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Your Ride in the Spotlight - Real People, Real Cars

A showcase of Corvette Fever readers and their rides.

Feb 12, 2004

The readers of Corvette Fever and their Vettes in the spotlight.

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Crown Jewel

The Virginia Corvette Club in Lynchburg sent us this photo of Dennis and Janice Gripp's Jewel Blue '61. Dennis has owned the car for 32 years, and it still has both tops and the original three-speed transmission.

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By The Numbers

This numbers-matching '67 Corvette convertible was in excellent shape when William Opincar purchased it, especially the interior; but it took almost three years to make the entire car correct for NCRS judging. The Marina Blue '67 boasts a 390hp, 427ci engine with a four-speed and side exhaust.

Does your Corvette have the right stuff for Spotlight? Well, proveit. Send your photos and story to Corvette Fever, Your Ride in the Spotlight,9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. Remember when taking photos tofill the frame and try to avoid clutter in the background. And if you'reusing a digital camera, use the maximum resolution.

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Stocked Up For Winter

The changing autumn leaves of Torrington, Connecticut, make the perfect backdrop for Jerry and Debbie Smith's bone-stock '92 Corvette. Of course, hibernation can't be far behind. The Smiths' '92 has red leather interior.

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Beach Bum

When Mike Riley of Oldsmar, Florida, goes to the beach, he brings his own Stingray. It's a Riverside Gold '69 equipped with an L46/M21/3.70 Posi-traction drivetrain. Mike also has the optional hardtop and an AM/FM stereo.

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Sun & Surf

Fred and Carol Gronemeier's '61 Corvette carries a 350ci fuel-injected engine with a four-speed and Posi-traction rear axle. Other options include white coving, auxiliary hardtop, and heater. Fred and Carol drive it on nice days around East Alton, Illinois, and even spent a week driving it up and down Daytona Beach in Florida, where this photo was taken.

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I Do

Brian Krause, of Arlington Heights, Illinois, said goodbye to his '73 coupe when he got married. But five years ago, he said hello to this '58 Corvette. The '58 has silver coves and a red interior. "It took me seven or eight years to find a white '58 that I could afford and that ran well," Brian says. "It's lots of fun cruising the streets."

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Generation Gap

I have been a subscriber to Corvette Fever for about 20 years and it's the best mag on Corvettes. I read it from front to back as soon as it comes; it's like therapy for the soul. About me: I am a 62-year-old who never grew up, at least when it comes to cars. My first encounter with a Corvette was in 1953 when my parents pulled into a service station.

Next to the lube bay was a white car. I jumped out of our car to ask the attendant what it was. Yes, it was a '53 in all its splendor. From then on, the fever set in. But it wasn't until around 1981 that I finally got my first baby--a '74 yellow roadster. It earned 24 First Place wins over two years. Some 18 years later, I bought this fine '94 LT1 with the 4L60E trans, and I love it. No mods on the engine were performed other than a K&N system and an airfoil in the intake.

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About 30 minutes after I picked up the car, the salesman called to tell me his boss had a buyer for the car on eBay. I just smiled and headed home with a great car.

Does your Corvette have the right stuff for Spotlight? Well, proveit. Send your photos and story to Corvette Fever, Your Ride in the Spotlight,9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. Remember when taking photos tofill the frame and try to avoid clutter in the background. And if you'reusing a digital camera, use the maximum resolution.

Coaster Corvette

Anthony Larosa, a member of the C.A.A.R.S. of Scottsdale, Arizona, owns this Mille Miglia Red '70 Corvette. His interest in Corvettes began when he was only 17. Just after he got his driver's license, he convinced his father to look at a '72 Corvette Stingray. The owner of the car wanted to show him how well it handled; so, with Anthony's father looking on, the man took Anthony and the car for a little testdrive. He drove under a highway overpass, locked the brakes and, downshifting from Third into Second, hung a U-turn. Just as the back started to slide he let out the clutch, punched out Second, and came to a stop right in front of Anthony's father. According to Anthony, "This beat the rush I felt sitting in the first car on the Cyclone, a roller coaster in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York." His father didn't share his excitement, to say the least. The two left immediately and Anthony's Corvette dreams were put on hold for some 20 years.

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When he was 37, Anthony finally found this beautiful convertible. He spent the next three years removing all of the aftermarket parts and painstakingly searching for the original ones in order to return the car to stock. Ken Carollo of the Vette Shoppe in Tempe did what Anthony couldn't. Ken did all of the work on the engine, transmission, and rearend. After tweaking the motor a bit himself, Anthony ended up with 350 horses net at the rear wheels. The Corvette has a Muncie four-speed and 3.36:1 gears. It also has A/C, power brakes and steering, leather seats, custom interior trim, and a passenger-side mirror.

Anthony made his first Route 66 run in May 1999, from Seligman to Golden Shores, and was at the first ever "Vette Fest West." The Corvette was selected as one of Corvette Fever's top five picks on Saturday, May 14, 1999.

Anthony said he was hoping for his 15 minutes of fame here in CF, and now he has it.

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Official Business

Harry Ilaria uses this Light Pewter '99 six-speed convertible as his personal transportation and as the company car for his software company in Montville, New Jersey. So much for not mixing business with pleasure.

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Gaby Bouchard of LaSalle, Quebec, is the proud owner of this '64 Saddle Tan Corvette Sting Ray. Gaby's engine is not numbers-matching, but he does squeeze 365 hp out of it. The car finished First in the NCCC judging event at Carlisle three years in a row. "But the kick," Gaby says, "is watching people's expressions when they see the car. A Corvette still makes their heads turn."

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High Altitude

Chuck Johnson, of Colorado Springs, is the original owner of this red-on-red '80 Corvette. It has 40,000 original miles and comes with all of the options except the L82. Chuck has the glass tops as well.

Does your Corvette have the right stuff for Spotlight? Well, proveit. Send your photos and story to Corvette Fever, Your Ride in the Spotlight,9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. Remember when taking photos tofill the frame and try to avoid clutter in the background. And if you'reusing a digital camera, use the maximum resolution.

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I Do, Two

Mike and Ginny Feraco bought this 7,500-mile Torch Red '96 LT4 convertible in 1998 as a wedding present to each other. Mike and Ginny are members of the Corvettes United Club of Worcester, Massachusetts.

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Crossing Over

Rick and Gail Gorham spent over 20 years in the Ford camp before purchasing this '77 T-top in 1999. A trip to the National Corvette Museum and a subscription to CF helped them make the transition. This Orange L48-equipped Corvette includes power steering, brakes, and windows, cruise control, buckskin leather, air conditioning, and an automatic transmission.

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A Blue Christmas

This navy blue metallic '98 Corvette resides in Holly, Michigan, with Jack and Sandy Sutliff. "It is one of only seven built in 1998," Jack says. "I got it as a product evaluation car from GM. I am an employee at the Flint Powertrain V6 plant. I had this car delivered to our home on December 23, 1998 as a Christmas present for my wife."

Dreams Do Come True!

by Marsha Goeman Wesley Chapel, FL

For many years, I had a dream--a goal, you might say--of owning a Corvette! For quite some time, the background on my computer at work was a Millennium Yellow coupe, a reminder of what it was all about.

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In April 2001, I was finally fortunate enough to find and purchase my dream car: a gorgeous '01 Millennium Yellow coupe. I knew in my heart that after I got behind the wheel of one of these beauties, it would be all over with! After negotiating the deal and signing the paperwork, it was finally time to get into the driver seat and take my new car for a ride. The first time I ever drove a C5 was the day I bought mine. Needless to say, the experience was even better than I had imagined. Now, nearly two years later, the thrill of owning and driving this car is as strong as it was on the day I drove it for the first time.

Corvette is truly America's sports car! It is wonderful to share the joy of driving a Corvette with friends and seeing the expression on their faces when they take the wheel. Although this is my first Corvette, it certainly will not be the last!

Does your Corvette have the right stuff for Spotlight? Well, proveit. Send your photos and story to Corvette Fever, Your Ride in the Spotlight,9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. Remember when taking photos tofill the frame and try to avoid clutter in the background. And if you'reusing a digital camera, use the maximum resolution.

A Burning Desire

by Valecia "Chee-Chee" Parker Landover, Maryland

I went to work just like any other day on September 11, 2001; that was the day I thought Washington, D.C. was having an earthquake. I worked in the newly renovated section of the Pentagon on the second floor. I truly praise God for my two guardian angels: Mr. Gary Jackson, for coming back in the burning, smoked-filled section searching for individuals, and finding and saving me; and LTC Philip Beaver, who assisted in getting me out of the building.

There were so many people that touched my life that day, and I wish I could thank them all. When the airplane hit the Pentagon, there was a great loss--so many friends, church members, and coworkers. There were quite a few injured, including me. I truly miss the coworkers and friends that were close to me. I miss me, too. I have new challenges that come each and every day, and I no longer take anything for granted. I never realized how much you miss your independence until it is taken away. At present I am undergoing visual rehabilitation and vestibular physical therapy on a weekly basis, relearning to do what used to come naturally.

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My plan was to be a Corvette owner on my 50th birthday, which was October 20, 2002. On September 11, I had a little over a year to go. But God has blessed me: On June 29, 2002, I became the proud owner of a six-speed, '02 Electron Blue Metallic coupe. I am in the slow lane, but that's OK--I get to drive! I did take it one step further; I got special vanity tags that say "BA B ME," and that's what I am doing. Taking care of her is fun. I have to say that having it, America's number-one sports car, is one of the best therapies I could have, even if I have to sit down at times to clean her. I do plan on personalizing her, so I have been looking through all of the catalogs. I became a member of G-Burg Corvette Club of Gaithersburg, Maryland, in November 2002. God willing, I plan to participate in several of the events.

I believe that you should give life your best, for you will never regret it. I am alive today and only God knows what is destined for me. I want to thank you for all your prayers that you sent this way, not knowing who the recipients were. God, please bless America!

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Black Tie Affair

Rick and Charlotte McPherson owned a twin of this Tuxedo Black '65 Corvette in the early '70s, and always regretted selling it. When they found this one in Beaumont, Texas, they had a complete frame-off restoration done by Mike Flash's Corvette Specialists. It has a 327ci engine and a four-speed trans, a teak wheel, and air conditioning.

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Corvette 101

Robert Murphy's white '62 was produced early in the model year, the 101st Corvette to roll off the line in August 1961. Hugging the National Corvette Restorers Society judging manual, Robert completed the full restoration in 1998.

Does your Corvette have the right stuff for Spotlight? Well, proveit. Send your photos and story to Corvette Fever, Your Ride in the Spotlight,9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. Remember when taking photos tofill the frame and try to avoid clutter in the background. And if you'reusing a digital camera, use the maximum resolution.

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Big Wheel Keep On Turnin'

This '90 convertible was black with a white top and light gray interior when Phil and Ilene Hubinger bought it in 1999. "We won a few trophies and had a lot of fun," Phil says. "But when you see 300 or 400 Corvettes together, they all start to look alike. The wheels started to turn, and this is what I came up with. I haven't done much with the engine, but the wheels are turning again."

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Ron and Terri Brinton of Cary, North Carolina, took their Torch Red C5 to the North Carolina Zoological Park and turned a few heads. Ron uses the car as a daily driver. It is the Brintons' first Corvette, but Ron says Terri has her eyes on a shark.

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A Grand Idea

Bill Mehrkens, of Rockville Centre, New York, started with an '02 Electron Blue coupe, then did a Grand Sport conversion. He changed the interior from black to red, added Grand Sport badging, and had Corvette Repair in Valley Stream, New York, apply the Arctic White paint and red stripes. Bill detailed the engine compartment and added a Borla Stinger exhaust, a VaraRam, and a Jet chip.

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William House's friend, Mike Hayden, owned this '67 Corvette while in the Air Force. It was stolen in 1970, but while Mike was in Vietnam, the body and most of the interior was recovered (the door panels still have police markings on them). While waiting for Mike to return, the car sat in Joe Cruces' custom shop in Vacaville, California. Joe molded a '66 Buick Riviera grille into the front to give it a Mako Shark look. He also added '67 Mustang taillights and a 350ci engine to replace the original 427, which was never recovered. William bought the car from Mike in 1988 and replaced the small-block with an LS6 crate engine.

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Strangers In The Night

Nick Kush always figured his dream of owning a Corvette would remainjust that until he spotted this dark green metallic '75 with a "ForSale" sign while cruising through his hometown. It is custom with a350ci engine and four-speed transmission, a single-plane high-riseintake, a small aftermarket camshaft, headers, and a Holley 750-cfmcarburetor.

Bear's Necessities

Eric Lein has been in love with Corvettes all of his life. He wasn't sure when he was bitten by the proverbial Corvette bug until April 27, 2003. He was outside, washing his brand new '03 coupe. The smooth, refined lines of his two-day-old Electron Blue Metallic Corvette sent him back to when he was 6 or 7 years old. He and his family were living just outside The Bronx in New York City. Times were tough for his family back then, and they walked to just about every destination. One day, he was walking down the street with his father and brother when he noticed a sweet C2 cruising past them. But this thing didn't just cruise past them--it was a dark beast that rumbled down the street. Eric was smitten. It was unlike anything he'd ever seen, and he vowed to one day own what he thought was the "coolest car ever," the Corvette.

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Fast forward to 2003. Parked in his Long Island, New York, driveway is his '03 coupe. It's a daily driver, but he puts it away when winter comes. Eric believes in driving his Corvette as much as possible--isn't that what they're made for?

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The car features a 1SB package, a glass roof, high polished wheels, body side molding, a performance axle, and an automatic transmission. It also has tinted windows, a Z06 grille screen, stainless steel lettering, and a waterfall emblem on the torque tube between the seats. Those who know Eric well have nicknamed him "Mountain Bear," so "MTNBEAR" is on the vanity plate at the front of the car. He's been called Mountain Bear since he lived near the Catskills in upstate New York, and he has the personality of a bear--he won't give you any trouble unless you give him a reason. Originally, this vanity plate was on his '91 Corvette. He's tempted at times to make more changes to the '03, but it's a lease and goes back in a few months. Eric thinks about buying it outright since he's grown quite attached to it. What he really loves is the performance and handling of his C5. "It makes me feel like I'm on top of the world," says Eric.

He's so passionate about the Corvette that his life centers around it. He is the Internet Corvette specialist at RAMP Chevrolet Inc. He dreamed of having this position ever since he saw our Dec. '99 issue that had the RAMPAGE Performance Corvettes on the cover. The RAMP Chevrolet Corvette showroom opened in October 2003.

Eric now dreams of owning a Corvette from each generation, and hopes to realize this dream in the span of five years.

Does your Corvette have the right stuff for Spotlight? Well, proveit. Send your photos and story to Corvette Fever, Your Ride in the Spotlight,9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. Remember when taking photos tofill the frame and try to avoid clutter in the background. And if you'reusing a digital camera, use the maximum resolution.

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A Dream Come True

For Walter Kompass, the idea of owning a mid-year Corvette was not a passing fancy. "It is my dream come true," he tells us. "I waited over 30 years, and until my four sons were out of school, to purchase a mid-year. I've owned the coupe for [a few] years now, and still get a rush when I open the garage door. I'm thinking that will never change."

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This Corvette is a '65 Nassau Blue coupe with blue and white interior. It has been restored with the original powertrain 327/350 (L79), M20 four-speed, 3.55 Posi rear, factory A/C, side exhaust, repro gold-wall tires, AM/FM radio, and the Comfort and Convenience Group package.

Walter says he is the seventh owner of the car, and he has the names and addresses of all the previous owners. He adds the coupe started out in Long Beach, California, made two stops in Pennsylvania, then traveled to Scotia, New York; Bohemia, Long Island; and Hampton, New Jersey, before landing in Ronkonkoma, Long Island, where Walter lives. Many people have dreamed of taking their Corvettes cross-country. But this mid-year made its way from coast to coast slowly, passed along like a relay baton, until it reached the hands of the man who was waiting for it.

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Does Ken Get To Drive?

Ray and Bert Doerr purchased their 40th Anniversary Corvette just two months before their 40th wedding anniversary. Ray then did a "body-off" restoration on a Barbie electric Corvette car to match the fullsize vehicle, and affixed working headlights. He built a trailer for it too and tows it through parades and car shows. Ray writes more about the toy car in his letter than the real thing. Maybe he's more proud of it.

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Like Father, Like Son

Rodney Campbell of Burton, Michigan, sent us photos of his father's dream swap. It's a '56 with a late-model front end, a four-link, 9-inch Ford rearend, a four-speed, and the ZZ502 engine. The restoration took about two years, and now he has a '57 of his own for father-son cruise-ins.

Does your Corvette have the right stuff for Spotlight? Well, proveit. Send your photos and story to Corvette Fever, Your Ride in the Spotlight,9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. Remember when taking photos tofill the frame and try to avoid clutter in the background. And if you'reusing a digital camera, use the maximum resolution.

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Presidential Sweet

Paul Koons' '56 Corvette is a clone of the SR-2 version made for GM President Harlow Curtis. It features a '58-style louvered hood, an extended front end, Dayton knockoff wheels, a side scoop, a center trunk fin, large turn-signal lights, '58 taillights, backup lights, power windows, hardtop and soft top, and a 283ci fuel-injected engine. The car took seven years to create.

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Love Thy Neighbor

Kenneth Squires wanted a Corvette ever since he was 14 years old when his neighbor brought home a brand new '57. In 1996, Kenneth purchased his dream car: a '70 Corvette roadster. The red '70 has a black interior, chrome Rally wheels, soft and hard tops, and an LS5, 454ci engine. It also has the original air conditioning, power brakes and windows, and an AM/FM stereo.

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Sizing Up The Competition

John Kohronas' '94 Competition Yellow convertible is fully equipped with all the options and some of his own modifications. John has added SLP headers, Borla mufflers, a 52mm throttle body and 3.54:1 rear gears, a Hypertech power programmer, an adjustable fuel regulator, and a Granatelli mass airflow sensor. He pounds out the tunes with a Competition sound system from L.I. Sounds of New York.

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Family Tradition

Kregg Reynolds, of Knoxville, Maryland, acquired his taste for Corvettes from his father, who owned a '58. Kregg started with a '74 and has owned 10 Corvettes in all, including this black '99 hardtop.

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Sam Falzarano purchased this numbers-matching '66 Corvette coupe in September 1998 and did an immediate frame-off restoration. A full-optioned big-block rests under the hood, Sam replacing the original intake with an aluminum Edelbrock high-rise.

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Noteworthy Mods

Attendees of the March '03 Chevy Vettefest at Chicago's McCormick Place will have no problem remembering Donald Delmar's '70 Corvette. Certainly the maroon hues attracted attention, but perhaps the most significant modification is that the chrome-bumper shark wears 17-inch Cragar SS wheels.

"At the show, people stopped in awe, asking how I could fit the 17-inch wheels on my Corvette," says Donald. The credit, according to Donald, goes to Vette Brakes & Products, who provided Donald offset trailing arms, rear dual-mount leaf springs, and front mono-springs. "I explained to those in attendance that VBP components helped make it possible to fit the tires and wheels in the wheelwells and completely control ride height at all four corners," says Donald. In fact, he is such a satisfied customer that he assisted VBP at the Chevy Vettefest by handing out its catalogs at the spring '03 event.

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The Morton Grove, Illinois, Corvette has far more modifications, including a 498 rear-wheel-horsepower 468ci big-block fitted with Dart Pro 1 rectangular port heads and an NOS Nitrous Fogger Pro Shot system. A full MSD ignition system lights off the fuel supplied by an 830-cfm Holley Pro Series HP carburetor sitting atop an Edelbrock RPM Air Gap intake manifold. Ceramic-coated Hooker headers expel spent gases through Flowmaster mufflers. The engine combination is the result of the efforts of Rich Groh of Algonquin, Illinois.

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Accompanying the VBP suspension modifications is a Speed Direct Steeroids rack-and-pinion steering assembly. The stars of this Corvette, however, remain the Cragar SS Series 61 wheels. Up front, the 17x8 wheels are fitted with BFGoodrich g-Force 245/45ZR17s, while in the rear 17x9 wheels wear g-Force 275/40ZR17 tires.

Of course, this Corvette has one killer sound system. Simply fitting 14 Infinity and Kicker speakers is one thing for a Corvette, but to do it with the Kenwood in-dash head unit, a 10-disc CD controller, with a pair of 200-watt amps makes for a huge wall of sound.

"Bow Tie Boulevard" judges at Chevy Vettefest were also impressed with the car in whole as it secured 993 of 1,000 points. We're impressed too!

The 468ci big-block made 498 rear wheel horsepower and 540 lb-ft of torque.

The front suspension includes a VBP front composite mono-spring, Speed Direct's Steeroids rack-and-pinion, and Bilstein heavy-duty shocks.

Does your Corvette have the right stuff for Spotlight? Well, proveit. Send your photos and story to Corvette Fever, Your Ride in the Spotlight,9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. Remember when taking photos tofill the frame and try to avoid clutter in the background. And if you'reusing a digital camera, use the maximum resolution.

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"I have been a Corvette enthusiast from the time I came home in 1968," says Dennis Mansour of Clark, New Jersey. "I recall when I was in Vietnam, I promised myself I would purchase a Corvette if I made it home alive."

Dennis has done more than keep a promise he made to himself: He's become a Corvette lifer. He has owned six Corvettes and is the proud caretaker of the '81 coupe pictured here.

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"I've enjoyed every one I've owned," he says. But at some point, "due to circumstances," each toy had to go.

"My first Corvette was a '68 Mulsanne Blue coupe. I wanted to sleep in the car that first night [I brought it home]. My parents thought I was crazy. My Corvettes have always been weekend cars and, of course, have been driven to shows. I've won many trophies with some of the Corvettes I've owned, including the '68, '70, '72, '75, '86, and now the '81."

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Dennis has always kept his cars in great condition, and this red-on-red coupe is no different. It's an automatic with power steering, windows, and door locks, a tilt/tele steering wheel, AM/FM stereo with eight-track, CB, and glass tops. There are around 40,000 miles on the odometer.

Dennis adds, "My wonderful wife, Patricia, has always supported my buying the Corvette of my choice. She says the '81 is a fabulous car and she enjoys taking rides in it on weekends. The ride is so comfortable and there's lots of room inside."

Now, Dennis finds himself in the scariest situation he's seen since his soldiering days.

"I have three sons of driving age and they all want the car," he says. "It goes to show they, too, have excellent taste in cars."



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