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A Lasting Corvette Experience

Russell Shepard

I gained some experience with Corvettes long before I ever owned one. As a young man growing up, I wanted to be a painter and got the opportunity to recondition and paint a couple of Corvettes: a 1966 Convertible and a 1968 Coupe. I also worked for some engineering firms that specialized in building race cars.

My Corvette experience came from being on the build team on the IMSA Corvette for John Greenwood. I was working for AVC engineering as a fabricator and machinist with Charlie Selex, Bob Urban and Gary Pratt (now Pratt and Miller). Bob Reilly designed the next generation Greenwood Corvette and the team built the car in Greenwood's shop in Dearborn, MI. During this project, Zora Duntov attended one of the test sessions and drove the Greenwood Corvette on the skid pad.

I cherish my picture of John Greenwood, Zora Duntov, Bob Reilly and myself at this test session. My interest in street Corvettes came later, when the C5 came out. I loved many of the earlier Corvettes but it took me a while to pull the money together to get my first one. I purchased a 1999 Torch Red coupe in August of 1998 and I am still driving it today. It currently has 223,000 miles on it and still going strong!

I have added two additional Corvettes - a 2006 Black Z06 and a 2010 Torch Red Grand Sport Convertible. I participated in the Corvette buyer’s tour and watched the GM workers build my GS from start to finish. I participated in the National Corvette Museum Delivery and, a few months later, displayed my GS at the National Corvette Museum for the 15th Anniversary Grand Sport Display. This experience came full circle for me as my GS was on the pedestal in the sky dome right under Zora Duntov’s banner. It was quite the Corvette experience! I am currently planning to add another Corvette to the group this summer. I am also a long time member of the Touch of Glass Corvette Club in Texas. “Let’s Roll.”

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