Several weeks later I had the 95 in for some routine service at the local Carmax dealer. I asked the Chevy salesman if he had any new Corvettes in stock. He said they had a "red" one and a black one. Sure enough there was the "red" one sitting in the showroom. It was a fully loaded 50th Anniversary Coupe priced at $1,000 below list with 0% financing. Carmax is a "no haggle" dealer. I called my wife and suggested that the 50th Anniversary Coupe would be a great gift for my 50th birthday. Her reply was " Well I suggest you buy it, because you're not getting the 100th Anniversary one."
My friends have always thought I was crazy, using a Corvette as a daily driver. But hey, it's a blast to drive, has all the luxuries, low depreciation and gets over 20 mpg.
During the summer of 2004 we decided that it would be a good experience for our son who was 14 years old, to become familiar with tools and doing things with his hands. Before I got married, I was always working on a project car. A 62 Vette, a 69 GTO, and a 69 AMX. I became interested in the 96 Corvette Grand Sport. That fall we bought Rich & Mo Wallers GS #197. When I went to Detroit to pick up the Grand Sport, Rich showed me his new toy. It was CE #8. I had seen the CE in pictures, but in real life, what a car! I knew right then and there that somehow, someday, we were going to own one.
My wife does not really like Corvettes. They are uncomfortable hard to get into and out of, and the performance is something she does not need. She did agree that the CE was something really special, and if we could somehow swing it, we should get one.
Our biggest decision was the color combination. It was really hard to decide, because they all look great. I started looking for a used Corvette, but just couldn't find the right one. In the fall of 2004 all the Chevy dealers were trying to get rid of their leftover 04 Corvettes. Almost all of the convertibles, were the Commemerative Editions (blue exterior two tone shale interior). We really liked the Chevy 50th Anniversary Coupe we had, so we bit the bullet and bought a new 04 Commemerative. I stored it up north in Wisconsin during the winter, and in the early spring of 05 we dug it out of the snow, and drove it to AAT. Actually we just had to dig out the snowbank at the edge of the road and make a ramp so that I could drive it out of the garage on to the packed snow and down to the road, which was clean and dry. Those big tires went right over the packed snow without a problem.
We picked a nice weather day, and I drove the car to AAT. We had already had several rainstorms, so residual salt was not an issue.
In addition to getting a very unique Corvette, the biggest surprise was dealing with Steve at AAT. I am involved a lot with real estate, which means reviewing every single contract in detail with an an attorney. Dealing with Steve was like stepping back into time, when a simple contract and a handshake meant something. I can't say enough good things about their honesty, quality of their product, and in general what a nice experience it was to do business with them.
Right now we are looking at putting a few additional Corvette emblems on CE#107. I also parked the CE next to the factory coupe. Both are painted the 50th Anniversary red. The quality of the paint job on the CE is absolutely perfect, and several levels above the factory paint.
There are several disadvantages to driving CE #107. First of all if you are on a divided highway, forget about having the road to yourself. You will be in the middle of a crowd of cars trying to get a better look at the CE. When you stop to get gas try to find a small out-of-the-way gas station. At all costs avoid large truck stops, unless you have extra time to answer all the questions from the interested truck drivers.
Here's a couple of shots of the "donor" 2004 C5: