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Elaine Phillips was always interested in cars. When she married a man with a ’59 Corvette C1 he’d personally restored, her interest became an obsession. Now they have three, the ’59 C1, a ’61 C1, and an ’05 Coup, and she edits the Fiberglass Flyer, the newsletter of Corvette Annapolis.
For Carroll Hynson, the Corvette eased his transition out of drag racing. By his late 30s, he’d risen from street racing “around Annapolis” to the drag racing hall of fame and could afford a black ’69 Stingray coupe. Now he drives a ’99 black-on-black convertible and is media coordinator of Corvette Annapolis.
Peter and Nancy Klein put off getting a Corvette for 20 years until 2004. Membership in Corvette Annapolis followed. He’s now president of Corvette Annapolis, and she’s competition director. They drive their ’02 Torch Red Corvette to date nights, road trips and car shows.
Saturday, June 16, they and other Corvette lovers converge on Annapolis City Dock to celebrate their mutual enthusiasm and show off their cars at Corvettes on the Bay. Almost 100 models representing the entirety of the Corvette’s 60-year history, from 1953 to 2013, range along the docks in glinting rows. Pre-registration has long since sold out, as it did last year, so you’ll have to look rather than show.
You’ll be in good company. Last year’s show brought crowds of about 4,000.
What’s the mystique that draws the crowds?
The Corvette is “America’s sports car,” Hynson says.
The sleek low cars were modern, made not of steel but fiberglass. They were powerful. 1955 added a 195-horsepower, V8 engine. By 1957, Corvette advertised the power of one horse for every cubic inch of engine displacement. They were pricey. The first Corvettes cost $3,513, more than a Jaguar. All together, they were a status symbol. Nothing else looked anything like them.
All those qualities made the car not only a success but indeed an emblem of the postwar boom, the time when America was defining itself as the country to beat economically.
Drive a Corvette, and you’re still in that America.
Corvettes are still made in America, at Bowling Green, Kentucky, where there’s a National Corvette Museum. Devotees are preparing to drive to that holy ground for the July 19-21 National Corvette Homecoming.
After all these years, Corvette owners remain devotees.
“It’s the car to get if you really want to enjoy driving,” Hynson says. Sounds simplistic, but simplicity is part of the allure.
Should that allure snare you, you can join Corvette Annapolis, which meets at 7pm on the second Tuesday of every month at the Annapolis Public Library on West Street.