To fulfill in me what no other person, place, or thing can fulfill"
"I love my family", Joan Spoerndle says to us over her cellphone. As she talks, she folds clothes at a Flying J and repeats her first sentiment again, "I love my family."
Joan has docked her motor home and enclosed trailer, with her '64 Corvette "Miss Mako" inside, to settle down for another night between car shows. "I was on the road today and getting a little teary-eyed because Mother's Day and my son's birthday are coming up."
About noon, Joan crossed the bridge at St. Petersburg, Florida, and looked out across the waters and the scenery was so beautiful. As she listened and looked, Joan was sure God was guiding her and she was doing the right thing with her life. A string of her favorite songs from the '70s came on the radio. Joan was encouraged to hear Elton John's "Daniel" and B.J. Thomas singing "Hooked On A Feeling".
She continued, "I love my friends. But, this kind of satisfaction I am getting now is not like anything else I have received. And to see the faces on the people thanking me for raising money for their charity and how appreciative they are is astonishing."
Joan is living the dream she started several years ago. In 1980, when she bought her first Vette, a '77, she had no idea. After she raised her son, she bought a white '96 coupe and joined the Corvette Club of Connecticut which, with more than 400 members, is the largest in the state.
Corvettes and shows were fun. Then, four years ago at Carlisle, Joan saw the original Mako Shark on display. She liked this factory show car so much that she actually tried to buy the vehicle from General Motors. Although the car wasn't for sale, Joan figured she could build one on her own, starting with a mid-year convertible.
Right from the start, Joan had the idea to show her Mako Corvette for charity. She got encouragement from Sandy Labaree, a lady who drove her Corvette to shows and had begun "Corvettes Conquer Cancer". Labaree was battling breast cancer and gave talks to various groups as a representative of the American Cancer Society. With her husband Ben, she raised money for the ACS at various Corvette shows.
Joan called on Dave Secaur at Final Finish in nearby Branford, Connecticut, to do the work. Dave, who has been working on Corvettes for 30 years is 30 minutes down I-95 from Reeves Callaway in Old Lyme and painted the illustrious Callaways. Dave told us, "We used most of the visuals of the original Mako. The front parking lights, which are shaped like a gill, have lenses. Those were a little tricky to do. They are operating turn signals. We had to make a mold first and custom lenses to fit."
The most important part of the job was the colors, varying from the white belly of the shark to the light blues on the side and dark blues at the top. Where the original Mako Shark used solid colors, Secaur went with micas and pearls. Dave explained, "It's like a metallic. Metallics reflect little silver specks. The micas are similar, but they have a reflective quality and they can reflect different colors. And then these paints have pearls in them, actual pearl, and that also acts as a reflected media."
The front grille and bumpers are a major departure from stock and really give Joan's Corvette a Mako Shark look. Dave remembered, "There was a lot of work done to the front quarters where the side pipes come out. They were completely re-worked. The wheel opening is quite a lot different from stock. We copied the bumper design, but here again it is not exact. The grille has slats that go straight across. The original Mako slats are much tighter than the ones we have, but we were doing a car that needed to be driven on the road and needed airflow. We were also doing a car to pass inspection and we needed headlights. The car had to be streetable."