Everyone was disappointed last year when hurricane warnings shut down Eckler's Reunion in October, but almost before we knew it, October came around again. This year, Mother Nature behaved herself. She graced the central East Coast of Florida with glorious, gentle sunshine (not the typical scorching variety we're used to here), low humidity, and a good, stiff breeze--perfect weather for a Corvette show.
Throngs of Corvette enthusiasts responded, 5,000 of them. Most drove, some from good distances, to partake in the festivities and to take advantage of discounts in Eckler's showroom and at the Scratch and Dent Sale.
In addition to an impressive number of Corvettes for sale, there were 110 Corvettes presented in the Southeast's biggest judged show. Sixty-seven of them took awards in Street-Driven, Original, Modified, and Full-Custom classes in seven-year groupings. Special congratulations to Joseph Catalano, George Rogers, Glen Hutchinson, Mark Potter, Dale Williams, David Ross, Bill and Kathe Parrish, and Bob Fiorentini (Street); Dennis Taylor, Allan Debowsky, Don Interlandi, Dennis and Gloria Dumas, Marion and Walter Schade, Jim Perry, Tony and Joanne Diaz, and Gene Day (Original); Gerald Copeland, Norman Goodman, Larry Hinkle, Randy Richards, Dana and Art Rogers, and Doug Plowden (Modified); Art and Dana Rogers (again for their '77), and Roger Cascanie (Custom). The distance award went to Joe and Annette Samaniego, who drove their '78 from Summerville, South Carolina, and the cash award for club participation went to the Renegade Corvette Club from Ft. Lauderdale. Congratulations to them, and to all the other award recipients.
The C5 Registry had its own Corral, with plenty of member support, as did the 40th Anniversary, Grand Sport/LT5, and '63-'67 Registries. It was hard to find people near their cars because everyone wanted to check out the Manufacturers' Midway, the swap meet, and the good deals inside Eckler's showroom. GM Restoration Parts brought one of the Mako sharks, and Breathless Performance was there with its dyno. A real cross section of Corvettes attended this event--beautifully restored straight-axles, mid-years, and sharks; modifieds, some mild, some wild; and lots of drivers of every vintage.
David Judski of Roger's Corvette Center in Maitland, Florida, gave tips for buying a previously owned Corvette. Artie Dorsett of Van Steel answered questions on brake and suspension systems on '63-'82 Corvettes. Eckler's own Al Sowash ran a Buff & Shine seminar, and Jerry Watts did a Q&A session on C4s. Like Gordon Killebrew, his half-brother, there aren't many C4 questions he can't answer. Must run in the family.
Saturday culminated with a BBQ at the nearby Holiday Inn. All in all, it was a great time, with great people, great cars, and great weather. What more could you ask? Be sure to mark your calendar for Eckler's 22nd Reunion, October 20, 2001.