get a lot of flack about my car, probably because I drive a
Corvette. Yeah, yeah, I know what youíre thinking:
"A Porsche is better. You should get one of
"Americans canít make a decent sports
"You could get a Cadillac or Lexus or
MercedesÖ something BIG!"
Iíve heard it all before. Save your breath.
I got my first taste of life in the fast lane
about 10 years ago. It all started when I was shopping for a new
car. "Why donít you get a Corvette?" suggested a
wise guy friend.
I laughedÖ but the seed had been planted. I
figured, "Well, why not look? Doesnít cost anything just
Now the most popular Corvette color is red - but
I wanted a white one. I went to a dealer "just to
look." But the salesman, evil man, obviously hell bent on
making a fat commission, talked me into driving the shinny, new
"Just take it for a spin, you donít know
if you even want one until you drive it. Noooo obligation!"
I was sort of afraid. Seems silly now, but Iíd
never driven a hot car like that before. I was afraid it would
get away from me. But once behind the wheel, I knew what makes a
Corvette a Corvette. The engine, the power, the feel! They drive
and handle like a dream. I was in love, a woman obsessed. I had
it bad - Corvette Fever!
I didnít know anything about the Corvette
subculture when I brought my first Vette. I just liked the car,
especially the neat headlights that turned a flip. It was only
later that I found out they are made in Bowling Green, Kentucky,
only a short drive from Nashville on I-65. The only remaining
Corvette factory in the US is there, and across the street is
the National Corvette Museum.
When the National Corvette Museum opened a few
years ago, there was big celebration and I decided it might fun
to go. Corvettes were descending on Bowling Green from every
direction. While driving to the event from Nashville, I soon
found myself in an informal I-65 caravan. I fell in behind two
twin Corvettes traveling together. Someone else joined in behind
me, and so on. There were a several dozen Vettes, a mini road
tour of our own.
When I got there I found Corvettes, car clubs
and auto enthusiasts from all over the country. Youíve never
seen so many Vettes, all colors, all years. Swarms of Corvettes
took over the city. They were parked in fields surrounding the
museum and were being driven everywhere. The parking lots were
show places of their own. Antique cars seldom seen outside of a
museum were being driven on the streets. Everybody was a
Corvette enthusiast and it was very contagious.
The Beach Boys entertained the crowd that year
at the University of Kentucky stadium, but the real show was
going on outside behind them. A few overly enthusiastic Vette
fans, drunk on Corvette fever, were creating an informal show of
their own, showing off the Vette's quick take off by smoking
rubber and spinning wheels. They received the crowd's
enthusiastic cheers and applause -- at least till the cops came
and ran them off, to a round of boos and jeers from the crowd
who wanted to see the Corvettes more than the Beach Boys.
So, I have to take a lot of kidding about being
on an ego trip, having a mid life crisis, driving a plastic car
- even about having more car than I can handle. I donít worry
too much about what people think. I just keep my eyes on the
road and my foot on the pedal.
Guess one of these days Iíll get the car out
of my system; I havenít yet. Something about sliding in those
bucket seats and smelling the leather still makes the adrenaline
flow. It has a ton of power and temptation to speed is a
constant problem. It is, after all, a racecar capable of 180
mph. Some people say they are unsafe, but I say it is the way
people drive them that creates the high accident rate. Actually,
the low center of gravity, wide tires, fast getaway, and ability
to be maneuvered can be a safety factor -- as long as you can
I drive mine pretty much like I would drive any
other car. When I go to the local grocery store, the teenage
carryout boy that brings groceries to the car will usually do a
"Boy, I like your car!" he will
invariable say. "Thatís the kind of car I want!" I
smile. He could never get insurance. At his age it would be a
high-risk insurance pool, for sure.
But, I always just grin and say, "Thanks, I
hope you get one some day. They are a lot of fun!" Why kill
Long live Corvette fever!