Thursday, July 31, 2014

1986 Local Corvette Enthusiasts

By day, Larry Wright and Alan Robertson are local white-collar businessmen in stressful, high-profile professions. 

However, after quitting time, the pair shed their coats and ties for faded, oil-stained blue jeans, T-shirts, and Beach Boys cassettes as they actively restore beat up Corvettes to their original showroom lustre in the garage of Robertson's Kirkwood home.

"I work with figures all day. I sit at a desk .  .  I wear a coat and tie," Wright, a Green Tee resident and a local bank executive, said. "I work hard and get grease on my elbows."

"During the day, I work with customers and mechanics," says Robertson, a service manager at an area car dealership. "I very rarely work on them (cars)."

Rich Man's Sport

At first thought, one might believe the reassembling of a Corvette is strictly a "rich man's sport" but Wright dispels that notion.

If you have most of the work done for you, it's a rich man's sport," Wright said. "In my opinion, you can't buy a Corvette and subcontract the work without losing substantial amounts of money."

Robertson agreed, noting the going shop rate for labor at most car dealerships is $39 an hour.

To alleviate the expense, Wright and Robertson do 80 to 90 percent of the work on heir Corvette projects themselves at night and most weekends.

"The car we have now (a 1963 spot-window coupe) is in 5,000 pieces. "It's all in baskets."

But saving money isn't the sole motivation for the Corvette enthusiasts. "I like the idea of having something I can show off," Robertson said. "You can say you did it (put the car together) with your own hands."

We think it's the greatest hobby in the world, "Wright said. "I can afford to buy a 1986 Corvette but I like my 1962 (model) more."

The pair also have the support of their families and friends. "Both of our wives are very supportive," Wright said, "One of their fun things is to go to swap meets."

"We have a lot of friends who work with us," Wright added. "It's kind of a fraternity."

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