Corvette enthusiasts across the country owe a huge gratitude to Harley Earl. His idea became concept and then production in 1953, and the sports car world has never been the same.
For generations, the Corvette has been “babied,” garage protected or raced to victory lane. The result is a following that has grown into 250 affiliated clubs with 18,000 members, spreading across every state in the nation. The Oklahoma City Corvette Club, with a number of members living in Edmond, was formed in 1960 and joined the National Council of Corvette Clubs in 1970.
Aside from being an attraction while “caravanning” down the interstate, the Corvette Club accomplishes much more than good looks. Club member, Glenda Brown explains, “We do a lot for state charities. As a group, we enjoy volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House, and on the National level, our charity is the Kidney Foundation.”
The National Kidney Foundation Inc. (NKF) is a major voluntary health organization dedicated to preventing kidney disease and to improving the health of individuals and families affected by kidney disease. The Ronald McDonald House works to better the lives of children all across the world.
“There is also a scholarship program at the regional and at the national level for members of the Corvette Clubs, so we do a lot more than drive fast cars and have fun,” said Brown.
However, for some of the club members, driving fast cars in a variety of racing styles is extremely important.
“Some of the most fun we have is the autocross and drag racing,” said club president, Sam Burgess. “We go down to Texas Motor Speedway and run the infield track. Our club has won the Southwest Regional Championship six years in a row and we are well on our way to winning a seventh.”
Championship points are awarded by each driver, racing against a timer on a custom, set-up road course style track. It is done for individual points and for club points. “Aside from winning our region, we have placed third in the nation for the last three years,” Burgess said.
Then there are those members like Roland and Cathy Dawson who enjoy driving their '65 Vette to the monthly gatherings for one specific reason. “There is something here for everyone,” said Roland. “There are those members who show up once a month for nothing more than the food, and I'm one of 'em.”
Each member looks at Bowling Green, Kentucky, home of the National Corvette Museum and the General Motors Corvette assembly plant, as almost sacred ground. “It is the only place where the Corvette is made and as an option, for $350, you can go to the plant and watch your car being built,” Roland said.
There are six generations of Corvettes since 1953 and the seventh is scheduled for 2009. Most clubs participate in a wide range of car shows, rallies, socials and races. But make no mistake; there is one main reason for joining a Corvette club.
“We all have one common interest, obviously that is the Corvette,” said former club president, Alan Brown. “But the thing that holds us together is the friendship. That’s what this is about.”
Information about the club is at www.okcvetteclub.org. “Were always glad to talk to people about joining,” Sam Burgess said, from behind the wheel of his Le Mans blue, 2006 Corvette.