When building a car for a major show like the Detroit Autorama, the pace quickens as the clock ticks down to show time. "The last three days were literally around-the-clock," Rich says. "It was finished enough to load at 6 o'clock on the morning of the day that we left for Detroit. We went to bed for three hours, then left-in a snowstorm-at 9 a.m." Though finish detailing hadn't been done, they got help with that once they arrived. "Fortunately, four friends of ours-Jim and Janet Dawes, Matt Devlin, and Dave Laney-flew out to give us a hand, and our two sons, Chris and Mike, were also there to help." [NOTE: A picture of the "Split Personality Team" is in the Dec. '08 issue, page 36. That article also credits family and friends for their help in the project.]
"Without their help at the show, as well as the many friends who helped us towards the end of this project, we never would've been ready for the Detroit show," Rich says. "During the last few months of the project, we had friends of ours coming in and out of our garage, seven days a week, giving a hand when we needed at least two pairs of hands in order to put some things together-including my wife, who was here at all hours. One night I was under the dash, working on wiring and upholstery at 2:30 in the morning, and Barb was there handing me tools and feeding me grapes and cheese to keep me going."
Rich says that over the years that they've been building Corvettes, they've met many fellow Vette enthusiasts at the shows they've participated in, as well as businesses involved in other Corvette projects. "The times that people say, 'We have pictures of your car posted in our garage as inspiration'-that's the kind of comment that gets to you," Rich says. "It says that you've done something that's reached someone to the point where they use that to inspire what they want to do. That's the aspect of these projects that both Barb and I value the most. Building something that gives us the ability to express our own ideas and bring them to life has renewed our enthusiasm for the hobby. That's what's different about doing this kind of project versus the restorations we've done in the past, where you have guidebooks and factory manuals to go by. These projects really leave it open for you to design the kinds of things that you want. Hopefully, when it's all said and done, it comes out as you've pictured it in your mind."
If the reaction to one of their earlier Vettes is any indication, the Pro Classic Z06 will get plenty of attention from the most devoted people in the world of Corvettes. "On one of our previous cars that we brought to Carlisle in 2001, the '62, Dave Hill brought his entire engineering team over to look at it," Rich says. "As a matter of fact, I came back to the car once and saw this guy under the car, with his rear end sticking up in the air. I told him, 'I have pictures that will save you the grass stains on your knees.' He responded by saying, 'I have to see this for myself,' and it turned out that the fellow was Dave Hill! And, one of the Corvette engineers told us, 'I don't want to swell your head, but our last night's dinner conversation was primarily about your car.' When Corvette engineers can appreciate something that an individual has done, that's high praise, certainly. But that was our other car!"