From the 50th to
the C6, What a Corvette Year!
Trust me! The Alaskan Iditarod has nothing on Detroit in January. I'm
just back from
the frozen tundra,
Detroit, and the North American International Auto Show. What an
experience... you need to do this show at least once in your
lifetime if you are a true automobile aficionado.
2003 was dominated by
the 50th Anniversary of Corvette culminating in one giant party of
Corvettes overtaking Nashville and Bowling Green during June. The 50th
Anniversary party and caravan were the highlight of last year's events for
me. This was my first caravan, and seeing everyone's excitement stands out
as one of the greatest events that I have participated in on this side of
the Atlantic since starting the Registry in 1997.
It didn't take me long
to figure out that the warmest place in Detroit was a busload of C5
Registry members on their way to the Cobo Center to see the introduction
of the new 2005 C6 Corvette. Our busload of anxious members looked like a
"PRESS JUNKET" with all the cameras, video recorders and even a couple of
cell phones that could take pictures so everyone would have a keepsake
record of this fabulous opportunity. As we all know, the C5 brought
Corvette into the category of "World Class Sports Car." I can assure you
that the new C6 will position Corvette at the "Head of the Class."
The evolution of the
C6 is right. I found myself mesmerized by the enhanced new interior, which
blew me away, truly exceeding my expectations. My hat's off to the design
team who delivered a much-needed refined interior, but most importantly,
400 HORSE POWER of pure excitement delivered from a throaty SIX liter V8.
Animal magnetism doesn't
get any better than this!
GM's new C6 Corvette
(with optional Z51 handling package) is just a hair below our beloved C5
Z06 in performance and handling. It's pretty clear to me that when David
Hill and his league of engineers were attending the previous six C5
Registry Birthday Bashes, they were not only visiting with members, but
also listening to what Registry owners/ drivers had to say. I can tell you
that there is no other car company that has this type of owner interaction
with its purchasers. It is definitely a World Class Winner!
As the Precision Red
C6 rotated around, I thought how proud I was of David Hill, Tom Peters and
the rest of the C6 gang for a job well done and the smiles our members
will have when they get behind the wheel of their new C6. Their dream will
become reality! A personal thank you to David Hill for being such a
gracious host during the Auto Show. His "behind the scenes" efforts
allowed us an early entrance into the show and he graciously gave us
nearly a two-hour detailed discussion on the C6 without a break. David
then headed over to the C6 chassis model and answered questions non-stop
for the next four hours. Passion… that's the David Hill I know!
This Detroit trip once again emphasized all the fun that we have as
Registry members when we get
together. Yes, it was COLD, 9 degrees and snowing outside Saturday
night during the Registry dinner, but inside it was warm with
friendship. There was a buzz across the room as the "press junket
bunch" was dissecting all they had learned today about the new C6.
After dinner we all headed off to Ed & Shirley Duprey's home for
dessert and a special C6 celebration cake. The party and fun just
The gang's all here -- moments before we rush the doors
at Cobo Center!
It was a great event
(North American International Auto Show) for a great Car (C6 Corvette)
with great people (C5 Registry Members). A special thanks goes out to all
those who helped coordinate this fun event...Tony (Zippy) and Pat Vernogis
[C5R# W1276], Ed and Shirley Duprey [C5R# W0276], and Colleen Egan [C5R#
Y4883], just to name a few. A big C5 THANK YOU goes out to our guest
speaker, Dave Peacy, who gave a great C6 presentation during dinner!
Return to Le Mans... Again!
On the other side of
the Atlantic, our two past trips to Le Mans could never be forgotten.
We've received a great many inquiries about another trip. It would only be
fitting that we plan another excursion to Le Mans for 2005 when Corvette
debuts the C6-R race Corvette for the most famous 24-hour race in the
world. All of you that have been asking about another European trip, clear
your calendars for June 2005… we're going back!
Iím having way too much fun!
I want to thank all of you for the kind words,
emails, letters, and phone calls Iíve received from the greatest members
in the world regarding my article in the Fall 2003 issue. Yes, everyone is
right, my wife did not know that I subtly revealed her age in the photo
caption until she read the column after it was published. You all were
very kind to state that she certainly looks much younger than she is, and
youíre right! Months later, Iím still working the ďhoney doĒ list for my
I know Iím supposed
to be discussing the latest and greatest item for this Power Chat column,
but you see, I just returned from a fantastic time in Detroit surrounded
by fabulous Registry members and I have this need to tell you about it.
We no sooner hit the
tarmac and I knew I was not in sunny Florida any more! This fact was
reinforced when the young lady at the rental car counter said to Dan,
ďWhat size PICKUP do you want?Ē She had great insight, as it was obvious
the only way we were going to get around in this weather was with a 4X4. A
few minutes later and we were at the Crowne Plaza meeting and greeting all
of our wonderful members who had come to Detroit for this once in a
lifetime C6 unveiling.
As snow was falling,
we formed a caravan and headed over to Les Stanford Chevrolet in
beautiful downtown Dearborn where we enjoyed great hors díoeuvres
and had a fabulous visit with our hosts Gary Stanford and Scott
The whole gang at Les
Stanford really knows how to roll out the carpet for our members. We
were having so much fun that I thought they would have to lock up
the dealership with a number of our members still inside as the
evening came to a close because most of the members had spent the
entire evening trying to win one of 1,000 cars and trucks in the
OnStar ďPush the ButtonĒ promotion.
The fine folks at Les Stanford Chevrolet really know how to
throw a party! Many thanks to Gary Stanford (5th from left)
who made us all feel right at home!
While others were
munching, my eye was on the new SSR painted Redline Red (definitely one
HOT truck) and the new Impulse Blue Metallic GTO, which Art Spong from GM
drove to the reception. I didnít waste any time with small talk, as my
goal was to get a ride in that new GTO, because no one I know had ever
even seen one! The surprises didnít end when
I found out that Brad
Thacher had driven over in a new XLR Cadillac. Yes, the same mode of
operation, no small talk...I just needed to get a ride! I want to thank
of them for taking the
time (after I pestered them) to allow me to get a feel for what these two
performance vehicles bring to the table.
our members braved the cold to enjoy the
The next day all of us
gathered for a quick breakfast and then we were off to the Chrysler
Museum. We had a great time visiting the enemy...I mean, the home of
the Viper. I must say that I learned quite a bit of history about
Walter Chrysler and his vision for his company. He was definitely a
man on a mission! After the tour, everyone headed out to explore
exciting Detroit. Dan and I headed north to see Danny Kellermeyer
who is crew chief for Jack Cauleyís C5 Corvette, which will be
running at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Danny and his wife Michaelle
were so kind to show us around his shop and discuss with us many of
the C5 Corvette racing items he was working on for Daytona.
Only in Detroit are
these kinds of things on TV! The Oscars have nothing over this televised
On the road
again...towards the hotel, but what were we thinking? Itís 5:00 pm and
itís bumper to bumper in Detroit. No doubt, we had lost our minds! But
then the cell phone rang and surprise, surprise, it was John Cafaro
(designer of our C5ís) calling because he heard we were in town and
wanted to get together and visit about our favorite Corvette. With
Johnís guidance over the cell phone, we took several detours and
finally caught up with John and his lovely wife, Beth, and had an
enjoyable time visiting. Once the traffic cleared, we were back to the
hotelís hospitality suite where everyone met to watch the live
broadcast of the Black Tie Charity Preview from the Cobo Center.
C5 or C6 -- The smiles are always there! David Hill and C5
Registry Director Jake Drennon enjoy the debut.
Itís Saturday, January
10th, the big day! Up early, on the bus, and we headed off to the Cobo
Center with a number of our members following in their rental cars. As Iím
visiting on the bus, my memory will always be...the excitement everyone
shared, the hope that their expectations about the new C6 would be
exceeded, and how many different types of digital cameras and video
equipment there must be in this world.
A short walk and there
it was! No magazine photos, no Internet photos, no television ad...we are
Let Them Eat Cake .. The Duprey's went all out and created a
special C6 confection.
Once at the Cobo Center, we all
rallied around the Joe Louis statue, everyone looking marvelous in the
latest C5 Registry apparel. Smiling as big as the statue was Tony (Zippy)
Vernogis [C5R# W1276] witnessing his dream come true of the Registry
coming to Detroit for this very special event. We were quickly joined by
100+ members of the American Corvette Club wearing their bright yellow
shirts sponsored by Cauley Chevrolet [Corporate Member# XC021]. Colleen
Egan [C5R# Y4883] had arranged with David Hill for us to have VIP
treatment and be allowed into the show 45 minutes early before the
doors opened to the public. We all felt pretty special as the
security guards checked us in to the main hall.
Iím impressed! Let
me say this again,
Iím impressed!!! Iíve
just watched my hero, our fabulous leader, Chief Engineer of the greatest
Corvette ever produced, talk six straight hours about the new C6. David
Hill never missed a beat reviewing the new Precision Red C6 from emblem to
emblem and door handle to door handle (even though there really isnít
one). My impression from his discussion was that every item one could
imagine was improved or fabulously enhanced from our current C5. My game
plan was to film every moment of his presentation as the 2005 Precision
Red C6 turned on its platform. I was able to capture about an hour and ten
minutes out of an hour and a half presentation. But what Iíll always
remember is that once the formal presentation ended, David headed over to
the custom built and beautifully painted C6 chassis cut-away and continued
answering questions. Yes, thatís four and a half more hours of signing
autographs, posing with members for photos...and I believe if there had
been a baby in the audience, he would have kissed it. He looked like a
politician in full stride beaming about his new campaign of launching the
greatest Corvette ever built. Iím sure his schedule was tight as we
learned he had been on a non-stop pace since Sunday, January 4th, the
night of the Global C6 unveiling at the downtown Detroit Opera House.
Email after email has come to us from those of you who attended thanking
David Hill for his valuable time that he gave to all of us.
Iíve never seen a
large sheet cake created the way this one was. Now get this, it had four
very clear photographs of the C6 in the icing...and we could let ďthem eat
Before we know it, our
time at the Cobo Center has flown by and weíre headed back to the hotel.
Just enough time to talk about all we had seen and the magnificent
impressions it left with all of us. But the night was still young...we
were off to Ginopolisí On The Grill for another spectacular Registry
dinner. After dinner our guest speaker Dave Peacy from GM treated us to a
C6 Power Point presentation that everyone really enjoyed. The French
Queen, Marie Antoinette, is credited with the statement ďlet them eat
cake,Ē and thatís exactly what we did as we were all invited to the home
of Ed and Shirley Duprey [C5R# W0276] after dinner.
David Hill and Sharon Dibble
of Maroone Chevrolet [Corporate Member #VC002]
discuss the future of Corvette.
Of course... no one
lost their head over it!
I canít thank the
Dupreyís enough for allowing everyone to end this day in such a warm and
friendly setting that their home provided. When we all get together at
Aprilís (22nd to the 24th) Birthday Bash, ask anyone who attended this
once in a lifetime experience what it meant to them.
I know what youíll hear...
I just want you to hear it from them!