You remember the first time you saw a Vette and said to yourself, “What’s that?!” Sure you do!
Let’s hear your “First Time” Corvette story. Use the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of this post.
There’s a first time for everything, right. Do you remember the first time you became aware of a Corvette? I’ll be you do, I certainly do. Although it was a very long time ago, I never forgot it. Here’s what happened.
It was the mid-’60s and like most boys, I was into building plastic models. There was something magical about seeing those kit boxes wrapped in plastic with artwork of the models, photos, and all kinds of interesting information, most of which I didn’t have a clue about. I built all kinds of models, as I wasn’t into anything specific, just the experience of building a model kit. I built ships, airplanes, boats, rockets, monsters, Rat Finks, and a few cars.
And opening the box was a real kick to. You break open the plastic, carefully take the lid off and inside was all this interesting stuff! Military models often had mostly silver-gray parts on trees, or sprues. Model cars were usually white and there was always one sprue tree that was bright chrome (vacmetalizing was just a total mystery to us kids), one was clear plastic, usually for the glass and headlights, and a clear red sprue for the taillights. Plus a decal sheet and an instruction sheet with wonderful exploded isometric technical illustrations that showed you how to build your model. It was all a delightful kid’s experience. But I wasn’t really into the car thing, just yet.
My brother, Bob, is seven years older than me and like a lot of young fellows starting out, he quickly went through several cars. His first car was a black ‘59 Rambler Ambassador (I knew it was an ugly car even back then), then he had an old mid-’50s Ford that was nothing worth remembering, except for the cool whip antenna he put on the car. My brother’s cars didn’t get my attention until he bought a 2-door, ‘57 Chevy Bel Air. Yea, the car that I’m sure he wishes he still owned. I knew nothing about the car other than it was COOL! And when you’re 10 or 11 years old, there ain’t nothing better than riding with your big brother in his cool car – except for maybe getting into his collection of Playboy magazines that we were sure Mom didn’t know about!
We lived in Collingswood, New Jersey and Bob bought his used ‘57 Chevy at Haddonfield Chevrolet, on Haddon Avenue. One day Bob had to take the car back for servicing and he asked if I wanted to go for a ride – as if I needed an excuse to take a ride in his Chevy. When we arrived at the dealership, Bob went back into the service department to do manly important stuff, and he told me to wait for him in the showroom.
While sitting in the showroom, I saw a car that I’d never noticed on the streets before and really didn’t know what I was looking at. As I walked around the car, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen! It was low and sleek, and had the most interesting pointed rear window area. And where are the headlights?! Yes, it was a ‘65 Corvette Sting Ray Coupe. I must have looked like Jethro Bodine, all open mouthed and bucolic, gawking at the car, because I got the attention of a salesman. “You like that car, huh, kid?” “Oh yea!” I replied. There were racks with car brochures close by and the salesman took one of the Corvette brochures, scribbled his name on the front (as car salesmen are won’t to do!), handed it to me and said, “Here ya go kid!”
The 16 page, full-color brochure was a delight and touched me in many ways. A few years ago, I bough one on eBay (someone had used a ball-point pen and circled the “1965” in the upper right corner – probably a salesman) The catalog that was given to me back in ‘65 is long gone and I’d forgotten what was inside. When I received by eBay purchase, I was astonished at what was inside. In addition to the wonderful color photos of the ‘65 Corvette, there are 26 pen & ink technical illustrations. Which is exactly the kind of art I eventually learned how to create!
So, not only did my first Corvette experience set me off on a lifetime interest, it affected my choice of career! So, what was YOUR “first Corvette experience?” At the bottom of this post, there’s a “Leave a Reply” box. Let’s hear from you and get the conversation going. Happy New Year Everyone, and “Save the Wave!” – Scott
PS – Earlier this year, I had an email exchange with a Corvette print customer and closed my letter with the expression, “Save the Wave!” The person wrote back and asked that that meant. That’s when it occurred to me that I an inadvertently “dated” myself. “Save the Wave” came from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s when there were relatively few Corvettes on the road. When owners would see one another in passing, they would often wave to one another. It was a quick and easy acknowledgment of being members of an unofficial and exclusive club of Corvette owners. I’m not 100-percent sure, but I think it might have been Corvette marketing wiz and Corvette News editor, Joe Pike that was responsible for promoting the “Save the Wave” Corvette greeting.
Here’s a sweet little essay from an article titled, “Save the Wave” that appeared in the August/September 1969 issue of Corvette News, the free magazine that all new Corvette owners received many years ago.
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