January 2021 Member of the Month
Hi. My name is Perry Canton and I recently joined the NCRS. It is sad that the Covid has limited me from meeting so few of you. Here is my story.
Back in 1970, my Dad decided I needed some transportation when I transferred to the U of M from Moorhead State – yes, I was a Spud and a Dragon, for those that know what that means. Dad loaned me $600 and gave me a sheet with the monthly payments owed when I would graduate and enter the real world. I went down to the local Pontiac dealer and purchased a ‘63 two-door Tempest Lemans. Not for it’s supposedly mundane reliability, but because it had a Hurst 3 on the floor with a heavy duty clutch, would light up the tires in first and second, and go 100mph at the touch of the gas pedal. It looked like a teacher’s car but, drove like a hot rod. Easy to work on and fun to drive. When I bruised the front quarter panel, I found that there were 27 screws and bolts to replace the fender, but only 6 bolts to replace the front clip. I went to the junkyard and found a bolt-on match – a ‘64 GTO front clip. Later, after working at the DNR, when I could afford a Formula 400 with dual factory glass-packed mufflers, I sold the car to a friend of my twin brother, Mark, who raced a ‘56 Chevy at the dirt track in Fargo (more about my twin brother later). Two weeks went by before he called and told me his motorhead friend was overjoyed with the GTO engine (326 or 389?, I never knew). Much later in life, I was looking through a muscle car book at Barnes & Nobel. When I turned the page for the Pontiac section, the picture staring back at me was a ‘63 Pontiac two-door Tempest Lemans GTO prototype with a whole article on it. Same color, same markings, and matching interior. Although, the Formula 400 was also a great car to drive or just sit in and listen to it rumble and feel it shake.
My next car was a rust free ‘72 El Camino that my older brother, Keith, found for me in Seattle. It received a lot of attention at the bars, but was totaled when some kids ran a stop sign on their way to a party.
But now I was getting married and settling down and the fast cars became a thing of the past. But, a few years before that happened, an opportunity knocked on my door. Remember Mark? He worked with Butch Schultz at Duane’s House of Pizza in Moorhead. He calls and tells me that Butch’s brother-in-law in Mahnomen blew up an engine in a ‘63 Corvette Coup and they were going to turn it into a hotrod with a 283 out of Butch’s Chevelle. My brother and I decided that was not what should be done and I offered to buy the car. Butch drove it down from Mahnomen with the swapped 283 and I drove it back to the Twin Cities. It was in rough shape and I am not sure how it made it. The seats were not even bolted in. I drove it down to Bob Eddy’s in Jordan and it was at his place for quite a few years. Bob was galivanting around the world working for GE. It was now neglected and spent much of its time in four different garages over 40 years. More on this car later.
In 1987, I married Therese and we raised a daughter Caitlin and a son Erik. Those years were filled with playing and coaching volleyball, working at the DNR, and rebuilding a house that needed almost everything. The time went by fast.
Over the years, a friend of mine, Steve Feesl, who also worked at the DNR, and I would talk about the ‘63 and other cars. Steve was a rally racer who I found out competed against Bob Lund in their youthful years. In 2012 his aunt was selling a ‘95 yellow/black convertible. Therese had always wanted a yellow sports car. So, for our 25th wedding anniversary, we purchased the Vette, good running car that needs very little work. There were minor fixes to an interior door and the passenger side mirror motor needs to be replaced. I purchased a spare tire holder that I need to install as it does not currently have run flats. It’s definitely a driver with 160,000 miles and a fun car to drive.
The other corvette we own is a ‘63 Black/Red 300HP Coup that is pretty much fully restored. There are knockoffs that are not original. I purchased 8088 wheels from Mark Lyddy and repainted them. I traded a camper that needed to be fixed up to his twin brother Mike for the hubcaps. Maybe I got the better deal out of that one. That pretty much will make the coup close to original. Next spring, I will take it into Bob Lund to install power steering and electronic ignition. I have not started the documentation process, but that should not be difficult based on past ownership of the car. I will enter a NCRS judging event next summer.
As Chris Enstrom and Bob Lund will attest to, the really interesting part of this journey is how in the world did I end up with a restored ‘63 coup. That journey started 57 years ago and my part is only the last 40 years. A separate article would be needed to tell the whole story, so here are the cliff notes.
Remember the neglected ‘63 Coup from above. On retirement, I decided it was time to take a look at what I had neglected for 40 years. I uncovered it and crawled under the car. Astonishment – it looked like a Z06. With the carpet out, it looked like a N03. I uploaded pictures to a corvette forum and asked for help (see link at end of document). It did not take long before corvette enthusiasts responded. Gessner and Esteriecher assured me that what I had was a Z06 BigTank. This eventually led to Chris and Bob taking a look. To keep it short, through some research and a lot of luck, the car was occasionally raced by Bill Fuller in the SE. According to a news article, the car was most likely purchased for Sebring, but only arrived and raced at Mansfield a week before Sebring and did not make it to Sebring the next weekend. Fuller’s ‘62 Sebring car was sold right after the ‘62 race. What happened to the car between about ‘65 and ‘72 is still a mystery. In ‘72 the car showed up in Reno and was sold as a repurposed street vehicle (FI and Big Tank removed, repainted red) and driven back to MN. There is much more to this story. See link at end of document for a memorium on Bill Fuller in AUTOSPORT.
After talking to Bob Lund, it was apparent I did not want to spend what it would take with the result being a trailer queen that I could not drive. Bob put me in touch with someone that has restored ‘63s and Z06’s. I traded straight up for the restored ‘63 coup. Bill is currently collecting the parts he needs to restore the Z06/N03. Bill and I are continuing to research the car’s history from ‘65 to ‘72. I have been able to talk to Bill Fuller’s last surviving pit crew member/mechanic about the race car. He was in Vietnam when Fuller sold the car and it was no longer in the shed with the other race cars upon his return. Dave Morgan from Tulsa, OK remembers the car, but does not know what happened to it. I have a three ring binder of information from the research which I hope to write up some day if we track down the missing years.
I hope when the health of the country can return to a more normal, I will meet additional North Country NCRS members and be able to see your fantastic cars.
February 2021 Member of the Month
My name is David Mack. I grew up in Mankato, Minnesota. I always loved cars so when I was old enough to drive, a few of us guys fixed up cars and then at night we drove up and down Front Street like American Graffiti. Those were the fun days.
I bought my 1956 Corvette in 1971 right out of high school. I was looking for a 1963 corvette and a friend told me he had a 1956 corvette. I did not want a car that old. It was gray with wide tires and a 327 balanced and 60 over with aluminums rods. The longer I looked at it, the more I like it, so I bought it for $1800.00. The bank said I was crazy but gave me the loan anyway. Well, I raced it at Mn drag ways for two years than I put it away and got into dirt track racing. After that I got married to JoAnn and decided to fix it back to stock. [THE CORVETTE I MEAN]. I got a 365 engine at a junk yard and rebuilt it. Though the next 15 years I painted it the stock colors Venetian red with white sides. I also did brakes, brake lines, fuel tank and lines, interior redone and installed a new wiring harness and redid the chrome trim.
My Dad was a mechanic at a Chevy dealership, and I helped him on cars that he brought home to work on. That got me into cars and mechanics so I could do most of the work on it. IT NEEDED A LOT OF WORK!! Things That I need to do year are: new convertible top, more chrome and stainless redone engine update to two four barrels and disc brakes.
I have three children: Justin, Jenna and my 1956 corvette. My wife and kids like going to car shows, after I got enough courage to go to them. Always worrying that it would break down to and from shows. At shows I like talking to people about the car and my stories about it. That is one of the things I enjoy about a car show. I also really enjoy talking to the other car people and learning about their cars and their stories. I was at a car show in the summer of 2019 and met Paul Burski. He talked to me about the NCRS and I was very interested in it. I joined NCRS in the fall of 2019. I have gone t a few tech sessions and enjoyed them a lot. I have met some members that have great stories and a lot of knowledge about corvettes. When things open up more, I would like to do more things with the chapter.
March 2021 Member of the Month
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story with the NCRS North Central Chapter!
You may wonder why I included a photo of myself and Bob Lund. Bob and I have been friends for 40 plus years, a very long time.
I have owned over the years 12 Corvettes. My current Corvette is my 3rd 1965 Coupe. All my ’65’s have had side exhaust, knock off’s, sliver and black or blue/blue, 327 small blocks.
Folks ask how old was I when I bought my first Corvette, I was 19. I bought a 1959 Corvette that was sold by Ralph Humrick as a parts car.
I bought the ’59 as I was nearly hit by a car on my motorcycle at the same intersection I was hit by a car while riding my motorcycle when I was 13.
I wanted a vehicle that was fun, sporty, with a top, no more getting rained on and a heater that was safer than a motorcycle.
The only car that appealed to me was the Corvette.
I bought the ’59 from Ralph and did a body on restoration. I decided to show it when finished as it was pretty nice. It won first place at my first car show and did very well at several other shows.
My 1959 was on the cover of Vette Views and Ditzler Paint magazine.
After that I did a body off restoration of a 1971 roadster with air. It took two years and turned out really nice. Unfortunately it was stolen the first weekend out of storage the second spring after completion of restoration.
Fast forward, I was on the list to order a 2020 Corvette but my heart just kept pulling me to another 1965 coupe. So I called Bob Lund and asked him what they cost and what’s available.
Mind you I had been bugging Bob about a ’65 for a few years and I had to adjust to the “market valve” they cost a lot of money!
I told Bob I am looking for a 65 couple , sliver/black or blue/blue, 327/350, knock offs, side pipes, 100% original already restored or original ready tot go.
I was done buying non original cars and no longer had the interest or space for another body off restoration. To my surprise Bob said “John, I have your car!”.
The ’65 Bob had for sale was his for many years. Bob had sold it just a year prior. It is a no hit body, 100% original and ready to go.
When my wife Pam and I went to look at the car Pam asked me what I am going to offer, I said I am not going to offer I am going to buy, I have a deposit check with me.
She said how do you know you will like the car? I said I have known Bob for 40 years, 40 years of trust. Bob sold me the best Corvette I have every purchased!
My family loves the ’65 because I love it!
My wife Pam is fine with it but it is not her favorite car. It is old, the exhaust stinks, no air conditioning, noisy side pipes, no back up camera, only one side mirror.
All the things I love about it!
My neighbor who has 7 Porches, two Mercedes and a Ferrari asked me what I plan to do with the car when I am tired of it, my son Scott quickly answered it will never be on the market.
My daughter Jackie and son Scott both claim the ’65 when I die 🙂
I joined the NCRS club as I wanted to reconnect with others who value vintage Corvettes. I have been a member of St Croix Valley Corvettes, Suburban Corvettes in the past and was looking for a vintage Corvette club.
I will be showing the ’65 this spring at our NCRS NCC Eagan show and look forward to attending other social events with the club.
I included a picture of my 1959 Corvette and the neon sign that I had made for it at the neon shop at the Mpls College of Art & Design by a fellow class mate back in 1974.
I always displayed the neon sign of my ’59 with my ’59 at car shows and won best sign of the show more than once:-)
Thanks for your interest in my Corvette story!
April 2021 Member of the Month
My wife Bobbie and I will have been married for 24 years in august of 2021. We have two living adult children, Blaine and Amy, both of whom live in the MSP metro area.
We also have two grandchildren, Lavinia, age 7, and Abram age 3, who both love “Papa’s” red Corvette!
I’ve always had an interest in cars, but my personal involvement in Corvettes began in high school when my friend, John Ikeda, a long time NCRS member, purchased a beautiful 1965, Nassau Blue coupe.
One look and one ride and I was hooked! Just nothing like the view through the windshield of a C2 or C3!
My first Corvette was a 1981 coupe bought in 1993 from a mechanic who had fixed it up for his wife. The engine had been blown, so he dropped in an an engine from a newer C4.
This made for an interesting classification challenge at a Corvette weekend at what was then Brainard International Raceway!
My next car acquisition was a 1991 ZR1 from long time (grade school) friend, Fred Manthey, in 1997.
I loved that car and put about 60,000 miles on it, at one point driving it solo from San Francisco to Maine before finally selling.
In 2014 I purchased my current dream car, a 1968 numbers matching (with documentation) 427cu in, 390 HP, red convertible through our NCRS tech director, Bob Lund.
Bob was just finishing a frame off body restoration and the owner made a decision to sell. I also have the hard top for the car. I think it’s a rolling work of art and so fun to drive!
Bobbie and I enjoy day trips with our close Corvette friends as well as outings with the club.
Hopefully we can all get back to having in person fun this Summer after being cooped up for a year!
May 2021 Member of the Month
Hi, my name is Tim Saarela and I’ve been a member of the North Central Chapter for almost two years. My wife Laura and I reside in Credit River Township and we both grew up in small towns on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota. Laura is a preschool teacher at Blessed Trinity School and I’m a software engineering leader at CNC Software (Mastercam). We have two grown children, Neal who sells mortgage products for Wells Fargo and our daughter Erin, an architect at ISG.
My very first real car was a 1985 Chevy Camaro purchased off the show room floor at Ed Rinke Chevrolet, a dealership right down the road from the GM Tech Center where I worked as a systems engineer. Ever since my days at GM, I’ve had a fascination with Corvettes, especially C2s. Over the past few years I’ve been casually searching for a Corvette project car but was put off by the high cost of entry. After turning my focus to a more affordable generation, I noticed a Craigslist ad for Dave Cloutier’s 50th Anniversary C5 convertible in June of 2019. My wife Laura and I were in Chicago for a Rolling Stones concert at the time. I called Dave and decided to make a stop in Hudson on the way home to take a peek.
All Dave had to do was remove the cover and I was smitten. What a gorgeous car! Our negotiations weren’t progressing so Dave slyly decided to put the cover back on. Never under-estimate Dave’s negotiating skills! I returned a few days later to pick up the car. Dave was amazed that I drove away with the top down. I’ll let you ask him why.
My casual search for a C2 continued and over time only intensified. Just recently I noticed a sweet looking maroon 1965 ‘vette on Craigslist and decided to take a look. I leaned pretty heavily on Chris Enstrom’s extensive knowledge in advance of the visit to help me understand what I was going to be looking at. I remembered Chris telling me that a maroon on maroon combo would be a rare find. The photos showed this one as having a black interior. Using what Chris had taught me to evaluate the trim tag, I quickly realized this car was originally maroon on maroon and had been converted to a black interior by a previous owner.
The C2 is now in my garage alongside the C5. I now have a car I can drive anywhere and another that will keep me busy as a project car for years to come. I really do have the best of both worlds!
I’m currently developing a game plan for renovating the C2. Ultimately, I want to restore the interior back to its original maroon color. Other key decisions include converting to a date-correct engine, frame-off or not, and whether or not to repaint. I tend to be adventurous and am looking forward to the journey!
I joined NCRS at Dave’s urging shortly after buying his car. I’ve attended two fall judging events, last year’s rain-soaked June cruise, and the paint-care tech session from last fall. Larry the trainer offered to demonstrate polishing techniques on my C5 hood and the results were amazing.
So far I’ve enjoyed my time as member of the club and am learning a ton. Everyone has been super supportive and extremely willing to share their expertise. I look forward to getting to know more members at future events.
June 2021 Member of the Month
I am engaged to my better half (and other owner) Kitty Caton. We both retired June 2018. I was in sales at Poly-Tex and Kitty worked at 3M. We both grew up and now live in Northfield, MN.
Do you have children? Kitty has 2 adult children. Bradley and Lisa. Between them we now have 4 grand kids. Harper 8, Jack 14, Khloe 20 and Cole 22.
Corvette(s) that you have: We currently own a 1971 LT1 corvette convertible. 350, 4 speed, manual steering and brakes. Sunflower yellow, saddle interior, with a black top.
History of your Corvette(s):
When did you buy it (them)? We purchased the car in June of 2014. Our focus was a C3 1969 through 1972. The main criteria was it had to be a Top Flight car. It received a Chapter Top Flight award in 2012. The car has had a total nut and bolt restoration.
Do you or your car(s) have a unique story to tell about how you got into the Corvette hobby? What car guy has never wanted a chrome bumper Corvette? I had all kinds of nice cars growing up. Mach 1, XR7, Firebird. It seemed I always had a reason to not buy a Corvette. Then I looked at it from a different perspective. Don’t buy just a car. Buy something collectable. Thus the LT1. Best decision we ever made. Love the car. What else can you say about a convertible Vette during the summer? Kitty doesn’t care to drive much because of the “Armstrong Steering”. Fortunately, that leaves me with the driving responsibilities.
What is your next Corvette project? Our goal was to have the car judged at the Regional in Rochester last June, but that was canceled due to Covid. So the car was ready and I was just going to wait until the next one. Then it occurred to us that we could take it to the local Chapter event. Currently we’re putting some final touches on getting the car ready for Chapter Flight Judging this May. I think it would be a great learning curve for the Regional. We’ve gone through the past judging sheets and made improvements where needed. We’re really looking forward to this event.
North Central Chapter:
When did you join? What activity do you like best? Judging? Car cruises? Tech Sessions?
We joined the NCRS 2012 once we really got serious about buying a car. Just receiving the Driveline was a huge help. Also, the technical advice on the website was worth the annual cost.
July 2021 Member of the Month
Hello, my name is Steve Boone. I joined the North Central Chapter last year. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, my wife Barb and I have not done much traveling lately. We live in Grand Forks, ND and have four children. Two of them live in the Twin Cities area, so hopefully we will be able to attend a Chapter meet soon.
I grew up on a farm near Grafton, ND. My dad was a Mopar hemi fan, while my uncle (Ralph) enjoyed Corvettes. The cars were stored on the farm, and I learned about the cars while watching the two of them help each other with repairs and maintenance on the cars.
Ralph ordered a 1965 Corvette coupe, 327/300 hp, from the Chevy dealer in Grafton in January of 1965. In 1978, he purchased a 1976 Corvette from a local owner in nearby Grand Forks, ND. In 1982, he purchased a 1960 Corvette, 283/270 hp, from a gentlemen in Jamestown who had just finished restoring the car. In 1985, he ordered a Corvette coupe, 4 speed, from the Chevy dealer in Grafton. In 1988, I purchased a 1987 Corvette convertible, 4 speed, from a gentlemen in the Corvette club in Minot, ND, who was being sent to Japan in the Air Force. He had ordered the ’87 from the Chevy dealer in Minot. In 1990, Ralph and I brought the 1965 Corvette to Bloomington, where the car received the new Survivor Award. The same Survivor judge contacted me in 2015, and asked for the car to be displayed at Bloomington Gold for the 50th Anniversary of 1965. That was a memorable experience, as I have not attended many national events of any kind. In 2009, I inherited Ralph’s Corvettes, so they are all stored in my shop with the ’87. All of the cars are in original condition, except for the older restoration on the 1960.
My next repair project is a horn button on the ‘65, which is no longer being held by the spring on one side, as well as the telescopic feature which is stuck in place. In the future, I would enjoy attending a Tech Session to observe repairs being made. I appreciate the opportunity to share the history of the cars, and look forward to meeting all of you at future events!
August 2021 Member of the Month
Greetings from North Dakota! My name is Adam Dever and my wife, Sonya, and I are pleased to introduce you to a few of our fun cars. Our fondness of the small maneuverable warship known as the Corvette began only a few short years ago when we purchased a 1966 427 Mosport Green convertible. Sonya’s enjoyment of classic cars began as a young girl when she helped her dad build a 1967 Chevelle SS. Some of her greatest memories as a child involved working along side of her dad in the garage and attending many car shows. Her and her dad, Bob, spent countless hours working on the ’67 Chevelle and later a ’67 Camaro SS. Both big block cars.
Sonya and I were married in 2007 and have three precious daughters. Sonya keeps everything flowing at home while I work in the oil and gas industry in western ND. In our spare time we love to spend time at the lake cabin on Lake Sakakawea and attend car shows. I did not grow up around classic cars, but Sonya has rubbed off on me and I am now hooked on the classics. A few years back I had learned Bobs “dream car” was a 1967 435 horse “tri-power” corvette. Me, being and accountant, had to figure out what exactly that meant. I learned quickly it was not an average car nor was it easy to find (or at least a real documented 435 car). Needless to say, through my research, I fell in love with the Corvette. Most of all, I enjoy the history behind the cars and meeting and visiting with fellow enthusiasts.
I will admit to being more of an accountant than a grease monkey but am slowly learning how to maintenance and fix the cars. It is nice to have so many car junkies around the area to always help. We have been involved in the NCRS for a few years and it is so nice to see so much passion for cars. I have spoken with members across the country, and everyone is so nice to visit with.
We are the current caretakers of a pair of 1966 427 Mosport green Corvettes. The first car is a roadster that was originally a Florida car. The car retains its original motor and mostly NOS parts but it has been converted to a side pipe car. The car has a very nicely done restoration and has been well maintained. Our goal is to continue to maintain and restore the car to one day be judged with the hopes of obtaining a Top Flight award.
The other 1966 427 car was purchased from Pete Rosa in Norwell, MA who meticulously restored the car to concours standards. We are the fourth owners of this car. The car is fully documented, retains the original drivetrain and was awarded the Duntov. The marketing ink pens and bottle opener from the selling dealer remain with the car! Additionally, in 2008, the car was reunited with the original salesperson from Mayes Chevrolet. The car is gorgeous and so fun to show to car enthusiasts. It represents a true piece of American history. We are honored to be the current caretakers. The prior owner, Pete Rosa, dedicated many years to restoring and maintaining the car. He owned the car for 27 years and logged less than 300 miles. The prior two owners of the car are still living. It would be fun to reunite all the owners of the car together. One fun fact is the license plate in MA was TOY and we were able to retain the same license plate in ND.
Our favorite Corvettes are the 1966 TOY cars, but we also enjoy cruising around a 1967 327/350 black/red coupe (original drivetrain but has been repainted), a 1969 black/saddle convertible 427/390 car (unrestored original), and a red/red 1989 Callaway Twin Turbo convertible (1100 original miles, Benchmark, Survivor, Bloomington Gold). While the quest for a 1967 435 car continues, the current collection has been a fun ride. Hopefully, we are able to make it to some of the NCRS events in the future. All the best and stay well!
September 2021 Member of the Month
Kristi & Ryan Clayson
Hello, my name is Kristi Clayson. My husband Ryan and I live in Otsego, MN. We’ve been together for 22 years overall and will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary in October. We don’t have any kids of our own, but we do have 4 furbabies that say meow. I work for the city of Minneapolis as a Section 8 port-in technician, and Ryan works as a business analyst for Allianz Life Insurance.
I’ve been a member of the chapter since 2019. We were encouraged to join after meeting Kevin Sullivan at a random car show in a Home Depot parking lot in Plymouth, MN, and talking about how we both had ‘61’s. We have had a lot of fun meeting members and learning more about what we have. Especially at the last 3 flight judging events and tech sessions. We are looking forward to getting to know more members at future events.
We have a 1961 Corvette with the Jewel Blue exterior and blue interior. It has the stock 283ci/230hp engine, but it does have a couple things that aren’t seen as much. It’s a hardtop only convertible. Yup, no soft top. It also has the Powerglide automatic transmission instead of the standard 3 speed manual, and the original owner opted to keep the coves the same color as the rest of the body instead of having them painted white. In doing some research we found that not many were made at the factory with all of those color and transmission choices together. Unfortunately we’ll never know the true number, but most we have talked to figure that it’s less than 100.
Since my dad never threw anything away, we know a good amount of the history of this car. We have the build sheet/fleet paperwork from the dealership and the original owner’s initial registration among other original paperwork for the car. It was purchased by Darlene Hemming at Fletcher Jones Chevrolet in Los Angeles in 1961. It spent its first 9 years in Southern California. Then in 1970 my dad, Gregg Tschida, was on a trip visiting his brother Bernie in San Diego when he saw the car drive by. He told his brother that he HAD to have that car. My uncle told him that the owner lived just down the street. Being the gregarious, outgoing person he was he went and knocked on her door and said he had to buy her car. She said no. The next day he went back and did the same thing. Same answer. He went back a third day and said he was going back to Minnesota the next day and he had to buy this car. She relented and told him she would sell it to him for $1400. He only had $1100. After some negotiation, and talking with her dad, she agreed on that $1100 price. He grabbed a tow bar and towed it back to MN the next day and it has been enjoyed here ever since.
As long as I can remember I have always been around Corvettes and loved them. I just thought it was a normal thing to have one, and often wondered why my friends’ parents didn’t. My dad got me hooked at a young age because he was always buying and selling them. Many generations were covered. Including a triple black ’62, a red ’63, a red ’65, a green ‘79, a gold ‘84, a red ‘91 convertible, a red ‘91 ZR-1 and a red ‘06 Z06 to name a few. We figure he had 15-20 different Corvettes over his lifetime. The ‘61 was always the special one though. I knew by the time I was 5 that I wanted this car when I got older. I told him that if he ever sold it I’d kill him. Thankfully he listened and didn’t disappoint his little girl. My family spent many years enjoying Corvettes as a part of the St. Croix Valley Corvette Association and the various events they would do which kept my interest in them high. The ‘61 was passed down to me when my father passed in 2018. It was bittersweet because I was finally able to drive the car I had loved since I was little, but the cost for that was my dad. I’d give anything to have him back so we could go for one last ride together. I named the car Gigi in memory of him (Gregg with 2 g’s). I know I’ll never be able to have him back, so I make sure I have the car our and enjoy it as often as possible to keep his memory alive.
Up next, we want to continue to learn about the intricacies of the car. During the time we’ve been in the chapter we have learned a ton from other members. Including just how little dad actually cleaned anything on the car. With the expertise and advice of those we’ve met, Gigi received her first chapter Top Flight award on her 3rd try at the spring meet this year so we may try for a regional next. We’d also like to bring her back down to Bloomington Gold and have it go through Survivor judging. My dad had it there in 1986 for the Silver Salute, but never had it judged. Most of all though, we want to continue to enjoy her for many more years. It was in storage for nearly 20 years between 1999 and 2018 so it still has relatively low mileage. Finally surpassing 100k miles in late 2019. In the 3 years we have been showing her we have heard so many stories about the car, and my dad, that we didn’t know about from many of his friends that hadn’t seen the car in years. We came to learn that many of those friends are members of this chapter as well. So thank you for sharing those stories with us. It has really helped with the healing.
October 2021 Member of the Month
Hi! My name is Jeff Graff. Even though I have been aware of the NCRS for 30 years (and have long-held aspirations of having my cars judged), it was a chance meeting with your current chairman, Chris Enstrom, at a car show this spring, that has put my NCRS ambitions into a higher gear.
I bought my first Corvette in 1990 at the ripe old age of 16! No, …no “silver spoon” here, just a lot of “back story” involved that put me on the trajectory to Corvette ownership at an early age. Today, I am proud to say that I own four Corvettes (with another one that I store and take care of for my dad). The sad part of my story is that they are all C4’s (sad only because I love all Corvette years and have aspirations of owning more)! I guess I will just have to keep working!
My Corvette story started 37 years ago (almost to the month) in July/August of 1984. My dad’s good friend and high school classmate had made the trip back to his (and our) little hometown of Springfield, Minnesota (from west Texas) and was driving his newly minted dark bronze 1984 Corvette! That first encounter has been cemented into my memory since its origin. That “glow-winky dash all lit up at night and everything about it was “overkill” to my little 11-year-old brain. It somehow didn’t “take” at first however. Being a child of the 80’s, one of the shows on my “watch list” was Knight Rider, and my plan was to someday have a Trans Am! It’s funny what a return trip a few years later and the chance to actually drive a Corvette can do to a kid’s priorities! Nothing but a Corvette would ever do!
Today, my little collection consists of:
– 1985 Corvette – My first, a medium gray metallic/carmine (red) interior coupe that today has about 37,000 miles. I bought this car (with the help of my dad) with 10,000 miles on it in 1990. Even though it was nice for its age, it wasn’t perfect. Little by little, I have spent 31 years addressing items on it with an eye toward originality. This car still has its “new car” smell, and when I finally start its NCRS judging, it will be a long-time dream come true!
– 1994 Corvette ZR-1 – While the C4 may be “my era” Corvette, it has always been the “ZR-1” within that era, that has been my dream car. By the fall of 2001, I was finally ready to make that dream come true. I found that dream in Naperville, Il in the form of a black ’94 ZR-1 with gray interior…which according to records is 1 of 6 of the 448 produced for that model year in that color combo. At purchase, my dream ZR-1 had 6,500 miles and currently has about 14,000. This car is #63 of 448 produced for 1994. I remember when I trailered it home from Chicago…so many people were sporting American flags on their vehicles in patriotic solidarity because of the 911 attacks that had happened just a month and a half earlier.
– 1996 Corvette Grand Sport – One of my best Corvette buddies (“Kap”) bought this car in 1998. After salivating over it for 10 years, I just “had to have it” when he decided to sell in 2009. Being a Grand Sport is one thing, but being Grand Sport #996 out of 1000 produced, was another! That little fact may or may not add any value to it, but I sure think it is cool and it is a talking piece. My Grand Sport has a black interior (not the other option of red) and has the F45 adjustable suspension. Today, I have about 16,000 miles on it. A neat little fact: It’s fuel rail cover was signed by Dave Hill sometime before Kap acquired it, and in August (if future Covid problems don’t wreck my plans), I will have John Heinricy sign the cover as well on a planned trip to Carlisle (John Heinricy was a brainchild of the Grand Sport and owns serial #0001).
– 1995 Corvette ZR-1 – You know, I really didn’t plan on building any “collection” of cars. Some of you understand though, that Corvettes can be kind of like potato chips! In all of this, I have wanted a “driver”, at least one that is more than just a limited mile collector car. I found what I was looking for in Santa Barbara, CA in April of 2012. While the car wasn’t exactly as advertised, I bought it “sight unseen” and followed through with the purchase, given what I felt was a “deal” for an asking price. What an adventure it has been! After flying out and picking up the car, my dad and I drove it down to southern California to visit friends, before heading home. The Grand Canyon, portions of Route 66, and Monument Valley were all encountered on our trip home! This was a challenge without air conditioning! …Especially when crossing Death Valley! I have put a lot of work into this car and even have had an extra 100 HP added by Marc Haibeck, a ZR-1 specialist in the Chicago area. This car has been a rolling project of sorts and I even race it and will again soon as part of my 4th trip to SORC (Sandhills Open Road Challenge) as a driver on August 10-14th. My ’95 ZR-1 is #400 of 448 built in the last year of C4 ZR-1 production and is Competition Yellow with a black interior, which makes it one of 49 ZR-1’s painted Competition Yellow for 1995.
I have really found it hard to write this piece for the newsletter, because my “rough draft” kept getting “out of hand” and trailing off into “novel” territory! I have met so many neat Corvette people over the years and have made many good memories!
A little more about myself… I was born and raised in the Springfield (southern MN area) – lived here all my life and grew up on the family farm. My dad has been in the insurance business since 1974 and I followed him into this and we even opened an independent agency together in May of 2000. It is a family business that involves my mom and a sister as well (out of 4 siblings). Today, we have our office in Springfield and a satellite office is Sioux Falls, SD. My customer’s insurance needs have led me to get licensed in MN, SD, IA, and WI. Besides insurance, I help my dad out on our farm raising cattle and growing crops of corn and soybeans.
Never married, but keeping an eye out, marriage has evaded me, which is probably a combination of being too busy, living in a smaller community, and probably just not finding “the one”. At this point, she would probably also have to like Corvettes! In my spare time, I also enjoy riding motorcycle, my farm pets, and spending time with nieces and nephews. I enjoy getting to the Okoboji lakes area when I can during the summer.
A bit of a perfectionist by nature, I plan on getting most of my Corvettes judged at future NCRS chapter events and hopefully even moving to higher levels. In not leaving well enough alone, my near future Corvette plans are in getting my yellow ZR-1 repainted…a result of its 86-year-old original owner with macular degeneration sometimes driving by the braille system! Ha, ha!
I hope to meet and see some of you again real soon!
November 2021 Member of the Month
Gary is married to Dawn and they have Tyler, Megan, Morgan, Roman, Mariah, Reece as children.
Corvette(s) that you have:
I have a 1981 Grey St. Louise Build 4 speed Named the Mistress(she is my car),
A 1981 Beige Bowling Green Build Auto/AC Named Missy(She is Dawns car),
And a 1972 red 350 automatic AC car, she is just Red(that is our car).
Our First Corvette was the Grey 1981 car. We bought it in 2015. For years we had dreamed of buying a corvette. When I was a young boy my dad had several Corvettes. My favorite was a 1968 427 convertible. It was white with blue interior. I drove it my senior year in high school. It was a dream car to drive. After highschool, the car was sold and for many years I waited to find the right car. After more than 25 years I had to scratch the itch. We had taken our truck to the tire shop for an alignment. That’s where I saw the Mistress. Dawn being the ever loving wife that she is told me to take it for a test drive. After 25 years of not having a Corvette I fell in love. Dawn looked at me and said “Well I will know who your Mistress is from now on”. The name stuck with the car and that is where we started this crazy journey.
What is your next Corvette project?
We are currently very deep into Dawns 1981. We are doing a complete nut and bolt restoration. The car is stripped completely down. We have a frame with nothing on it. Along the way we have documented every nut and bolt that we have removed. Thousands of pictures and every nut, bolt, and screw has been cleaned, bagged and tagged. A unique find was that her 1981 car has a Buick transmission in it. We have the original JD8 tag and the word buick is on it. The Vin is stamped in the alternate location on the tail housing. Another interesting thing about the car is that the Window Sticker calls out a MX1 transmission. The Build sheet (original from the tank) calls MX2 transmission in it. Our goal is to have it restored to Flight in 5 years.
North Central Chapter – When did you join? What activity do you like best? Judging? Car cruises? Tech Sessions?
We joined the chapter in 2021. We enjoyed the meet held at Eagan. We tend to enjoy the social aspect the most. The fall social was a fantastic event to attend. There is a huge wealth of knowledge in the North Central Chapter. Learning for senior members is always enjoyable. We hope to continue long into the future supporting the North Central chapter.
December 2021 Member of the Month
Are you married? Yes
Spouses name? Danelle. She’s an investigator with the local Sheriff’s office.
Do you have children? yes
If yes, their names? Savannah, 17, and Giselle, 12.
Corvette(s) that you have:
Overview of your car(s): model, engine, convertible?, coupe? I only have one, though I’ve owned many Corvettes (more than 60). It is a 1957 RPO 579C, a fuel injected 283/283hp with a four speed (originally a three speed). Soft top only. Original engine. Black with red interior. Some original paint in the interior. One repaint over the original paint many years ago. Just under 43,000 miles.
History of your Corvette(s): My car was assembled March 21, 1957 as per Mike Hunt’s Project ’56/’57. It was shipped to CS Mead Chevrolet in Pasadena, California, probably arriving in early to mid April. It’s first few months are a bit mysterious, but the guy who may have been the original owner, the late Dalton Danon of Beverly Hills, bought it at Schonlaw Chevrolet in Hollywood in July 1957 with a few hundred miles on it and several race modifications. Dalton became a friend of mine after I bought the car in 2012. He passed away in 2014. He told me to never forget that the car’s original dealer was CS Mead, and he said that was very significant but he couldn’t remember why. Dalton bought the car primarily to race, and he did a lot of that at the various tracks in the southern half of California. Dalton road raced and drag raced the car extensively in SCCA and Cal Cub events. He said the politics were difficult, to say the least. Dalton won 44 trophies racing the car, finishing first on several occasions. set a track record at San Fernando drag strip in June, 1958 (12.7), and won the California State Championship in his class in 1958 in the quarter mile. All of these trophies and certificates are in my posession. He told me lots of racing stories that I’ll save for another day. He had to quit serious racing when he was diagnosed with throat cancer in late 1959, but he continued to run in parking lot gymkhanas until he sold the car to his mechanic in 1964. He said that was a huge mistake.
The second owner, the late Sam Woodbury, Jr. of Rancho Palos Verdes continued to drag race the car, winning at least 8 more trophies which are also in my garage with the car. Sam used the car very little, and because of failing health didn’t drive the car at all for the last 10 years of his life. Sam died in 2005, and the car sat for another 6 years before his widow decided that it should be sold. At that time the car was sent to Dick Guldstrand’s shop for a refresh, since it had sat for so long. Again, I bought the car in 2012.
This car spent all of it’s years until I bought it in southern California. It’s frame is completely rust-free, and the original frame stencil is in excellent shape under some light overspray from the car’s repaint (assembly date 2 . 27. 57). It has not been wet since I got it almost 10 years ago. The right rear fender was replaced when Sam spun the car long ago, and he also lightly damaged the left front. Dalton was emphatic in telling me that he never put a scratch on the car, which is incredible with all of the racing that he did. Also difficult to understand is the survival of the original block, though Dalton said he regularly revved it over 7000 rpm. I have a theory about that, but no proof. The car did have extensive and rather technical race modifications when Dalton bought it in July, 1957.
Today it is unrestored, and in virtually the same condition that it was when I bought it, and much the same as the day that it left the track. Sam had removed the open exhaust, the traction bars and some other race equipment, but they were included with the car. I put most of this back on, along with the roll bar Dalton had made for it in the fall of ’57, and I put Dalton’s favorite race numbers back on; 22. That was his birthday, July 22. Coincidentally it’s also my birthday, May 22. 1957. Anyway, I put the numbers on and installed the roll bar so that I could send pictures of it in race trim to Dalton by his birthday in the first summer that I had the car. He hadn’t seen it that way since 1959. Needless to say, that was really fun, and I’ve left the car in race trim.
When did you buy it (them)? Do you or your car(s) have a unique story to tell about how you got into the Corvette hobby? We used to watch Route 66 when I was a kid, and my older brother helped my cousin build a Devon on the frame of a ’54 Corvette. Then he bought a ’57 Chevy with a Corvette engine, and then he bought a real 1962 Corvette! I was totally hooked by the time I was about 6 or 7.
I used to buy tired Corvettes because that was all that I could afford. I would buy a solid axle and fix it up, and then decide that I should have a Sting Ray. Then back to a solid axle. And on and on. If I could have afforded two I probably would have stopped. I will never get tired of ’67 and older Corvettes.
What is your next Corvette project? I don’t have a plan for another Corvette project, but you never know with me.
~~~ North Central Chapter:
When did you join? What activity do you like best? Judging? Car cruises? Tech Sessions? I’ve been a member of NCRS for many years, but I just joined the North Central Chapter about a year ago. I wish that I didn’t live so far away from everyone else. Between a busy work and family life I’m not sure when I’ll get to meet you guys, but hopefully sometime soon!
My car was featured in the Restorer in the summer of 2018.