The other night I was driving home from grabbing a bite to eat and a weird thing happened. There I was cruising down Pacific Coast Highway when the clock ticked 7:00 p.m. Every night at 7:00 the local radio station has their "Whole Lotta Led" record block. In case you're a little lost, the "Whole Lotta Led" block is three to four Led Zeppelin songs in a row. That night one of the songs they played was "Your Time Is Gonna Come." As I was driving home I was thinking just how true that saying is. Well at least I hope it's true, but on the other hand, I really doubt my time will ever come to win the lottery. But anyways, fast-forward about four hours and that song hit me as hard as ever. I sat down to read Bill Schoentrup's tech sheet on his '73 drop-top Corvette, and as I was reading through it, the first thing to pop into mind was that song. It just seemed so abundantly clear that after Bill's life-long love affair with cars, it was only a matter of time before he would eventually own a Corvette.
It all started for Bill when he was eight years old. He used to tag along with his dad to work at the nearby GM dealership. While dad was out bringing food home, Bill would hang around the showroom floor playing in all the cars. The dealership always had a new Corvette there, and it's self-explanatory that Bill would run there first. As Bill grew up, his dad let him drive the old Plymouth around the farm chasing cows. Then in 1967, Bill got his driver's license and hit the road in his first car, a '59 Ford Fairlane 500 with a 352. As time passed along, Bill ended up owning numerous cars, including Mustangs, miscellaneous muscle cars, and a Model A street rod, but never the ultimate-a Corvette.
It was only fitting that after being in love with Corvettes for nearly his entire life that the time would come to own one of his own. In 1991, the Batesville, Indiana, resident decided that that time was now. However, he wasn't sure which one he wanted. He started picking Corvette magazines up, attending shows, and so on and so forth, looking at all the different models. What he began to notice is the ones that really caught his eyes were the Sting Rays. Now the only problem was which year did he favor out of all the C3s?
As Bill looked at all the different model Sharks, one model stood out above all the others. Because of the urethane front and the chrome rear bumpers, the '73 Corvette was the one for him. The hunt was on.
"The first one I came across, the guy said it was perfect and didn't need anything. Well, after looking at it, let's just say I didn't buy it." After several more futile road trips, Bill found a '73 that sounded good in Springfield, Ohio. He drove up to see it and was blown away. It was far from perfect, but as he was going over the car, he couldn't stop thinking to himself, "Here is a '73 Corvette convertible 454, four-speed, and it's a rare color. I gotta have it!" After haggling with the seller over a price they could both live with, a deal was struck. After waiting for over 30 years, Bill was finally the proud owner of his very own Corvette, and he drove it home to Indiana.
The car was a little rough but Bill didn't care. In fact, instead of restoring her back to perfection, he immediately began to work on the mechanicals of the car so it could be driven day to day. The motor had already been overhauled but the brakes were lacking. Bill and his son Nick tackled that job by putting in a new booster, a master cylinder, rotors, calipers, and pads, and they topped it all off with silicone fluid. Then they began to attend to other details. Bill and Nick also refreshed the car with a rebuilt rear suspension and a new gas tank and exhaust from Corvette Central. After enjoying the '73 for three years, the two decided it was time for a complete restoration.