Three men, three cars and three wonderful stories to share
Allow me to introduce you to Stephen Plaster, Michael Mitchell and Robert Kelly, although you already know them even if you most likely have never met them before. That's because they're just like you, true blue classic car enthusiasts.
I met Stephen Plaster at Bloomington Gold, the big national Corvette showcase held every June just west of Chicago. Plaster and his son, Michael, brought two cars to Bloomington – Stephen's recently acquired 1953 roadster and the 1974 convertible that his own father, Robert, had bought when it was brand new.
"I was 14 years old," Stephen said, recalling his father's then brand-new 'Vette. "I learned to drive in traffic in that car."
Now Stephen's son was 14, and they came together to Bloomington on what they called a "memorial trip" in honor a father and grandfather who died in October.
"This is the first time we've been to Bloomington Gold," said Stephen, who owns 18 Corvettes of various vintages. "We lost my father last October. That's why we came. It was time to get his car certified."
And certified it was: Robert's '74 Corvette was in such good condition, so original that it swept the triple crown of Bloomington honors – Survivor recognition, a Bloomington Gold gold award, and certification as a Benchmark, the highest honor of all, signifying that the car is so original, so close to factory fresh it can be used as a benchmark for the restoration of other '74 model-year Corvettes.
I met Michael Mitchell at the all-marque Survivor car show that Bloomington Gold holds the day after its Corvette show concludes. Mitchell had brought his wife, Teresa's, 1966 "High Country Special" Ford Mustang coupe to be judged.
Michael had been looking for an early vintage Mustang for Teresa. He couldn't find what he really wanted, and old-timers at a body shop told him about a Mustang that was owned by 85-year-old John Howard, though the car wasn't red, the color Teresa wanted. Nonetheless, Mitchell was delighted when he saw the car.
"I was in the Navy, on a six-month deployment, a brought along a Mustang book that I probably read six times," he explained. One of the Mustang's featured in the book was the High Country, Ford's first foray into special editions. The High Country cars – there were 333 of them – all were painted timberline Green and were sold only by Ford dealers in Colorado.
As soon as Mitchell saw the car's unique color and badge, he knew immediately he'd found a classic, and the judges at the Bloomington Gold Survivor show agreed.
I met Robert Kelly at the 18th annual Camaro Superfest at Ypsilanti, an historic auto town west of Detroit. Kelly brought with him a plastic, glue-together scale model of the Midnight Z Camaro that he'd put together when he was 12 years old. But he also brought the full-size version of that car, a 1979 Camaro Z28 that he basically rebuilt by hand over the course of three years.
The car was in such sorry shape that Kelly had gotten it in trade for a go-kart.
Kelly also owns a 1986 Camaro that he bought when he was 17, but he's searching for the Camaro of his dreams – the car that first sparked his interest in cars and Camaros – a white 1979 coupe with a blue interior, T-tops and a six-cylinder engine. The car was driven by one of his high school classmates, and he wants to find it and restore it to its original condition.
While Stephen, Michael and Robert's stories are unique, they are not unusual among classic car enthusiasts and collectors. Each of us – and each of our cars – has a story to share.
Only 43-percent sold at Mecum
Of the more than 300 Chevrolet Corvettes that crossed the block at Mecum's Bloomington Gold auction, only 43 percent were sold, led by a 1968 L88 coupe that went for $300,000. Nine other 'Vettes brought between $100,000 and $196,000.
Speaking of Mecum, it will again offer the historic 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe that won the world sports car racing championship at its upcoming Monterey event. The car did not sell at Mecum's earlier Original Spring Classic auction at Indianapolis.
Mark your calendars
24-25 – Kruse at Denver
1 – RM at Meadow Brook, Rochester, Michigan
7-8 – Kruse Verona at Syracuse, New York
9 – RM online auction
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