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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Classic Car Stories - My Second Corvette

Me and border collie Chewy
Previously, I wrote about the 1993 Z-28 Camaro that I had and what a great car it was.  It had the LT1 Corvette engine with 275 horsepower and had impressive performance.

Along about 1996 and ‘97, I started reading about the upcoming redesign of the Corvette for the 1998 model year. From the ground up, it was to be all new and would be powered by the next generation LS1 engine putting out 345 horses!  Well that got me thinking about Corvettes again, but I had a wife and it would take a lot of work to convince her that we “needed a new Corvette”!  It took a year and I waited for the ‘98s to come out to read the reviews.  After selling the Camaro in late 1997, I drove an old beater 1984 Camaro for a while to save up some cash and started doing the research.

After the experience I had trying to buy that ‘93 Camaro at a decent price, I figured the dealer sharks would be out to make a killing again.  Boy, was I correct!  I visited every Chevy  dealer in the Salt Lake City area and was given the same song and dance.  They were selling every single Corvette they could get their hands on and for several thousand dollars over the “sticker” price! There was no way I was going to get ripped off like that and decided to wait it out.  I was even calling dealers all over the country to see if they would deal.  

I then called Elmer Banaszak, the Chevy dealer back in Crivitz, Wisconsin who gave me such a good deal on the ‘93 Camaro.  After talking to him and offering to pay $2000 over his invoice cost on a Corvette, he quickly agreed.  A few hours later, he called back with bad news.  Chevrolet told him that all dealers were only allowed to order Corvettes based on their previous sales.  Since this dealer had not sold any the previous year, he would not even be able to order one!  You can imagine, I was pretty incensed after receiving this information.  I thanked him for his efforts, told him I was not going to be ripped off and would wait as long as was necessary.  I asked him to call me if the market changed and he would be permitted to order.  This all took place during the spring and summer of 1998 and I pretty much resigned myself to the idea that it would be quite a while before I would be able to purchase one.

Along came the middle of winter, December of 1998.  They had started producing the 1999 model year cars in September.  Still searching newspaper adds nearly every day, I came across a simple add in the Salt Lake paper.  It said “1999 Corvette on sale, $38995.00 and a phone number”.  I thought, surely this had to be a used car that someone decided they couldn’t afford.  I called the number and it was a Chevy dealer about 30 miles away in Toelle.  After asking whether this was a used vehicle, a salesman replied “ No, it’s brand new and sitting on the showroom floor!”  I then asked him if the price quoted was correct, he said yes and I told him I was on my way.  After asking permission to leave work, I ran home, got my wife and raced out there.

The car had everything I would have ordered on it, the sticker price in the window was about $44500.00!  Keep in mind that I searched all over the country and everyone was paying a couple thousand over sticker for them.  We weren’t there five minutes before I agreed to the purchase.  A couple hours later, after getting it out of the showroom, I drove that thing home!  And I was a really happy guy!

A while later I found out why they had made such a good deal on that Corvette.  The dealership was in financial trouble, it was the middle of winter (not a good selling season for Corvettes) and they were paying interest for that expensive car in their showroom.  It wasn’t long after, they went out of business.  I think I got the deal of a lifetime on that car and sure had a lot of fun with it. Chevrolet did a great job on the C5 model, I kept it almost 5 years and it's a great classic car story.  Unfortunately, I had to sell it in 2003 after getting divorced.  Wish I still had that car!

Other of my car story posts:
Classic Car Stories:1970 Pontiac GTO - Dick Hands me the Keys!
Classic Car Stories: My Buddy's 1968 Plymouth GTX
Classic Car Stories: My Hemi Chrysler
Classic Car Stories: My 1965 Buick GS400
Classic Car Stories: Mopar Man to Chevrolet
Classic Car Stories: My Second Corvette
Classic Car Stories: My First Corvette
Classic Car Stories: My 1993 Camaro Z28
Classic car Stories: My Three Camaros - One Good, One Bad and One Great!
Classic Car Stories: Mom's 1961 Plymouth Valient

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