One Saturday evening last fall, my husband Tom and I were talking with our close friends, John and Mary Lou Hook, over dinner. As inevitably happens, the conversation turned to the latest project in our garage. We told them about the 68 Corvette convertible wed found, partially restored but in pieces, and far from being done. We talked for a while about the project, the conversation moved on, and we thought nothing more of it.
The next day, John and Mary Lou stopped by; they just happened to be in the area. Our garage door was up, so they could see the car. They looked it over, asked a few questions, and went on their way. Thats how it all started.
Over the next several months, my husband and I worked a lot of long nights and weekends getting this 68 roadster back into shape. Much of the restoration work that had already been done was not to our satisfaction and had to be redone. We kept things pretty much stock, with a few minor exceptions. We made some improvements, like upgrading the suspension for better handling, adding GT rotors for better braking, and converting to R134a air conditioning. It was a horrendous amount of work, but was equally rewarding. You might remember seeing some of the projects on this car featured in Corvette Fever tech articles over the last several issues. From the performance upgrades to the engine and suspension, to the new coat of Rally Red paint, it was looking terrific. I was beginning to get attached to the car and couldnt wait to get behind the wheel.
John would often stop by after work to see how the project was going. We knew that Mary Lou had owned a Corvette years ago and wanted another so badly she could hardly stand it. What we didnt know until then was that John had promised that, before she turned 35, Mary Lou would have another Corvette to replace the Silver 79 she had owned. In a late-night bench-racing session, John told my husband that he wanted to buy our 68 for Mary Lou when it was finished. Tom wasnt sure how Id feel about giving up yet another project car before I ever got my hands on it. It seems that every time we finish a projectsometimes beforesomebody wants to buy it. I knew how much Mary Lou wanted the car, and there would be other project cars in our future. So, we struck a deal and got busy trying to finish the car by the Hooks 10th wedding anniversary.
Just two weeks before that date, and almost a full year before the target date of her 35th birthday, Mary Lou took home her beautiful red dream-come-true. Fortunately, I did get to drive it a few times first, and its nice to know Ill at least see it regularly. Knowing how happy she is makes it worthwhile. She says, If I were to die tomorrow, Id die happy because now I have everything Ive ever wanted! The Hooks young sons, Justin and Johnny, are thrilled about the new addition to the family, too.
Look for Mary Lou racin around Central Florida with the top down. Shes one happy lady again, and the wave shell give you says shes proud to be driving a Corvette. You might see her license tag that says RACY REDif she slows down long enough for you to read it!