Our 1953-2003 Commemorative Edition Corvette Story

#143

Ron & Nan Taylor - Benton Harbor, Michigan



    The ironic thing about my 53CE story is that I never was a Corvette nut.  Actually I had driven foreign sports cars (German, Italian and British) most of my life and had raced Formula cars (mostly British) for many years.  I was always less than enthusiastic about the fit, finish and handling of the Vettes ---- until I ran into the C5.

    Sometime around 1999 or 2000 I had occasion to drive a C5 Vette and basically revised my opinion of the Marque on the spot.  I was very impressed with the whole package, especially the handling and began to think about maybe sometime getting into the "Vette thing".  That thought kept recurring off and on over the next several years like an intermittent itch until finally I began to seriously look at these cars around 2003 - which is when I discovered the 50th Anniversary model and fell in love.  I thought (and still do) that the color/interior combination that GM had developed for that car was absolutely KILLER!  That was when I decided that I had to have one.

    So, I started my search for a 2003 50th Anniversary Vette.  That search ended in July of '05, when I found a pristine 50th just fifty miles from home with only 6K miles on it.  I couldn't wait to run down to Plymouth, Indiana to take a look.  It didn't take me long to decide and make a deal to take it home.  And here it is:

    So, that was great - I had found my dream car and set out to live life happily ever after.  I must say, I was not disappointed.  The C5 was everything I expected and more.  I happily spent a summer driving around with the top down, the envy of my friends -- except the itch began to come back…

    After I decided that I just had to have a 50th Anniversary model and before I found my car, I had spent a lot of time online looking for information about the C5.  Guess what -- I discovered a company in my own home state of Michigan, of all places, that was building a very special Corvette.  That company, of course was AAT and the car was the beautiful 1953 Commemorative Edition Corvette.


Watercolor by Dana Forrester
    Having seen the site and the pictures along the way, I had the image of the CE in the back of my mind all the time I was looking for my 50th Anniversary car, but hadn't really thought about it all that much.  However, after getting over the initial thrill of actually getting the '03 car and getting used to it, the thoughts about the CE returned.  I began to dream … "What would a 50th Anniversary car look like as a 53CE?

    Well, I found out it had already been done -----


Peter and Anita Siltumens' 53 CE (# 107)

    Well, that pretty much did it for me.  After looking at Chaz's website and all the CE pics for about the 100th time, I contacted AAT and began a series of conversations with the "Steves".  Later I had occasion to be over in the Detroit area and took an afternoon to visit the operation up at Rochester Hills and was very impressed with everything concerned.  The folks there were first-class all the way and their operation was very professional and well organized.  The cars matched my expectations totally and the price was within range.  After that trip I made up my mind that there was definitely a CE in my future!

    Finally, on November 10, 2006, we headed off to Rochester Hills after taking one last look at our beloved Corvette as it sat in the drive at our storage building:

    Nancy and I dropped off the '03 at AAT on October 30, 2006 with instructions to "do it right and take your time" since we were about to head out for our annual hiatus at our winter home in Santa Barbara, California and wouldn't be back until spring.  Of course, the "do it right" part was superfluous, since that is a given at the AAT shop, but we were in no hurry at all.

    After heading for California, we sat back and waited for progress.

    Along the way Steve Jr.  was nice enough to send along a few progress pics:

    After months of anticipation and lots of correspondence, we got back to Michigan on April 5, 2007, only to be confronted by some last-minute delays in finish details at AAT and a Michigan spring snowstorm.  We finally headed to Rochester Hills on (Lucky) Friday the 13th of April, 2007.

    And --- there she is - and she is all ours!


First look - just rolled out


Nancy and I are delighted


Thanks to the "Steves"


Traditional "Badging" ceremony

    A mere four-hour drive home on a cool (no bugs) and sunny (no rain/spray, etc.) day and she arrived securely in our very own driveway.

    ..where she resides for the foreseeable future, astounding all our friends and causing endless conversations when stopping at stores, filling up at gas stations or just getting out of the car after parking.  What a treat!  Thank you to the good folks at AAT, Steve Sr., Steve Jr., Rachael, and all the guys in the shop who did such a great job and to Chaz and the rest of the CE gang who know and love these cars.

    So much for the beginning of our CE 143 story. Stay tuned for future adventures!


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