Friday, March 25, 2011

78 Days Until the Great Race: Child Labor

 Found this picture in the depths of my hard drive.  Mom and Dad always wanted to put Allison and I to work at a young age...

Dad called today.  He said Joan's Corvette is back in the garage.  Dad drove it back from Gray's to our house but he said it sounds good and looks like they did a good job.  He'll hopefully take it out next weekend for a more thorough road test next weekend if the snow has melted.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

85 Days Until the Great Race: America Still Builds Rockets

Stumbled across this commercial on Youtube.  It's sad knowing that the Obama administration cut the funding for the Space Shuttle but I can still find comfort in the fact that America still builds rockets...

I'm in Winston-Salem, NC for spring break training and a track meet at Wake Forest.  I was home last weekend, but the Corvette was not back yet because Gray's is still working on some of the instruments in the dash.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

93 Days until the Great Race: Italy Doesn't Have a Thing on Ashtabula, Ohio

The FAQ section of the Great Race's website states that "Any car up through model year 1969 is eligible to enter".  We have four cars that predate 1969 and thus we had four options:

1. A 1957 Chevrolet Corvette F.I. Convertible
2. A 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
3. A 1967 Morgan +4 Series V Competition
4. A 1967 MG B

In the opinion of my father and myself, the choice was quite simple.  The '57 Corvette is classic Americana.  It looks great, sounds even better, and was the fastest car build in the USA at the time.  However, it's early fuel injection system is finicky, it can be a hassle to drive, and it isn't the most comfortable car in the world.  The Morgan is a timeless classic.  It's still in production in the same body style today and is a rare sight on the roads (I've only seen two excluding ours on the road).  We said no to the Morgan because it's suspension is harsh, it has no top, it has no space for luggage, and Dad can't stand driving it for more than 45 minutes at a time.  The MG B was the Mazda Miata of it's day.  It was the worlds best selling sports car up until the production of the Miata.  It's a great all around car and it simply fantastic on back roads, but it's lacking in power and struggles to go any faster than 65 mph.

So that left us with the Stingray (also known as Joan's Corvette).  The perfect choice for a rally like this one in my opinion.  It's big, loud, screams red, white, and blue and it can still throw you back in your seat even though it is over 40 years old.  It doesn't have a trunk, but leave the top up and you can fit almost anything behind the seats.  It's comfortable, the transmission is easy to use, and it can be serviced at any Chevrolet dealer.

Joan's Corvette has been in the Duckloe family longer than I've been.  When my parents we're engaged, my father asked my mother what she wanted as a wedding present.  She replied "A 1966 Corvette Stingray Convertible", and that's what she got.  My father found it in Hemmings Motor News and saw this specimen was located not too far away from us.  They went out to take a look at the car and eventually ending up buying it.

The car is equipped with a 327 cubic in 350 horsepower motor tied to a four speed manual transmission.  It has manual steering, disk brakes, roll up windows, and an AM/FM stereo that now only plays Rush Limbaugh (the car seems to know that it's American).  

I first drove the car when I was 16 or 17.  I can remember pulling out of our driveway, stopping at the first stop light and stalling the car, then starting the car back up and accidentally putting it into third (it's quite easy to do).  I stepped out of the car in a bad mood, vowing to never drive the car again because the damn gears were too close and the controls were too heavy.

However, I did get back in and I learned to love the car and deal with it's "issues".  There is no denying that it's a hard car to drive, the steering and the clutch take muscles to work, the hood is a million miles long, and an aircraft carrier has better handling.  It's the simplicity of the car that makes it fun. Like all muscle cars, it's made to go fast in a straight line, sound amazing, and look great.  Bury the accelerator in the carpet and car will leap forward, emitting a glorious sound from the dual exhausts out back. Your hair will fly all over the place if the top is down and you can watch the gas gauge dive towards "E" as you accelerate but it doesn't matter.  Look in the drivers side mirror and you'll see the beautiful hips of the car and see the traffic behind you vanish into the horizon.  Depress the clutch, put your left hand on the chrome shifter to change up a gear, CLICK-in to neutral for a brief second-CLICK and into fourth.  It almost sounds like someone cocking a shotgun.

I've always been a fan of European sports cars but I love this Corvette.  It may be a blunt instrument but it doesn't matter because it's so stupidly amusing.

I'm waiting for my second to last class before spring break to start.  I'll be heading home today after my last class finishes at 4:30 for a few days before I head down to Wake Forest with the track team.  Hopefully I'll get a drive in to see how the car is doing with it's freshly restored motor.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

94 Days Until the Great Race: Introductory Post!

For those of you that don't know what's going on, I feel that a little introduction is in order!

My father (Fred) and I (Greg) have decided to take place in the Great Race, a classic car rally that will take place from June 11th-17th, 2011.  We will be taking my mother's 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible as our car of choice.

We live in Stroudsburg, PA (a small town about an hour and a half due west of New York City) and to start the rally we must get to Chattanooga, TN.  Therefore we will be leaving town on June 5 so we can enjoy the trip down.  We'll be making a stop in Bowling Green, KY to tour the Corvette factory and the National Corvette Museum, and another stop in Brentwood, TN to visit my aunt and uncle before we head on Chattanooga to start the rally.  

This blog will cover the entirety of our Great Race experience.  That includes the preparations to the car (and ourselves) for the rally, the trip to the rally, the rally itself, and the drive home after the rally has concluded.  

I can speak both for Dad and myself when I say that we are very excited for the trip! We've sent in our check, paid for the hotel rooms, and we just received the Stingray back from a quick engine overhaul and we're just chomping at the bit to get started!

I'll try to update this blog as much as possible but, seeing that I am a college student, academics and athletics always come first.  I promise there to be more posts when I am back home with Dad and the car!