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Okay Boys and Girls I present a car that may have been the most important car that I have ever owned. This car helped to create a certain bond between my brother Nicky and me when he convinced me to enter it in a big Auto Show in Milwaukee in January of 1974! At that particular show I happened to meet one of my mentors, Al Bonk, which led to my sharing a shop with him and learning a ton, which was probably a small portion of what he had to teach! I also had this car when I first joined The Wisconsin Corvette Club which led to some great friendships, and the introduction to things like autocrossing, ice trials, Hare and Hounds rallys among other things...including working as the editor of the club newsletter "CheckPoint"...which involved some really great nights typing up and printing the publication with a bunch of other members in my one bedroom apartment!!!
This car is also the first that I completely tore down to make it into "my car" and perform a bunch of modifications that I didn't have the experience in doing but with the help of Al and others had the confidence to do so. I figured if I had chosen this route to be my career I'd better get some "On The Job Training" and better it be on my own car instead of a customer's car just in case I messed up!!!
I have many stories that go along with this car but surprisingly not a whole lot of photos...most of which are from that Auto Show that my Dear Brother convinced me to enter, which led to so many other important opportunities and adventures in my life!
Thanks Nicky...this page is dedicated to you...I'll miss you...
Dig the driving lights...maybe fog?
So what starts out as needing to replace a bad wheel bearing ends up getting deeper and deeper as one thing leads to another. Fortunately the friendship that I struck with Al and Peggy Bonk led me to their shop and the start of my business "Compvettes".
I also became an Idiot and decided to tear my car completely apart and rebuild it...which was a first for me. I was about 26 at the time and this was one hell of an experience but fortunately I had the help of my mentor Al to get me through the rough patches! Thanks Al!
Tearing things apart.
I did get the car finished and road worthy albiet with a hot 350 engine instead of the really hot 427 that I had hoped to drive...but that's only part of the story.
I had to use this car as a daily driver since my regular daily, a Chrysler Town and Country wagon, (Yeah that BIG Chrysler, not the frickin' minivan!!!), was crashed while I was gone out west on a Corvette buying adventure for a customer of mine.
To supplement my income I used to tend bar at the American Serb Memorial Hall in Milwaukee and after closing one winter night I walked to the parking lot to see my beloved Corvette was gone. At first I thought that a couple of my fellow Serb bartenders were playing a trick on me and maybe pushed the car up by the church...Nope!
The car was gone...
A couple of Milwaukee detectives who happened to frequent Serb Hall and were friends of my cousin Bobby who was a Milwaukee cop found the car...the shell.
I ended up selling it to a fellow Wisconsin Corvette Club member as I was really devastated...so much love and work was gone...
This experience really changed me forever for the good things and the bad...
Here are the only pics I have from my work on it:
This photo and others do not do the paint job, applied with a ton of help from Al Bonk, do the car justice. Silver and blue with a certain appreciation to Bugatti with the side treatment as I always admired him and his ethic. I realized most people wouldn't "get it", but hell it was my car and this is how I felt!
Notice the header and side pipes...still had the 427 in her! Nice paint...agree?
As mentioned earlier, this page is dedicated to my Dear Brother...
Born: December 12, 1947
At Rest: November 9, 2016