When Officer Peter deQuack of the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department finally slid behind the wheel of his very own Corvette, that thrill came packed with even more rewards than he ever imagined.
Peter has served with the Albuquerque Police for over 18 years, working in all quadrants of the city and on a number of different types of duties. His hours have been one of the only constants in his law enforcement career. "Upon graduating from the police academy in 1984," he says, "I have worked the graveyard shift my entire career so that someone could be home at all times with my three sons-Jacob, Calvin, and Sean-while my wife, Tammy, worked during the day." These days, Peter works the Southeast Area Command, which he likes best due to "all the different challenges it presents." In addition to working the streets, he has also been a part of the Critical Intervention Team that deals with suicidal and mentally challenged individuals, as well as being a training officer who has helped over 50 rookie officers get their start.
But as retirement began looming closer and closer on the horizon for Peter, thoughts of a longtime dream also began to take more urgent form. As a teenager during the Golden Age of American musclecars (the mid-'60s and early-'70s), Peter felt the passion of those cars and the music that romanticized the whole "mystique of cruising, revving engines, and showing off our 'showboats.'" Of course, what vehicle could possibly capture that awesome passion more than a mid-year Corvette?
With the desire for owning a classic Vette becoming more fervent in Peter's soul, "the task at hand was to convince my wife we needed one. Tammy finally agreed half-heartedly that as a reward for working all those graveyard hours, I could start looking for a Corvette." At that point, the Corvette dream was just one man's irrational, impractical obsession, but he did get the boss' 'Okay'.
In May of 2001, the right ad showed up in the paper, so Peter and Tammy agreed to look at the car with no expectations. However, when the owner lifted the garage door, "there sat the most beautiful red Corvette we'd ever seen. With no words spoken, the glances (Tammy and I) gave each other were enough to convey the message that the Vette would be ours and that it would soon be sitting in our garage!" Their prize was a '64 convertible with the original L76 327cid motor, rated at 365hp, that's followed up by a Muncie four-speed manual gearbox. The well-detailed mid-year is also equipped with aluminum knock-off wheels, a white soft-top, and matching white interior that compliment the red exterior sharply.
It's hard to tell who was the most excited about their newest addition to the family-Peter, Tammy, or their sons. After buying the '64, all three boys wanted to ride home with their dad in the new Vette, despite the little fact that it's only a two-seater. In the end, though, Peter made that first drive home alone, and learned the true meaning of "Cloud Nine," receiving numerous waves and thumbs-up as he lived out his childhood fantasy. "I turned the AM/FM radio to the big oldies station, and heard a crackling sound coming from the old speaker that made the songs sound just like I remembered them while I was growing up," Peter reminisces.
Since then, owning the enchanting old Vette has paid off in many unexpected ways. It has become a focal point for Peter's entire family, bringing everyone that much closer. It has been a tough, but necessary sacrifice in the name of his family for Peter to have worked nights for nearly two decades. Even though Peter isn't giving up police work yet, he and Tammy thoroughly enjoy driving the Vette and catching up on well-deserved quality time together. The boys also love the car, and provide Peter with a diligent pit crew for each and every show they attend.
"With such a stressful occupation, I never imagined that my '64 Corvette could bring my family a little bit closer, allowing us to participate in something we can all have fun with!"