With that fateful gesture, the die was cast. Your author was already serving as a "consultant" on this job (consultant meaning giving lots of advice and not getting paid for it) and decided to ask Corvette Fever editor Alan Colvin if, perhaps, a few selected CF advertisers/supporters would like to get involved with this project. Quick agreement and support from these fine suppliers led to discounted parts and technical support for the project.
>>Full IFS setup from Jim Meyer Racing >>Rack-and-pinion steering setup and tilt column from Flaming River >>Four-wheel disc brake setup from Stainless Steel Brakes >>Front coilovers and adjustable rear shocks from Carrera/QA1 >>Full interior/upholstery kit from Corvette Central >>Gauge restoration by Corvette Specialties of Maryland and a host of other improvements, upgrades, and replacements. What started out as a quick engine swap ended up being a six-month-plus restomodding effort, far more ambitious than Bob ever planned and more extensive than Bonnie's piggy bank ever expected. But what a car! And while the idea was to recruit Rob's long-time motorhead friends to do most of the mechanical work in the interest of economy and camaraderie, it didn't work out that way due to logistics and work responsibilities. So the assignment list for Gardner's Automotive quickly grew.
With the work finally completed, all that was left was to find a proper time and place to surprise Rob with his newly rejuvenated and eminently drivable '59. Since Bob and Rob play a fair amount of golf (for business purposes only, of course), it was agreed that a party would be scheduled for a Sunday afternoon in June, with the car parked within view of the 18th green. The guest list included the group that had originally rescued the '59 and had remained friends throughout the 30-plus years Rob owned the car, plus shop owner Gary Gardner, his sons and grandson, who did most of the recent work on the car, plus other family members and friends.
And so June 3 it was. Luckily, the rain showers held off until after Rob spied his prized Karen Ann just beyond the 18th green. the scene was reminiscent of the one we've all seen of a beautiful blonde running across a meadow in a flowing white dress, and Rob's grin was wider than the entire 18th fairway. It was a montage of tears and hugs as Bob and Bonnie pointed out all the new features and upgrades. despite the showers that moved in, test rides were in order for all the key players, and Rob and Bonnie's two daughters as well.