click above image for a photo your of the National Corvette Museum
April 26-28, 2007, hundreds of Corvette owners flocked to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green Kentucky. The occasion was the C5-C6 Bash, a festival celebrating the latest two versions of the American sports car that started it all. Corvette-ifosi were also there to witness the unveiling of the 2008 Corvette and register their approval or approbation. When not ogling the new car or any of the hundreds of other souped up Corvettes that made the journey, Bash-goers could wander the halls and pay homage to Zora Arkus-Duntov's remains, which are kept behind glass in a wall in the museum. And that's only the beginning.
Click through the jump to read the story and do yourself a favor by viewing the high-res gallery, which as good a guided tour as your're going to get without visiting the National Corvette Museum yourself.
More new Corvettes are delivered to their owners at the National Corvette Museum than any other place in the world. If you want to get your Corvette there, it's a cost-plus option, but you get a plaque with it, and you get a free tour of the factory. You can also see your car on the museum webcam, like a puppy, waiting for you to come take it home. Even though the museum does a brisk business in car delivery, it's an official 501(c)(3) non-profit, and it's a living museum -- that is, cars are on loan from owners, so the exhibits are always changing.
The museum has a little bit of everything, including the remains of the Corvette's creator. When his wife dies, she has requested to be interred alongside him, at the museum. Zora's personal Corvette is also there, a 1974 Stingray, with his initials on the doors. It was apparently the only Corvette he owned, and he drove it hard -- the front bumper was cracked, and the rear bumper had to be replaced because it was falling apart. According to our guide, Arkus-Duntov didn't believe in babying cars.
Otherwise, engines, race cars, scale models, marine motors, games, prototypes, modeling bucks, pace cars, and one-offs, you can find them all within the museum's snaking corridors. There are Z06 guitars. There is a crash test car, a C5, parked beneath the video of its demolition. There's a Callaway C16. There are a host of other, early Callaways. There are speedsters. There is a C4 with a "Purple Smash" paint job, which was an experiment with a paint that shimmered with different colors in different light and different angles. GM realized how difficult it would be to color match, and didn't paint another one like it.
There is the only remaining 1983 Corvette, which plant workers hid for years from GM in order to save it from destruction -- the fate which befell the other 42 prototypes. There's also a display that has all of the Corvette's standard tire sizes from the first model in 1953 to the current Z06's rear. The latter is as wide as two of the former, and then some. Out front, just for the weekend, was a white 2007 convertible with mismatched rims, showcasing the line of GM's Genuine Corvette Accessories, which on this particular model featured racing stripes, a rear spoiler, special exhaust tips, and a stitched leather gearshift boot.
Special guests during the weekend included Rick Hendrick, the NASCAR team owner, who brought two of his cars to sit in pride of place under the museum's webcam. In a Q&A with journalists, he said he didn't think Tony Stewart meant what he said when Stewart likened NASCAR to professional wrestling. But Hendrick's also said that if Tony hasn't been taken to the woodshed yet, he definitely would be soon enough. Ron Fellows was also there, as well, taking photos in front of the arctic white Ron Fellows Special Edition Z06.