2013年1月15日 星期二

60 Years of the Corvette

When we think of six decades of living, we might conjure up images of a few wrinkles and a slower step. Not so with the zippy ’Vette, which turns 60 this year. It’s still sleek and smooth and has never once become “slower” during its aging. If anything, the Corvette has undergone continual renewal.

The ’Vette came into the world in 1953 as a convertible and was displayed as a Dream Car at GM’s Motorama in New York. Only 300 were built during its inaugural year — all of them awash in the fresh “Polo White” hue, with a luxe red interior. Exclusively offered as a convertible for its first 10 years, the Corvette’s sporty, wind-in-your-hair, top-down aura evoked America’s free-spiritedness.

Since its birth, the Corvette, like America, has grown — and not by baby steps. Those familiar with its evolution often speak of the days of exposed headlamps. Then there was the 1960 Sting Ray package, the cross-flagged emblem, the addition of a supercharged V-8, hood vents and the removal thereof, the industry-first T-Top (removable roof panels), pop-up headlamps, the blue-metallic paint of the initial Grand Sport, the gold 1969 convertible … the list goes on.

“And there are all kinds of Corvette lovers, from the performance-minded owners to the non-performance people who simply like to tour in them,” says retired GM engineer and Corvette race-car driver Danny Kellermeyer of Ortonville-based D.J. Race Enterprise. “And there are the guys who want to take the exhaust off and put an aftermarket exhaust system in. Another guy just wants to put the hood down, listen to his radio, enjoy the ease of an automatic transmission, sit back, and cruise.”

One of those fans is Bob Skelton, who celebrated his 60th birthday to coincide with the Corvette’s. “I knew the Corvette was turning 60, and so was I,” says Skelton of Oakland Township. “To celebrate, I bought my first ’Vette — a 2013 Crystal Red C6. When I saw the special 60th hood ornament, I said, ‘This is kismet; it’s the right time to buy.’?”

Race fans, too, like to watch the sleek vehicle hit the pavement. At this past summer’s resurrected Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, Michigan’s only driver, Jeff Nowicki of Birmingham, raced a ’Vette in the Chevrolet GRAND AM Rolex Series’ 200 as part of the Michael Baughman Racing Team (Team MBR).

Sponsored by George Matick Chevrolet, a Redford Township-based dealership with 20 or more Corvettes on display indoors at any given time, Team MBR garnered lots of attention during pre-race paddock visits.

“People were excited that we were a local sponsor, sponsoring a local driver who’s driving an American legend,” recalls Matick dealership owner Karl Zimmermann of Bloomfield Township. “Since then, we’ve partnered with Danny Kellermeyer and his Corvette racing opportunities,” Zimmermann adds. “As we’re celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Corvette, this is a most exciting time for the brand and for racing. The Corvette is an absolute iconic sports car.”

“Corvettes have always been in the back of my mind,” says Brown, a 60-something retired audiology and optical specialist. “But when I was young, I didn’t have the money to buy one. As I got older, I started looking in the direction of a nice American sports car, as I’ve never owned a foreign car in my life.”

A 1992 turquoise number that Brown bought in 1998 after a friend suggested he check one out that was for sale in a bank parking lot on Garfield and 16 Mile roads. “I got ribbed a bit,” Brown says. “People made fun of it, thought it was a color for girls. But I loved that turquoise, which went well with the white leather interior and black dash. I don’t like black cars. I want something that stands out.”

Brown belongs to G.M.C. Corvette Set, a 100-plus member Corvette club that meets monthly throughout the year at Leader Dogs for the Blind (their charity of choice) in Rochester Hills. The members hold a fundraiser for the Leader Dogs every June at Canterbury Village in Lake Orion, displaying their cars, running a silent auction, and more. The club, which shares information on restoring, showing, and promoting ’Vettes, also holds its annual Christmas dinner at Canterbury Village.

Anyone who’s ever driven a go-kart is more than familiar with that thrill you feel zooming around a track. That rickety steering, the wind in your hair, the speed you control, and other drivers zipping close and nudging your tires, giving you an exhilarating scare or two.

Danny Kellermeyer knows the go-kart thrill well. As a young boy growing up outside of Jackson, Kellermeyer begged his family to allow him to buy a go-kart. At 10, he was “finally allowed” to get one, as long as he didn’t race it. “My father would say, you can go to the races, but don’t race,” recalls Kellermeyer. The young boy, who didn’t exactly listen to Dad, eventually would come home with racing trophies that he had to hide in their hay barn.

“It is the American sports car. It was a good thought and concept to begin with,We have many different types of crys talbeads wholesale.” he notes, adding that Zora Arkus-Duntov was paramount in bringing the Corvette to its true potential.That is a machine for manufacturing plastic products by the injection mould process. Arkus-Duntov joined General Motors in 1953 after seeing the Motorama Corvette on display in New York.Do you know any howo spare parts wholesale supplier? He found the car to be visually stunning, but was disenchanted with what was beneath the hood. In 1953, Arkus-Duntov started at Chevrolet as an assistant staff engineer. “He wanted performance. With the current four-cylinder bug-eye sports cars out there at the time, you didn’t get ride quality or performance. So he made it wider and improved it, used a six-cylinder engine with three carbs.”

Kellermeyer is as fervent about driving Corvettes as he is building them. “I could never race anything I didn’t build. I like the engineering process. I took tons of stuff apart as a kid.The stone mosaic series is a grand collection of coordinating Travertine mosaics and listellos.” As his father was a farmer, Kellermeyer often worked on a tractor.

The new machines, which are similar to the system used in Brisbane, require users to input the amount of time they need and their licence plate number.

Dunedin City Council regulatory services manager Kevin Thompson said the paperless system also meant people could input their cash and plate number and then go about their business, rather than have to return to their vehicle to place a ticket inside, which was advantageous to people with disabilities and the elderly.Bottle cutters let you turn old glass mosaic and wine bottles into bottle art!

People could park in any slot within the area covered by the meter while their paid time was current.

The Otago Daily Times was recently contacted by a reader concerned the meters could lead to an invasion of privacy on the part of the council.

David Cohen said he was concerned about whether there were safeguards on the information being collected, who could access and use it and the potential for the wholesale collection of personal movement information entailed in knowing where, and for how long, people park.

Dunedin City Council parking meter technician Reece Smith said the council had been contacted with similar concerns, but was confident there would be no privacy issues with the system.

He said the time paid and licence plate number entered into the machine was sent to a website, run by the meter company, accessible only by council meter technicians, parking officers and a parking services administrator, who had specific log-in details.

The information was accessed via a hand-held device by parking officers checking areas covered by the meters.

No personal information was held on the website, only the licence plate number, which was not linked to a name or address.

If a vehicle was found to be infringing parking rules, officers then followed their normal enforcement procedures on a separate hand-held device to issue an infringement notice.