50 years of Corvettes on display

by Julie Kink
Contributing Writer

STILLWATER — Besides the fact it’s a well-built automobile with a nearly 60-year history and diehard following, there’s just something about a Corvette that gets the blood pumping a little faster, makes the eyes sparkle a little brighter, stirs the imagination and speaks to the need for speed.

“I’m like a kid when I’m around it. I love the car,” said Ed Anglo, a member of the St. Croix Valley Corvette Association for the past 15 years. Stillwater resident Anglo knows all about Corvettes: At age 74 he’s on his 18th since he bought his first C1 — one of the first generation of Corvettes. That was in 1959; he had just left the University of Minnesota and really couldn’t afford the $120 a month car payment, but he bought it anyway.

Anglo is show director for the 10th annual “Corvettes at Stillwater” all-Corvette show to be held at Stillwater Motors Saturday, Aug. 20. About 150 Corvettes are expected for display, including specially prepared cars featuring performance upgrades. A competition will also be staged, with club members and participants voting for the top cars by class.

“The Corvette is America’s true sports car,” said Anglo. “It has a huge longevity, a very broad base of different types of buyers, owners and clubs. If you’ve got a ‘C’ you’ve got a ‘C’ — people who don’t have them wish for them.”

The St. Croix Valley Corvette Association has been around for 40 years and has just over 70 members, including original member Tom Wihren. The nonprofit club participates in the General Motors Car Club Association (GMCCA) Show at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds each year as well as other shows, and welcomes anyone who has a Corvette. It meets the third Tuesday of the month in the Stillwater Motors conference room. In addition to the all-Corvette show, the club hosts a fall color run when between 25 and 35 members cruise Wisconsin and northern Minnesota, and another run in the spring. Members also participate in Cruisin’ on the Croix, Stillwater's hot rod and vintage car show held every Wednesday night from June 3 to Aug. 24 in Lowell Park.

Stillwater Motors has been sponsoring the club for 11 years. “They’ve been a wonderful sponsor for us,” Anglo said. For the upcoming show, the dealership will furnish T-shirts to participants with a commemorative logo featuring two of the club’s cars, and will donate proceeds from the show to a charity of its choosing.

This year, Rad Z Corvettes (part of RadAir customization and restoration shop in Backus, Minn.) will display two specially prepared cars featuring radical performance upgrades and exterior and interior enhancement. Rad Air specializes in modifications including paint schemes, high horsepower engines, racetrack-inspired suspensions, performance brake systems, aerodynamic body modifications and high-performance wheels.

Another show highlight will be a Stingray coupe that’s been cut in half horizontally by Corvette Specialties of Blaine, to reveal how the vehicle is put together. “The show is really participant-driven,” Anglo said. “It gives us the opportunity to put something forward to the public so we can generate spectators.”

The show runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and offers free admission to spectators with a $12 entrance fee to participants. A wide variety of Corvettes from the early ‘50s to 2011 will be on display, with information about each car posted on the windows, including those for sale. Trophies will be awarded at 2:30 p.m. along with awards for the top three St. Croix Valley Corvette Association club cars and one sponsors’ choice winner.

Visitors are welcome to park and take the Stillwater Motors shuttle to downtown Stillwater or tour the Stillwater Motors showroom. The dealership is located at 5900 Stillwater Blvd. N, Stillwater. Refreshments will be available for purchase. The rain date for the show is Aug. 27.

Owner Ed Anglo

on Corvettes:

Dubbed, “the new American sports car,” the first Corvette appeared in 1952, with the first models available in late 1952 and 1953 when 300 were built. Vehicles from that run in pristine condition can draw $100,000 to $200,000 today. They were all polo white with a red interior.

In 1954, a little more than 3,000 Corvettes were produced, with several variations up until 1962 when the design changed. Those models had straight axles, not the independent suspension on cars today.

The 1963 is known for its split-window coupe, which is an icon in terms of design. In future years, the 1963 will drive design for the next version of the Corvette. It’s very option-driven in terms of value.

From 1963 to 1967, Corvettes known as C2 models had basically the same body style until the C3 from 1968 to 1982. Chevrolet did not build a Corvette in 1983. There was a model change and they didn’t get it done.

The C4, built between 1984 and 1996, included two versions but essentially the same chassis. That was the longest run of a consistent body style with modifications.

The C5 era, 1997 to 2004, was followed by the current Corvette style. “We expect the 2012 to be very similar, with a few tweaks and bigger horse power. We don’t expect that we’ll see a really big change until 2013, when the car will be 60 years old.

According to 2009 research by Specialty Equipment Market Association and Experian Automotive, 750,000 Corvettes of all model years were registered in the United States. Corvette owners were fairly equally distributed throughout the country, with the highest density in Michigan (3.47 per 1,000 residents). Eighty-two percent of owners are between ages 40 and 69 (the median age being 53).

Source: St Croix Valley Press