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.
They took the car to Enneking's Body Shop in Morris, Indiana. Bill and Nick had already relieved the Vette of its chrome, emblems, grilles, and other minor things. Joe Enneking then took it further when he removed the doors, hood, rear deck, and the urethane front fascia. After smoothing over the old 'glass panels, Joe's painter, Dave Schutte, sprayed the car in multiple coats of Yellow Metallic topped with clearcoat. After the Vette was home, the father and son duo began detailing underneath the hood and the underside of the car. They also touched up on little things, such as new emblems, re-chromed bumpers, and new wood grain inserts for the interior-which was in pretty good shape otherwise. Finally, after all was said and done, the Vette ended up being spotless with some really cool features. The '73 boasts the rebuilt original LS4 454 rat motor with its stock Quadrajet carburetor, a Muncie M21 four-speed, that folding top for those hot days, and, to top it all off, one fierce-lookin' Metallic Yellow paint job.
Bill's quick to give props to both his wife and son, "Sharon gave Nick and me a lot of moral support over the years, especially at times when we didn't think we would ever get it done. It's great to have a good woman beside you. I can't say enough about my son. Nick was 13 when we bought the car. He was always by my side at swap meets looking for parts or at other Vettes to see how things were supposed to be. He spent many hours in the garage working with me, and it really makes this father proud to see his son have the same interest he has."
Since its completion, Bill has taken the Vette to shows all over, including one that was 1,024 miles away in North Carolina. Bill has seen his dream of owning a Corvette go from rags to riches and he couldn't be happier. However, the next question at hand is when is Nick's time gonna come for a Corvette?