Corvette

TOUCH OF GOLD 2016

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I love Corvettes. It’s a passion that started when I was in high school and continues to this day. This is evidenced by all the useless Corvette facts rolling around in my head… the several trips I make each year to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky (CLICK HERE to read about my recent visit.)… the countless hours I spend on-line, looking at Corvettes for sale across the country… a wall full of Corvette “junk” hanging in the man cave… and the fact that about 80% of all the T-shirts I own have something to do with Corvettes or a Corvette event. My wife claims I have Corvette-Radar… able to spot a Corvette miles in the distance on most every drive we take. Probably true.

So of course, one of the area shows I look forward to each year is the “Touch Of Gold” show which is organized by The Nashville Corvette Club and features America’s sports car. This years event was held on the campus of O’more College of Design in Franklin, Tennessee on September 10th… and the weather was perfect. There were a lot of great vehicles on hand but three in particular stood out to me… a 1972 LT-1 in Sunflower Yellow (1 of 1,336 produced), a 1963 fuel-injected split-window couple in Riverside Red with gorgeous side pies and rally wheels, and a 1978 Silver Anniversary (2-tone without the Pace Car graphics) that was originally purchased by none other than country music legend Waylon Jennings. You can pick them out below.

Thanks to the Nashville Corvette Club for a great event.

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“Touch Of Gold” is not just about Corvettes. Other makes and models are also welcome. Here’s a few pics for the non Corvette fans.

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THE NATIONAL CORVETTE MUSEUM

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General Motors had a problem with their St. Louis assembly plant back in 1980. Production of America’s only true sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette, was booming and they needed more room. Unfortunately, there weren’t any expansion possibilities where they were located on Union Blvd. so GM executives began contemplating a move.

Meanwhile, the city of Bowling Green, Kentucky caught wind of the bow tie company’s predicament and were sure they had the solution. Having just inherited a 1 million square feet abandoned air conditioning plant from Chrysler, the city council offered GM a lease deal on the building that they couldn’t refuse and the rest is history. Corvette production began in Bowling Green, Kentucky on June 1, 1981 and continues there to this day.

Further solidifying Bowling Green as the official home of Corvette was the opening of the National Corvette Museum in September of 1994… just 1/4 mile from the assembly plant. Today, the National Corvette Museum serves as a hub for all things Corvette and attracts nearly a quarter of a million enthusiasts each year from all over the wold. Fortunately for me, I live close enough that I get to visit the museum 2 or 3 times a year. And let me tell you, if you have a passion for Corvette’s like I do, you must make the trip no matter how far away you live.

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The National Corvette Museum takes you on a tour of the history of America’s only true sports car. You’ll find yourself engulfed in historical information that dates back to the 1954 Worlds Fair, where Corvette was first introduced to the public. You’ll learn about the influential men and women whose perseverance (sometimes even against the will of GM) launched and maintained the model they were so passionate about… the Chevrolet Corvette.

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Of course, Corvette’s history could not be told without highlighting men like Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell and “The Father of the Corvette” Zora Duntov who is responsible for taking Corvette from a docile roadster to a serious sports car that would challenge Porsche, Ferrari, and Maserati. You can even take a look at Zora’s personal 1974 Corvette.

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Part of the museum is dedicated to the nostalgic era of Corvette, including the 1950s, 60s and 70s models. A reproduction full-service Mobil gas station highlights the simplicity of generations gone by when life was simpler and Corvette was beginning it’s domination of the sports car world.

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Another area gives you a peek into the world of Corvette research and development. There are even a few one-of-a-kind concept cars that you won’t see anywhere else… like the 1968 Astro-Vette which was used to study aerodynamics and would eventually see it’s chrome-less front and rear bumpers in production later in the mid 1970s.

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The Indy Concept Car below was used in 1986 to develop advanced technology for systems and components that would also find their way into production models in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Another interesting thing about this car is it’s mid-engine design. This car could still be influencing production models we are yet to see!

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The National Corvette Museum is also home to the Corvette Hall of Fame which was established in 1998 to confer official recognition upon the most influential individuals in the history of the Corvette and honor their achievements.

Racing is a big part of Corvette’s history and The National Corvette Museum pays homage with a significant display of historical Corvette race cars like the one below. This ZR-1 Corvette with a stock 1990 engine made history on March 1 & 2, 1990 by setting three world records plus seven FIA International Class records during the trials at Fort Stockton, TX.

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A line of Corvette Pace cars circles the indoor Sky Dome to demonstrate Corvette’s rich history in pacing some of the biggest races in North America… including the Indianapolis 500 which Corvette has paced a record 13 times over the years.

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As you’ve most likely heard, The National Corvette Museum made worldwide news in 2015 when a natural sink hole opened up under the Sky Dome and damaged 8 classic Corvettes. (Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Fortunately the museum was not open at the time and nobody was hurt.) The new “sink-hole” display was just opened this year and documents the entire event for visitors with a reenactment, a display of the 8 cars that were damaged, and the completely restored and rebuilt 1-millionth Corvette that was part of the “great eight” involved in the carnage.

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Of course everything I’ve talked about to this point is great, but the real treat of visiting the National Corvette Museum is the cars you get to see! Depending on when you visit, rare and classic Corvette’s await you. Display cars change often but on my last visit, a few week ago, I was able to see a 1957 Corvette SuperSport that was built to participate in international races, Grand Sport and Collector Edition 1996 models, a 1969 Riverside Gold 427 survivor with 36,000 original miles, and the one and ONLY 1983 Corvette.

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Grabbing a quick bite to eat is no problem while you visit The National Corvette Museum. Enjoy a salad or burger at the “on-site” Corvette Cafe (at a very fair price I might add) and get back to the good stuff as quick as you can! You’ll also want to stop in the Corvette Museum Library & Archives office to pick up a copy of your cars build sheet (back to 1981) or complete your research on any particular year or Corvette model. They know their stuff!

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And finally… you must drop by the Corvette Store (or as I like to call it… the money pit) before you leave. This place is Corvette heaven and offers everything you can imagine Corvette including cool shits, hats, models, puzzles, cleaning products… and more, and more, and more! It’s a Corvette enthusiast shopping spree just waiting to happen.

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Can you tell that I love this place yet? I could go on… but let me just stop here and tell you that if you are a Corvette enthusiast like me, you HAVE to visit Bowling Green and The National Corvette Museum. Put it on your bucket list. Make the extra effort to get there and find out why I have re-named it “My Happy Place!”


COMBINING MUSIC AND GREAT CARS IN NASHVILLE

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Everybody wants to be a Rock Star… right? Well, most of us don’t have the talent required but maybe we can be treated like one when buying a classic, sport or luxury car. That’s the vibe at Nashville’s Rock Star Motorcars. Boasting one of the largest indoor showrooms in Music City, the Rock Star staff includes professional musicians, Nashville songwriters, and other music professionals… and get this, there is a pro-quality recording studio on-site. The music and cars theme is everywhere… and speaking of the latter… the inventory on the day I dropped by was quite impressive and included everything from 1960s muscle cars to BMWs to Corvettes to classic trucks to a Tesla Roadster, and just about everything in between. I’ve never purchased a vehicle from Rock Star Motorcars but if if a classic, sport or luxury car is on your want list, you might want to check them out. They also have a great website that showcases their current inventory. Check out www.rockstarmotorcars.com.

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1966 C2 SURVIVOR… IT DOESN’T GET MUCH BETTER!

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When you go to a show like Goodguys, you can easily get lost in the beauty of the perfectly restored vehicles on display. The level of craftsmanship that goes into some of the classics and customs at these larger National shows is astounding for sure… but I also keep an eye out for any true survivors that might be in the crowd. Especially when we are talking about Corvettes… and in particular, 2nd Generation Corvettes. There is something special about a 1963-1967 Corvette that is unrestored, a little flawed, not quite perfect… and yet beautiful in all of it’s original glory. A true survivor of times past. I spotted this 1966 survivor at Goodguys Nashville this spring and of course, even in the midst of some of the most beautiful high-dollar customs in the world, this beauty stole the show for me.

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GOODGUYS NASHVILLE 2016

I look forward to the Goodguys show in Nashville every year… and 2016 did not disappoint. Here are a few of my favorites on the day!

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A DEDICATED RACER

Those that know me, understand that I am a third generation Corvette fanatic. It goes way back to when I was 17 years old and a ’69 model my father owned… but anyway, I love to photograph C3 Corvettes  every chance I can.

This car took part in an autocross event I photographed recently and of course immediately caught my eye.  But after talking to the owner, the car became even more special. This car was brought brand new in 1978 and was immediately put on a trailer to be used as a track car. The car has literally been a dedicated race car it’s entire life. Pretty cool.

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CORVETTES AND AUTOCROSS!!!

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I recently had the opportunity to photograph the Nashville Corvette Club’s autocross event at Twin Fountains Raceway in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Turn out was great with everything from daily drivers to cars that are dedicated racing machines taking to the track. The event drew participants from all over the mid-west and the action was non-stop for two days.

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I’m a little embarrassed to admit it but… The first time I heard of Autocross was just a few years ago when the Good Guys show rolled into Nashville, Tennessee and challenged my doubting mind. Frankly, it seemed a little out of place to have a racetrack set up in the parking lot of the car show. And seriously, how fun could it be to watch fast cars constrained on a small course of plastic pylons? Well, as it turns out, I found out that autocross is seriously fun and the perfect venue to test man and machine. George Kimble of the Nashville Corvette Club perhaps put it best when he described autocross as not so much racing but more “precision driving.” That’s exactly what it is. It’s driver’s learning their cars and pushing them to the edge to get the very best performance possible.

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Autocross emphasizes safe competition and differs from road racing in that there is only one car on the track at a time racing the clock rather than other cars. Because of this format, drivers of all skill levels can participate. Men and women, young and older participated on this weekend with everybody having the same goal of making their next run faster than their last one. Most were successful in doing so but two things were for sure. First, everybody had a great time and secondly, each participant walked away knowing their cars a little better while having improved their personal driving skills. Win, win!

Visit The Nashville Corevtte Club on-line at www.nashvillecorvetteclub.com.

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FIRST CRUISE-IN OF THE SEASON

The first cruise-in of the season is always a special one. Everyone is “itching” to get out and brush the dust off the rides… and just hang! Well, today was that day for me. I made my way south of Nashville for the Gateway Classic Cars of Nashville customer appreciation day. The weather was perfect and turnout was fantastic… and included the local Corvette, Chevelle and Mopar clubs… as well as solo car geeks like me. Here are some of my favorites. Happy cruise-in season everyone!

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OUTSIDE LOOKING IN…

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I love car and bike shows… probably a little too much since they seem to take up way more of my time than any normal person should allow. They are my obsession I suppose, but I just can’t help it. I love to see classic vehicles and all the things that their owners have done to preserve them. It’s educational, giving me a lot of ideas for my own projects. It’s nostalgic, reminding me of simpler times and the historical significance of the US auto and bike industries over the years. It’s therapeutic, captivating my thoughts for a few hours and allowing me to forget real-world issues and pressures that we all face in adult life. And it brings up fond memories of my youth that includes vehicles I’ve owned in years past and great times I’ve had working on them with my dad. IT’S FUN!!!

Yes… I’ve been known to wander a car or bike show from open to close many times, looking at the same vehicles over and over… but eventually the doors have to close and they kick me out for the night. Sometimes that’s when the fun starts though. I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of the best cars and bikes you will see at a show are not on the show floor but rather in the parking lot. All of the photos in this post were taken in the parking lot of shows I’ve been to. I hope you enjoy them and I also hope that the next time you’re leaving a show, you’ll keep your eyes open on the way back to the car. You might just see some of the best rides all day on the outside looking in.

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MOTION PHOTOGRAPHY

I’ve been messing around with motion photography. Here is my first real attempt… it will get better!

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HOW TO BEAT THE DARK MONTHS!

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Let’s be honest… the “Dark Months” (that time between November 1st and March 1st when most days are dark, dreary, cold and filled with precipitation) are not fun. Classic cars and motorcycles spend a lot of time under wraps while owners look for ways to maintain their gear-head sanity. One way of doing so is to check out the local car shows… which is exactly what I did this weekend. The indoor event was just what I needed to give me a little boost while I wait for the Spring weather to break. I saw everything from Rats to Resto-Mod Corvettes and just about everything in between. Here are a few pictures. After you take a look, get out there and support your own local shows. It will do your motorized heart a world of good!

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1968: The Third Generation of Corvette Begins!

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When you say the words American sports car, most immediately think of the Chevrolet Corvette. And why wouldn’t you? The fiberglass bodied wonder has been captivating men and women alike since it’s debut in 1953 and continues to make the hearts of the young and old in 2016 race a little bit faster at the sight of it’s seventh generation curves.

C7Did I say seventh generation? Yes, the Corvette has gone through seven major designs and re-designs since it’s inception and along the way has brought about technological advances that have kept it ahead of its competition and added new generations of fans and enthusiasts that have fallen in love with the Corvette model. But before I get too caught up in the beauty of the new C7 Corvette, let me step back in time and focus on my personal favorite generation of Corvette… the C3 or third generation and in particular… the 1968 model which ushered in a 15 year run of beautiful “Coke Bottle” shaped Corvettes.

Following the highly successful 2nd generation of Corvettes (1963 to 1967) was no easy task. The “new” design was a stretch for it’s time, drawing inspiration from a now legendary and MAKOthen quite futuristic 1965 Mako Shark II concept car. With it’s radical new body lines and completely re-designed interior, the 1968 Corvette was first met with skepticism but soon won over the public and the industry “experts” with its performance, eye-popping beauty, removable roof panels (T-Tops), flush door handles, front fender cooling vents, aviation inspired instrument cluster and a new optional Turbo Hydramatic 3-speed automatic transmission. Within months, the third generation Corvette was a major hit and kicked off the longest generation of Corvettes, lasting all the way up until 1982… and even surviving an assembly plant relocation from St. Louis, Missouri to Bowling Green, Kentucky during the 1981 production year.

And speaking of the Bowling Green, Kentucky plant (the current home of Corvette production and the National Corvette Museum), I recently had the privilege of attending the Bowling Green Assembly Corvette Club annual cruise-in held on the plant grounds, and spotted these two fine examples of ’68 models. The Rally Red car is a restored car and the Lemans Blue model is slightly modified. Both cars are perfect examples of the C3 Corvette and either would be welcome in my garage!

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CRAZY EIGHTS!

I’ve been told that the original 8-track player in my ‘vette is worth a lot of money. I have no interest in upgrading (I will be keeping the original) so it was only logical for me to try and find some 8-track tapes to play in it. Well, last weekend I scored these. All I can say is… the ‘vette will be rockin’ now!

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AN EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR MYSELF – OPTIMA DIGITAL 400

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It’s definitely winter time here in Middle Tennessee! A far cry from what some other parts of the country are facing, but we are looking at lows in the 20s for the next week and the possibility of snow on Monday. That’s pretty drastic for mid November around here.

I’ve always kept my motorcycles and classic vehicles on battery tenders throughout the year but since I haven’t had the Vette all that long, so far it’s been “tenderless”… if that’s a word! And since it is juiced by an Optima REDTOP battery, it’s always been in the back of my mind that I’d love to have an Optima Digital 400 to maintain it. Well, today I dropped by Tennessee Speed Sport and gave myself an early birthday present.

This thing is way cool. It first analyzes your battery to see where it’s at and checks for proper connection. Then, if necessary, it will do a soft-ramp charge if the battery is deeply discharged. If not it automatically goes into bulk mode or conditioning mode as needed, followed by a float mode. It even has a recondition mode that kicks in every 30 days… though I do not plan to keep my car parked anywhere near that long.

To top it off (no pun intended), it has an easy to use push button menu and a cool “fuel gauge” that let’s you know the charging status at a glance. All this adds up to a pretty high-tech and intelligent tender. Happy birthday to me!

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STONES RIVER CAR CLUB HARVEST CRUISE-IN

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Had a great time with the good folks of the Stones River Car Club today. They are part of the Antique Automobile Club of America and are based just south of Nashville. I pulled the Vette out of the garage at 7:30am and was greeted by a brisk and sunny morning that turned into one of the most beautiful days of the year. It couldn’t have been a better day for a cruise-in and while I was one of the first guys to arrive, the place filled up quickly with some great looking cars. Here are some of my favorites. You can see more photos here.

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WILSON COUNTY BANK & TRUST OKTOBERFEST

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I made my way to Lebanon, Tennessee this afternoon to check out the Wilson County Bank & Trust Oktoberfest… which happens to host one of the largest antique vehicle shows in the area. It’s a great family oriented event that includes not only a great car show but live music, art contests, crafts, and a lot more. Here are just a few pics of vehicles that particularly caught my eye.

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CORVETTE EXPO

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The 37th Corvette Expo took place in Sevierville, Tennessee this weekend, so I combined a little business and fun, to check it out. The event included a Park N Show, Sales Corral, a cruise of the Smokies, a huge Swap Meet and a decent sized Auction. I wandered around for a few hours and enjoyed the show cars. I even found a hard-to-find trim part for my car, at the Swap meet, for about 1/4 the cost of a replacement part. The auction was interesting. From what I saw, the cars that sold were going for pretty fair prices.

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Here are some random photos from the day. If you are a Corvette fan, I’d highly recommend this show. The horrid Sevierville traffic is a pain for sure… but in the end it’s worth fighting to get to the Expo.

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AACA – A DIFFERENT KIND OF CLUB

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There are a lot of car clubs around Middle Tennessee. Most are brand/model specific but the Antique Automobile Club of America is different. AACA is a National organization that dates back to 1936. There are chapters all over the USA and they are open to all brands, models and years of vehicles. In fact, you don’t even have to own a vehicle to be a member of AACA. You basically just have to love cars.

Because of these guidelines… AACA car shows typically draw a very wide range of vehicles. I attended one today, just outside of Nashville, and saw a little bit of everything including classic muscle cars, vintage Jaguars, “A” Model Fords and more. Here’s a few pics.

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THE SUN IS SETTING ON THE CRUISE-IN SEASON

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I hate to admit it but the sun is setting on the cruise-in season here in Middle Tennessee. I took this photo tonight at the local hotrod gathering and it was a blatant reminder that the times, they are a changin’. Yep… it’s getting colder and the days are getting shorter. I’m going to miss you summer… you’ve been a good one!

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I FOUND THE HOLY GRAIL!

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Last week I posted some photos from the local Corvette club show. There were a lot of great cars there, but one in particular stood out to me. Look at this gorgeous 63 coupe! There is nothing I don’t like about this car. Small block, 4-speed, side pipes, spilt-window, gorgeous red… and I absolutely LOVE rally wheels on a C2. They just look “right” to me. The only odd thing about this car is that it has Fuel Injected badges… but isn’t. Numbers matching would be icing on the cake too… but honestly, who cares when the car looks like this. Absolutely stunning. This is my holy grail!

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CRUISE-IN SEASON IS COMING TO AN END

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I hate to admit it but… cruise-in season is coming to an end. With just a few more weeks before all the local ones shut down for the winter, I’m trying to get a few more in. I attended one south of Nashville tonight and although the sky was VERY overcast and turnout was pretty low, I had a good time, met a few new people, and saw a lot of cool Vette’s. Here are some pics.

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2014 TOUCH OF GOLD SHOW

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I spent a good portion of the day at the Touch of Gold car show in Franklin, TN. today. The show is put on by the Nashville Corvette Club… so it is Corvette heavy… but there were other cars there as well. Here’s a few of my fav’s for you. I took a ton more photos that I will be sharing soon. The car at the top was my pick for the day. A beautiful 63 that has undergone a complete frame-off restoration. I will be dedicating an entire post to this car soon.

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SINK HOLE!!!

By now, I’m sure everybody knows that back in February a massive sink hole opened up right under the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Eight rare Corvette’s were sucked right into the earth. I went up about a month ago to see the damage for myself… and although pix cannot capture the massiveness of the hole… maybe these will at least give you an idea of what happened and the results. I’m also including security camera footage of the incident in case you’ve not seen it.

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A BUSY SUMMER

Wow! I just realized that I haven’t made a post here in a few months. I’ve been pretty busy this summer with work… often working 8 to 5, then starting up after dinner and working more until 10 or so. I have made time for riding and driving though. Here’s a few pix from some of the cruise-ins and shows I’ve attended.

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One of the coolest trucks I’ve seen in a while was at a local truck show a couple of months ago. It’s on a NASCAR frame with a NASCAR motor. Pretty dang bad!

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I made it up to Champagne, IL. for the Bloomington Gold Corvette show this summer. Some incredible cars there but maybe none as cool as this 64 model. This is an unrestored, survivor car with less than 4500 actual miles on it. Just like it came off the showroom floor!

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Otis on display at the local truck show.

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Another cool one from Bloomington Gold. This car was just in attendee parking.

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Gotta love the BIG BLOCK mid-year Vette’s!

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Love, love, love this car!!!!

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