One evening while viewing a web site about auto shows in several different states, I came across one photo that showed two 53CEs. I remembered reading the Motor Trend article about a proposed 50th Anniversary Edition..
.. and saying if GM ever built a Corvette that looked like this I would buy one, but lately hadn't heard any more information about the replica. Knowing the concept was white and these both were different shades of red, I figured at least three were built. Looking through my computer "pictures saved" file, one more was found in still another color, this indicated at least four were built.
On Yahoo Search, I typed in "2002 Corvette with 53 Corvette grille" -- a long shot -- but maybe! Much to my surprise, the fourth or fifth web site was 53CERegistry.com.
The rest of the evening was spent viewing this great web site, making me want a 53 CE even more. Through information received there, I learned about Steve Pasteiner at Advanced Automotive Technologies. The next day I sent an e-mail to Steve asking for both a brochure and a video about the 1953 CE. Thinking that many offices start their paperwork at 10:00 am, I waited the following day until ten to check my e-mail-- nothing new -- darn.
10:04 new e-mail from Steve stating that the requested material would be mailed that day.
NOTE: The US Mail always comes five minutes after I check the mail box..
Waiting for the information from Steve was spent checking different web sites for a donor C5 -- low mileage convertible any color. Received the information and DVD from AAT -- quality product all the way! Only problem for me -- wished to clone the original concept in white exterior and red interior with chrome factory wheels. Now red seats with red carpet and chrome wheels were an extra cost. Back to the web sites for new search, this time -- low miles, red interior, chrome wheels. Lots of red convertibles with black or oak interiors.
After many dead ends, a red 2001 C5 was found with red interior plus an added bonus of an extended factory 72 month or 60,000 mile warranty. Purchased the donor car for my 53 CE, now have two red Chevys in my garage -- a 1968 "resale red" Malibu convertible next to a "ticket red" C5 convertible. Have since heard that red Corvettes are also called "arrest me now red."
Hopefully that won't apply to me.
Have now returned a signed conversion agreement with Steve at AAT -- now the hard part begins -- the waiting --- but I know it will be well worth it.
Here are a couple of sketches I made (with computer assistance):
Here are three photos of our donor 2001 Torch C5:
The second week in April we loaded the donor Corvette and headed north from Venice, FL driving to AAT in Michigan. When our Corvette becomes a 53CE it still will be driven to all its destinations and it will not become a trailer queen.
Some may disagree, but the reactions and kind words received from people you meet on the road compensate for the small amount of road rash the car might receive. If you see my 53CE on a trailer call 911 as its probably being stolen.
Upon arriving at AAT Steve and Steven gave my wife Nancy and me the grand tour of their shop and introduced us to their workers. I think Nancy is as excited as I am about this new adventure we are taking and that we are in good hands with the AAT team.
I mentioned to Steve that I would like to make a "Build Book"on how this stock Corvette is converted into a 1953 Commemorative Corvette. Steve liked the idea and said he would help with pictures when I wasn't around to take my own. Living in Michigan makes this trip easy to watch the process and take lots of pictures.
The conversion was completed in June and we headed back to AAT to pick up our Corvette -- now a 53CE. After the new personalized license plate "IDEAL 53" was installed, we thanked Steve and his men for their excellent work and headed home to Scotts, Michigan.
Here is a a photo of the cover made for the "Build Book":
I'll skip the many build-up pictures as anyone viewing this web site has already viewed the procedure. Instead I'll show the finished product with interesting places we have taken our IDEAL 53.
Here's our 53CE when we picked it up at AAT:
Here's the CE in front of a restored early 30s Shell station at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI. Gas is only 19¢ per gallon!:
..and in front of the Bus Depot there: