the goodies we obtained. And of course, we grabbed as many new catalogs from the vendors that were there. We would then drive back to Allentown to the local Cracker Barrel Restaurant. This same weekend of each year, a hot rod show would be going on in Allentown and we would get to see some of the great cars driving around or in the restaurant parking lot. After a refreshing meal, it was back to the journey home. It was a long day, but one of the best days of each year and we all looked forward it.
A few years ago during one of our trips to Carlisle, we meet a fellow representing GM from Detroit. He was working in Bob Lutz's group (Lutz was a GM president in charge of technical development including the Bowling Green assembly plant where the Corvettes were manufactured) and we chatted for quite a while. We bonded immediately. During our conversation he realized that we were lifelong Corvette guys and took a liking to us. He gave us his business card and told us to contact him if we ever needed anything. Little did he realize we would take him up on his offer.
Falling Into Place
After meeting with the GM Zone representative, Mike and I thought we could do business with Schumacher. They were willing to give us a great price on the cars if we would allow them to use us in publicity for their 75th anniversary. We readily agree to any publicity they wanted. The beginning of May, Mike dropped off his 50th anniversary car to Schumacher as a down payment on his 2008 Corvette. At the same time I gave them a deposit on mine and things were beginning to fall into place.
Once Schumacher was able to provide Mike and me with order numbers, I called the GM fellow that had given us his card at Carlisle. He was extremely helpful when he heard my story--about two long time friends buying matching cars from a local small town dealership. The end of May I received an email from Detroit saying that the dealer could begin entering orders for the 2008 cars and if I could provide him with the order numbers he would reprioritize our orders to the top of the list. This would allow us to get the first couple of convertibles manufactured. Things were looking good for us and the excitement was at an all time high when the bubble burst.