Nine years is a long time for any product or organization to remain in existence in this day and age. However, the National Corvette Museum has weathered the storm to reach another new milestone-its ninth birthday! Ya' know, it seems as though the museum and the Corvette have lived somewhat parallel lives (albeit separated by 40+ years).
Like the car for which it stands in honor, the museum has seen its share of ups and downs. In the first nine years of the Corvette's existence, the car was introduced to an adoring public and went into full production. After only two years, the car became nearly extinct when sales didn't meet The General's expectations. The bean counters at GM were questioning the wisdom behind building a "sports car" when the average buyer wanted fins...big fins! After some serious modification and much improvement, the Corvette, which had been shunned on the country-club promenade, was welcomed on the racetrack. There it achieved glory. It took people with vision, dedication, and passion to bring the car into the limelight. The sentiments of these few examples are shared with the museum. When the National Corvette Museum opened its doors in 1994, it was an instant success. Thousands of people from the world over flocked to the grand opening. But after that first wild Labor Day weekend, the difficulties of the day-to-day operations of the Museum became apparent. The Museum was reeling in debt. Gate receipts were weak and revenue-generating events at the museum were few and far between. Meeting the public's expectations became increasingly difficult. People (especially local folks) began to question the wisdom behind building such a facility. It took new people to treat the museum like a business and not like a big hobby. It took people with vision, dedication, and passion to bring the museum full-circle and make it the ever-growing monument it has become.
During the weekend of August 29, 2003, the National Corvette Museum celebrated its ninth anniversary. Even though 2003 has been a banner year for the Corvette with the 50th anniversary celebration, this party was all about the museum. The party kicked off on Friday evening at the Sloan Convention Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with the induction of two more automotive pioneers into the National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame. Mr. Noland Adams and Mr. Robert S. Morrison, both men of vision and passion, were honored for their dedication to Corvette and those who love the car.
Mr. Noland Adams (literally) wrote the book on Corvette restoration. His books The Complete Corvette Restoration and Technical Guide, Vol. 1 (1953-1962) and Vol. 2 (1963-1967) have obtained biblical status to those involved in absolutely perfect restorations. His series of books entitled Corvette American Legend chronicles the first seven years of the Corvette's production in intimate detail. (Much of the technical material and photographs assembled in the books are gleaned from actual Chevrolet archives.) Mr. Adams served as the technical advisor on the restoration of the EX-122, which is the actual '53 Motorama car unveiled to the public at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in January 1953. Mr. Adams is one of the NCRS's earliest members and has traveled extensively throughout his career. During the induction ceremony, he related the story of his recent trip to England with his daughter. He told of their journey across the English Channel to "France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Paris." While there, he said, he didn't forget his wife back in the States. He bought her a new can opener. Mr. Adams was still able to walk unassisted onto the stage to receive his recognition.