- The Washington Times - Monday, June 30, 2003

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tom Meadows isn’t kidding when he says his two children, both in their 30s, are too young to inherit his all-original 1966 Corvette.

“It’s in my will that if something happens to me before they come of age — which I believe is at least 40 — she goes to the National Corvette Museum until they’re old enough to treat her right,” said Mr. Meadows of Salisbury, Md., on Thursday as he stood beside the pristine convertible with only 8,800 miles on it.

The couple are among thousands of Corvette enthusiasts streaming into Nashville and Bowling Green, Ky., this weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the sleek sports car that first rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line on June 30, 1953, in Flint, Mich.

Although Corvettes now are built in Bowling Green — a college town about 60 miles to the north of where the Corvette museum is located — the city has no venue big enough to handle all the car lovers expected to attend the celebration.

Instead, they’ll be at the Tennessee Titans’ Coliseum in Nashville for parades, vintage- and new-car displays, seminars, and concerts by the Temptations and ZZ Top. Some planned to head back to Bowling Green for birthday cake to celebrate the actual anniversary today.

Dave Brisco drove his 1956 “cascade green — and don’t you even think turquoise” — ‘Vette down from Cincinnati for display behind the Coliseum.

“It’s a car that was made to be driven,” he said, acknowledging with a grin that he has taken it to 120 mph. “There’s no luxury to it. No power-steering or brakes. It’s pretty much a muscle car.”

The car would have sold for $3,100 new and he paid much more when he bought it six years ago, but he won’t say how much or discuss selling it now.

“It’s priceless,” he said. “It’s always been my dream car.”

A new Corvette sells for around $50,000. The average buyer is a 49-year-old white man earning more than $125,000 a year with five or more vehicles.

But the cars are being purchased by an increasing number of female and younger owners, and a club for “future Corvette owners” who are too young to drive now exists.

Rick Baldick, Chevrolet’s marketing director who spent a year planning the celebration, calls the Corvette “America’s perfect icon.”

“Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Corvette started at the same time, and people said neither would last. But they’re both going strong,” he said.

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