When last we featured Rich and Barb Lagasse's '63 Sting Ray Coupe, it was to tell the world the definition of "Pro Classic." That was in our February issue ("Pro Classic, Defined," Page 46), and it wrapped up the series of articles CF brought you on this special split-window's construction. We called them recently to see what's happened since then, and to get an update on their experiences with this very special Corvette.
Since completing the car, "Split Personality" has hit the show scene, garnering praise from show-goers while scoring a trophy haul that includes multiple Best in Show trophies, along with more than a few Outstanding awards for paint, chassis, body detail and display, as well as First Place trophies for its class wins. (Editor's Note: While you might expect that a car such as this would place very well at Corvette specific events, it is interesting to note the intense competition at the events where the car is now being shown includes all types, makes, models and year vehicles and yet the car continues to be well recognized.)
One of the interesting aspects for the Lagasse's since they have been traveling around the country to all these great shows has been the fact that many of the spectators came to the shows specifically to see the car in person having seen it in the project series right here in Corvette Fever. Other spectators unaware that the car was in attendance immediately recognized the car from the magazine and were very happy to see it up close and personal for the first time.
Does he expect to get a trophy every time they show off their vivid red '63? Far from it.
"We go to these shows to enjoy ourselves, meet the people, see the cars from different areas of the country and have a mini-vacation" says Rich. "We go in expecting nothing, and we're happy with whatever we get. The judges at these shows know their stuff and we know they do their best at what is a difficult job. We go for the experience, and for meeting the nice people (both car owners and spectators), and not for the hardware. That said, it's nice to have something that shows the recognition and appreciation of what we've built having put so much of ourselves into the project. Our best memories though are from talking to all of the people that we meet and the new friends we make."
Rich also says that he believes that show awards should be spread around, as most shows have enough Class, Outstanding, Best and Sweepstakes awards to cover a good number of the cars in the show. "For example, if you're fortunate enough to win a Best in Show that pretty much says it all," he says. "If there are separate awards for paint, undercarriage, engine, interior, etc, the car owners who have scored well in those areas should receive those awards to recognize their hard work. Many shows do that and we feel it makes the show a better experience for everyone."
But it's the comments and good words from show-goers that the Lagasses remember the best. As Rich says, "By the end of each day, we've spoken to so many people--which we both enjoy--that our voices are almost shot!" He adds that because show-goers like to see things that they haven't seen before, or at least what they can't see at their regular cruise nights, that leads to the positive attention they--and "Split Personality"--get. Anyone who has had the chance to talk to Barb at the shows has to be impressed by her knowledge of the car as well as her enthusiasm in pointing out all the details. Having lived through the project she really knows all the details. They appreciate the level of innovation, the ideas that have been incorporated, and how they've been incorporated," Rich notes. "With everything we do, we try to tie into the car's original design concept--exterior, interior or whatever--so that it looks like we have a common theme, and we stick to that theme. Every modification that we make fits into that original design concept."