Ben Byers - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Here are a couple of photos of Ben's donor C5 Corvette:

      Here's how she looks today:

      A childhood buddy and I drove our '67 and '69 Chevelles in the 2004 Power Tour from OKC to Arlington Texas to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. We had a blast!  I saw my first 53 CE in Iowa during the 2004 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour.  I had read some articles about the 53 CE car and had seen some pictures but I had not seen one in person until the 2004 Power Tour stopped that fateful afternoon in Iowa.  My father is retired from General Motors.  He was a Fisher Body Zone Manager for Oklahoma and parts of Texas and Arkansas so cars were always important to our family.  We owned more than a dozen Corvettes during my junior high and high school years and more since then.  Like many Corvette enthusiasts I hoped Chevrolet would "do the right thing" and build a very special 50th Anniversary car reminiscent of the 1953 model.  Regrettably it did not.  My vision for what the 50th Anniversary car should look like is consistent with Steve Pasteiner's design.  In my opinion Steve's design is the perfect 50th anniversary car for the Corvette marque.  It was thrilling to see the first one.  I was actually relieved that somebody "got it right".  From that first moment in Iowa, I knew I would own one some day.  I talked to Steve on numerous occasions and put $5,000 down on car #100.  I never found a donor car I liked and Steve had another person wanting #100 so we agreed to the return of my money and we went our separate ways.

      I used the 53 CE Registry website to contact several owners over the years.  I have seen all the cars living in Oklahoma.  The owners were very gracious and willing to share their cars with me.  Last year, 2013, I found a 50th Anniversary convertible with 700 miles on it for sale at a great price.  I decided to finally get my 53 CE!  I called Steve only to learn he was no longer producing the cars.  He finished #200 and was not going to build any more cars.  That phone call was very difficult.  The only way to get a 53 CE would be to buy an existing one.  I began a tedious search of websites for the cars.  Many were high mileage or lacked some of the options I preferred.  I was about to give up when I came across one for sale through a broker and the last line in the ad said the car "is currently in The Villages, Florida".  My wife and I just finished building a new vacation home in The Villages, Florida.  I knew of two other 53 CE cars in The Villages but they weren't for sale.  I did not want to go through the broker unless I had to so the search was on to identify the owner.  I finally found the owner in The Villages.  We haggled a couple of days and finally agreed on a good price.  The car remains triple black, CORSA exhaust, and most importantly to me, only 12,400 original miles!  We are thrilled to have the car and share it with others.  People love the car, they ask questions about it, who designed it, how can they get one, how much did THAT cost etc.  The worst comment received so far is, "Nice kit car, dude."  My reply was, "Thanks" without bothering to explain!  Every one has a Corvette story or experience to share.  It is fun listening to them recall their youth as you remember yours!