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Betty Sullivan’s '01 Chevy Corvette

A Grandmother's 427

Ronnie Hartman Oct 1, 2002

Step By Step

Betty Sullivan of Moore, South Carolina, isn’t your typical grandmother. Why? Here’s a hint: The eldest of her four grandchildren, an admiring two-year-old, refers to Betty’s Corvette as “Nana’s Racecar.” Betty confines her “racing” to the street, but her street car has had some serious modifications. We’ll show you how Mike Norris of Norris Motorsports built the engine for this grandmother’s Corvette—starting with an aluminum C5-R 427-inch block—in the November issue. But right now, we want to tell you about the diva who drives it.

Betty’s husband, Paul, ordered this Magnetic Red/Oak ’01 convertible as a Mother’s Day gift last year, but Betty didn’t realize it was to be her very own till they took delivery at the Museum. Her Corvette delivery, along with those of 10 others from Bruce Glueck, a dealership in Jasper, Florida, was part of the Museum’s sixth anniversary celebration. The car was presented by Chief Engineer Dave Hill and Marketing Director Rick Baldick, both of whom autographed the inside of the hood. Then Rick congratulated Paul on his new Corvette. Betty was stunned when Paul told Rick to congratulate Betty, since it was hers. “The look on her face was priceless,” Paul said. Betty was laughing and crying at the same time. It meant so much more to her than anyone looking on could appreciate. In 1982, Paul had given her a brand new ’82 for Mother’s Day. Betty loved that Corvette and desperately tried to make it serve the requirements of a mom with four children, but she finally had to give it up for the station wagon she really needed. It pained her terribly to give up the ’82, and Paul had been determined to make it up to her. “I don’t feel guilty anymore!” he says now with obvious delight. “Betty may be a grandma, but behind the wheel she is 20 again!” he adds.

With those four children grown and working on families of their own, and all that pent-up enthusiasm unleashed, Betty jumped into divahood with gusto. She dispatched the new Corvette to Norris Motorsports in Ocoee, Florida, and is delighted with the 427 engine. She says she’ll “never drive stock” again. The brakes have been upgraded and Betty is now lusting for HRE wheels and wider tires. She’s also been collecting information about twin turbos and supercharger. Looks like those grandkids are in for some wild rides with Nana.



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