C6 Corvette Customization - Back In The Saddle

Part 2: A Forward-Thinking Business Approach Takes The Hassle Out Of Corvette Customization

Paul Zazarine Mar 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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Ferman Chevrolet's Corvette Sales Center is packed with new and used Corvette coupes, convertibles, and Z06s. The showroom also boasts computers that allow customers to select from a wide range of GM accessories.

In our last issue, we showed you how VETTE magazine's founding father, Marty Schorr, returned to the Corvette world with the purchase of a new C6 convertible. Schorr had been out of the hobby since selling his '67 big-block in 1999 and regretted his decision the minute he made the deal. Having him back in a Corvette where be belongs was good news to all of us here at VETTE.

Schorr also shared his impressions of the C6 and how it compared with the classic '67. The longtime auto enthusiast is one of the few guys on the planet with the experience and insight to accurately describe how the Corvette has evolved into the quintessential American sports car. Along with editing several high-performance car magazines before starting VETTE, Schorr was involved with the legendary Joel Rosen and his Motion Performance facility on Long Island, New York. Schorr even tested some of the wild, big-block Phase III Camaros and Corvettes that came out of Rosen's shop. Today, legitimate Baldwin-Motion supercars from the '60s are worth upward of half a million dollars.

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To dress up his new C6's underhood area, Schorr chose the Underhood Liner with Crossed-Flag Logo (PN 17801773, $225).

Before he purchased his new C6, Schorr checked out several different dealerships. Like many prospective Corvette buyers, he was looking for more than a good deal; he was looking for a dealership staffed by Corvette specialists, both in the showroom and in the service department. Schorr also wanted to order special GM accessories for his Corvette, so it was important to him that the dealer understood precisely what he wanted and could handle the installation of the parts.

While there are thousands of aftermarket bits available for C6 Corvettes, Schorr wanted to use only genuine GM gear. "When you order a brand-new Corvette," he says, "you can go through the GM Accessory book, select the kind of stuff you want-ranging from complete dress-up parts to performance enhancements like exhaust systems-and order it with the car."

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Everything from wheels to instrument-panel covers are available. The panel at the top is a mesh screen that is positioned between the seats on convertible models to reduce turbulence and wind noise. All parts are covered by a GM warranty.

In the end, Schorr chose to buy his C6 from Ferman Chevrolet, in Tampa, Florida. Ferman is more than just a Corvette-friendly dealership. Each year, it sponsors "The Ultimate Corvette Party," a show that attracts more than 400 local Vettes, and the dealership is involved in a number of other Corvette-related activities. Tommy Farruggio, the dealership's Corvette specialist, shares Ferman's dedication to the hobby. Not only has Farruggio been a Corvette owner for years (he's owned '69, '73, '79, '81, '87, '98, '01, and '07 models), but he's also an active member of the local Corvette community and is heavily involved in area Corvette clubs.

"General Manager Eddie Gomez saw the increasing interest of Corvette owners in after- market accessories," says Farruggio. "We sell about 150 Corvettes a year, so Eddie felt it was a good fit for Ferman to get into the GM accessory market. [He also decided to] develop a specialty building on dealership property to handle Corvette sales and accessories, making Ferman a one-stop Corvette shop."

Farruggio had long recognized the need for Ferman to expand its Corvette business. Thanks to Ferman's progressive vision for the Corvette customer, management agreed to remodel an adjacent building (previously the home of a Harley-Davidson dealer) and name it "Ferman Chevrolet Corvette Center." Farruggio was put in charge of the facility.

In Schorr's opinion, the Ferman Corvette Center should be a model for other Chevrolet dealers. "If GM was really smart," he says, "they'd pay a lot of attention to what Tommy did at Ferman and emulate that. GM has been pushing its dealers to remodel stores to a higher standard. There are a lot of older dealerships, but to be competitive today, you have to have an appealing environment for customers to buy cars and have them serviced.

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