Those spinners on the American Racing Torq-Thrust D wheels look impressive while underway or parked, and they're also upgrades (like the C2X suspension, Carrera QA1 adjustable shocks and rechromed bumpers) that he added after buying it from an unlikely Vette Rod source: Pro Team Corvettes in Napoleon, Ohio.
As Dave tells it, "Mike Wilson, who was out in California buying cars for them, was buying big-blocks-427/435 horsepower convertibles, 396/425 horsepower cars, all NCRS quality stuff. He comes across this car, calls Terry (Michaelis) up, and says this is a car they need to buy. Terry says, 'Tell me about it,' and Mike gives him the spiel, and Terry says, 'We don't buy those. We don't sell resto mods, because that's not our niche.' Mike says, 'You've got to drive this car-it has all this power, and it handles great.' Terry says, 'Don't buy it. We won't be able to sell it.' Mike says, 'You've got to see this paint-it's really gorgeous!' Terry finally says, 'Don't buy it-I don't want it!' and Mike says, 'It's the first one that I put on the transporter. It's already loaded, and I can't take it off!'" Once it got to Ohio, the Pro Team staffers who drove it loved it for its power and the fact that it could be driven hard without risking rare components or Top Flight condition. And, once Dave found out that Pro Team had it, it wasn't long before he bought it and trailered it home.
But this car is no trailer queen when it comes to events close to Kansas City. "I have more fun meeting people and seeing their reactions to the car," he says about the shows he drives it to-though he does trailer it if the distance is more than 150 miles one way.
One recent show he took it to was in Columbia, Missouri, for the Mid Missouri Corvette Club's premier event, called the Corvette Cup. This is the club's charity fundraiser for kids and the Dream Factory, which raises money for sick children to grant a wish they have always wanted. "I have mirrors that I put under it, to show off the chrome suspension. Two little girls were down on their knees looking under my car. I thought, 'That's what this sport's about. Maybe in ten or fifteen years, these girls will remember that, and they'll want a car, or buy a car, or have something to do with the hot rod hobby.' Sooner or later, all of us old guys will be gone, and we have to pass this down to somebody.
"I took a picture of them, and their mom said, 'They don't know what they're looking at.' Both of them then looked up at me and said, 'Boy, that sure is shiny, mister!'"
This Vette Rod may upset some purists, but Dave says when it comes to finding or building a Corvette of your own, follow your instincts-not someone else's. "Find something that you like. Don't worry about what everybody else is doing to their cars. That's the beauty of this sport-everybody has a different interpretation of what a Corvette should be.
"Some people think it ought to be exactly the way it came from St. Louis, and I respect that. I enjoy seeing survivors and NCRS cars. I think we're finding that a lot of those people are looking at the Vette Rod-or as Rich Lagasse calls them, Pro Classics. Rich's first Pro Classic is now owned by a good friend of mine, Matt Devlin. The Pro Classic movement keeps the classic look of the car-no flares or spoilers outside-but is upgraded with newer engines, upgraded transmissions, newer suspension, and nicer paint."
Dave continues, "The highlight of my Corvette life (so far) was being invited to participate in Chip's Choice at Corvettes at Carlisle in 2008. The theme that year was Vette Rods, and Rich Lagasse was there with Split Personality, Matt Devlin also was there with his '67, and I was honored to be a part of the twelve Corvettes in the display. It was great to see the people's reaction of viewing all those Corvettes."