My Corvette Story
I bought my first Corvette (a 1959) in 1967 when I got back from Vietnam because I thought Vettes were the coolest cars on the planet. It was run hard and mechanically trashed. I paid $500.00 for it. Did a lot of body work, painted it primer gray, bought a 327 and a 4-speed from a junkyard, built both over and viola, I had my dream car! I drove it for the next two years while back in college. Sold it in 1969 for $1,000.00 and bought a 1962 ragtop as a graduation present to myself. Went to work as an engineer for Ford so I could eat. I first worked with the 427 SOHC “Cammer” motor after it was banned from Nascar racing. It was phased out and I was moved on to the Boss 302 development team. From there I was assigned to the team for development of the Boss 429 for Nascar racing and was made team leader shortly thereafter. I was given a nice white 1969 Boss 429 Mustang to drive. The Boss 429 Mustang only saw two production years. But I still loved Corvettes, so I acquired another used one in 1972, a big block 1967 that had been rear ended. Traded my ragtop and $500.00 for it. Fixed the body and drove that one until 1975 when I left Ford to become an entrepreneur in California. Had to give back the Mustang.
I bought my first new Corvette, a silver 1975. Pulled the L-82 out a week after I picked it up in St. Louis at the factory. Much faster with the big block 427 rat motor. Over the next 8 years I bought and sold four other used Vettes – a 1968, a 1969, a 1972, and a 1974. Still drove the 1975 and a 1968 Plymouth Hemi GTX. In 1986 my wife bought matching dark green Vettes for us on my birthday, so I sold the 1975. Later I bought a new 1990 ZR-1. After my wife passed away in 1992, I kept the ZR-1 and gave the matching 1986’s to a couple who were our closest friends. In my years in Denver I have also owned a 1992 ZR-1 which I bought in 1994 from a fellow in Stewart, New York who had put only 1,200 miles on it. Eventually sold both ZR-1’s and bought a 2002 – museum pick-up. Did a complete restoration of a 1968 rag top in 2002 for a young man named Tom Fanta, who is as close to a son as I will ever have. Sold the 2002 and bought a 2008 – museum pick-up. Sold 2008 and bought my current Vette, a 2015 ZO6 with every option available at the time. Deb and I picked it up together on May 22, 2015 at the museum. Had I been blessed with the ability to see or predict the future I would have kept all 15 of those Vettes and the GTX, stolen the Mustang and had a fantastic car collection worth millions today. However, every Corvette I ever owned I sold for a profit.
Born in New York City. Lived there for the first 4 years of my life. Lived on a farm in upstate western New York for several years with my grandmother and uncles. Worked 1,200 acre farm with uncles. High school in Albion, New York. Would have graduated 1964 but got early graduation in 1962 with GATE program. Played basketball. If not for two extraordinarily selfless and caring teachers who guided me and insisted that I reach higher than I believed I could, and who made it possible for me to achieve those heights, I’d be a poor retired farmer in a podunk town today. Aced the SAT and received a National Merit Scholarship. I went on to Syracuse University – majored in mechanical engineering. Drafted in 1964 while in college – some so-called guidance counselor forgot to tell me about a secondary education deferment possibility. Thought the Army was a bad idea – all those kids were going directly to Vietnam. So I spoke with a Marine recruiter who sold me on the Corps and said I could probably stay state-side. Didn’t happen. Basic at Parris Island, then LRRP training with Army Rangers and off to beautiful downtown Vietnam with a scenic side trip to the snake and insect infested jungles of sunny Cambodia. Really sucked as scenic tours go. Couple of minor medals for being shot and back home in ’67 in time for my junior year. Graduated SC laude and went to work at Ford in 1969. After leaving Ford in 1975 I owned service stations and a machine shop, built a restaurant (dinner house) from ground up, and built my first spec home. I bought my first new Corvette, a silver 1975. Built motors and other stuff in my machine shop while building a couple more spec homes over the next few years. In 1983 I sold the restaurant, service stations and the machine shop and moved to Newport Beach. Commenced building spec homes in Orange County. Met my wife-to-be and married in 1983. She wanted a business so we opened a dry cleaning store. Then we began designing and building them for others. Made an ungodly amount of money doing that and building spec homes. My wife died in 1992 (lung cancer). Moved to Denver in 1993 after selling everything except the Vettes.
Skills (and businesses)
When I arrived in Denver I bought four properties for nothing down and proceeded to remodel them for sale. That same year I remodeled a kitchen for a friend of my mother. That’s what started Creative Building and Design, my present business. I began to get word of mouth jobs because of my mother’s friend who apparently knew everyone within a thousand-mile radius. I have her to thank for making my business successful from the start. The rest is history, I never looked back. Today I am a licensed contractor in 26 different municipalities throughout Colorado. And now, after nearly 27 years, my business consists of three divisions; a commercial division wherein we build commercial buildings from the ground up and do tenant improvements of all types, a residential division wherein we build custom homes from the ground up, and a remodel and addition division wherein we do all types of remodels and additions including building detached garages. My staff, some of whom have been with me over twenty years, and I do all our own work and rarely hire sub-contractors except in the commercial and residential divisions. There is nothing pertaining to building or remodeling of any type that we cannot or will not do. In addition to my construction and building business, I am a minor partner with Janet Jackson in her business, Starburst Circle Enterprises, which does various maintenance projects at Circle K stations throughout Colorado. She and her husband Bob spent many years building a very successful business relationship with Circle K. Had it not been for our membership in the Colorado Corvette Club and the lasting friendships that are formed within our fold, I would never have had the opportunity to work with Janet in her business upon Bob’s untimely passing. It is truly a blessing to work with not just a partner, but a true and trusted friend.
Obviously Corvettes – and other older cars. I will be doing a resto-mod restoration on a 1966 El Camino which was given to me by a friend of 45 years who passed a year ago last October. I read voraciously and I love Country Music – the old type – Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette to name a few, and Elvis. My special interest is “paying it forward.” If not for those two teachers who “paid it forward” by not only pushing and helping me to use my mind to its fullest capacity, but even buying me a sport coat and tie so I could have my senior picture taken, I would be that poor retired farmer that I alluded to above. Those acts of kindness obligate me to “pay it forward” and it is my honor to continue doing so.
My Corvette Story
In 1963 I was 17 years old and a junior in high school. My family and I drove from Chicago to Los Angeles to see my California relatives. Right after we got there, I saw a 63-split window, black on black, with a roll bar and a smoking hot blond dressed in black driving. I fell in love with Corvettes and knew I wanted one.
My first Corvette was a used 1984 coupe, this also got me a few tickets. My second Corvette was a 2013 C-6 yellow ‘vette. I bought the 2013 to use for a trade in on a 2015 C-7. This car did not last to long as there were so many good write ups about the 2014’s that I ordered a cyber gray 2014. Being a gear head, I modified the 2014 with a super charger, cam and headers. This car dyno out at 760 horsepower. I still have the 2014. On November 17, 2017 I saw a picture of the 2019 ZR1 at the dealer ship and asked the salesman if I could put a deposit on it. He said that he would take a deposit, but could not guaranteed that they would get a an allocation for one. I ordered the ZR1 with a standard transmission, and since they were not making these at this time, my order a got lost in the system and it took 17 months’ before I would see the ZR1. It finally showed up in March of 2019. Since I live in the high country, I was not going to be able to drive it until late April, so I told the dealership to put it on the show room floor until I could drive it home.
Because of 911, I have had several businesses. One was a landscaping business and a second was fabricating and installing granite counter tops. I worked in the airplane industry for over thirty years. I worked in purchasing and found out that I could make more money as an airplane mechanic than I could with my business degree. I worked in production control over hauling, 737’s, 727’s and MD-80 aircraft.
I enjoy Corvette’s and sled dogs. My outdoor activities have become limited due to cancer and various injuries.
My Corvette Story
I was around 13 years old when my 20 something neighbor pulled up in 1962 corvette convertible. He was just out of the Navy and asked if I wanted to go for a ride.
We went on many rides and I felt so cool!
After helping him wash the car, I jokingly asked if I could drive it in the garage. The short drive was only 25 yards, but I promised myself that I would own a Corvette convertible.
Fast forward to 1989 and having completed my Master’s program, I purchased a 1984 coupe. It wasn’t a convertible, but the price was right.
I’ve been retired since 2009 as an elementary school teacher. I sold the ’84 and for my 68th birthday bought a 1968 Corvette convertible on Ebay!
I don’t have any skills to speak of, but I do enjoy working on my Corvette. Unfortunately, I know just enough to get in trouble. I’ve been playing golf all of my life and am still learning the game. Kayaking and fishing comes easier for me as does reading novels.
Growing old without growing up.